Russian invasion of Ukraine

Danny1982

Sectarian Hipster
Joined
Aug 18, 2009
Messages
15,091
Location
Old Trafford
If the people in Eastern Ukraine feel Russian and want to be Russian, then they should be given the choice.

Also, if the Western side feels closer to the West and want to join NATO, they should also be allowed.

Perhaps that is the compromise that can happen. To split the country into East and West Ukraine. Yes there will be new borders and some land will have to be ceded, but better than having the whole country subjugated to war.
This seems like the most sensible solution. Refusing to recognize the will of the people serves nobody and will hurt Ukraine the most. The West is using Ukraine as a stick to hit Russia with. There is no way you want "stability" or want the best for Ukraine by implementing anti-Russian laws in a country were as many as 30% of its population is Russian, and especially in the Eastern parts of Ukraine where so many Russian people live. Banning a language which third of your country speaks? How stupid is that?

If Putin limits his advance to the Eastern half of Ukraine then I don't see these areas rebelling against him or fighting against joining Russia, and betting on a popular resistance (armed or not) seems futile. Situation will be unclear though if he advances further into the Western parts which could backfire.

 

Rajma

Full Member
Joined
Sep 8, 2012
Messages
7,307
I do believe that this article would've made more sense at the beginning of this thread when we were discussing history, context and everything else that seemed to matter at the moment. It couldn't exist back then but it's another matter. Putin's actions forcefully dragged that complex (and fascinatingly interesting from a de-humanised academical perspective) situation to a point where it's very much black & white. At least as close to black & white as any geopolitical conflict can be in a real world.

Still, it's an article that's well worth the read, especially for those who had denied the existence of the Ukrainian civil war and a tectonic split that has originated many decades ago (that Putin, sadly, noticed very early and continued to drop bombs, metaphorical and, from some point, real ones, into it). It does humanise the people that, but many, had been written off as even non-existent — who themselves are very much the victims. The journalist is trust-worthy if you're willing to take my word on it (I've known him for more than a decade now even though we were never close — we go to the same protests, he had covered Maidan and the recent Minsk election protests etc.).

I've been hyping this article for a while now, so here's the bad news — I don't have the time (or expertise) to provide a proper translation, so I'm going to use google-translate. I've glanced over the translation and it's decent enough to get the gist of it although of course a lot of connotations are going to disappear. It's quite long, so I'm only going to quote a couple of paragraphs — I'll leave a link and you can auto-translate it in Chrome etc:

https://www.kommersant.ru/doc/5229355

On Monday, my colleagues and I decided to travel around the Rostov region, closer to the then-unrecognized DPR. The five-kilometer border zone remained closed to most journalists all these days - the FSB Public Relations Center ignored dozens of requests to work there. Those who dared to get out without permission came back and told about not very polite people who took pictures of documents, forced them to format the flash drives of cameras and sent them back with a warning: “We will see you here again, we will talk in a different place and in a different way.” But we decided that on the day of the meeting of the Security Council, something interesting could happen in those parts, so our car was spinning along roads and country roads without stopping at the ban.
Journalists listened to the speeches of members of the Security Council; the driver, gloomier, looked at the alarming red charts of Russian stocks in the banking application. He invested not so much money, but every minute it became less. Finally, he could not stand it and pulled over to the side of the road: "Who needs it, go piss, and I'll buy dollars for now."
When all financial transactions were completed, we drove onto the main road and moved to the border. The track was pretty much gouged - something like Tverskaya Street in preparation for the May parade. On the screen of a smartphone, the director of the Foreign Intelligence Service, Sergei Naryshkin, found it difficult to answer the question of whether he supported the recognition or accession of the republics. At that moment, the driver whistled: “Guys, look to the left, but don’t even touch your cameras.” A long column of military equipment stood in the field - tanks, infantry fighting vehicles, trucks, jeeps ... Neatly placed along the forest belt, they seemed like a collection of expensive toys on a mantelpiece. The equipment was perfectly visible from the public road - perhaps it was specially placed so that it could be seen better.

The meeting of the Security Council dragged on, the situation near the border remained peaceful (adjusted for circumstances), the dollar grew, the ruble fell. I decided to rush to Taganrog, to talk with the evacuated residents of the DPR. The police did not allow journalists to enter the temporary accommodation centers, but several hotels accepted the refugees, which meant that it was possible to sit in the lobby, drink tea and get into people's souls. At the entrance they checked my press card, but they could not forbid me to stay in the hotel.

"My soul in Russia"
Vladimir Putin ended the Security Council meeting with a promise to “make a decision today” – but, to be honest, there was no intrigue anymore. Apparently, therefore, the atmosphere in the hotel did not resemble the day of the final match of the World Cup. There were no crowds at the screens hung on the walls, no one paced the lobby, waiting for the president's address. Citizens of the as-yet unrecognized DPR had a quiet dinner in the canteen, then stood in line for a PCR test and went back to their rooms. Colleagues from Dozhd (included in the register of media-foreign agents) recorded interviews. I also approached the elderly woman and asked for permission to "talk about the results of the Security Council meeting." Under normal circumstances, this question would sound as idiotic as possible - but not today.
- We are now protected by Russia, that's all the results. It means a lot to us and is worth a lot. Now we are waiting for joining Russia, all Donetsk is for it. And I think that Luhansk too.
— Are you from Donetsk?
- Yes, I was born there, lived all my life, now I am 68 years old. And my parents are buried there.
- Tell me, before the events of 2014, who did you consider yourself to be? Russian or Ukrainian?
“Oh-oh-oh, I'm Russian at heart,” the woman nods confidently. “I'm Russian. I lived in Ukraine, yes, but my soul is in Russia.
— And when you lived in Soviet Donetsk, did you have problems with the Ukrainians?
- Yes, there was nothing like that, no one separated us. We all lived the same way, lived as one family. We spoke in Russian, no one forbade us to do this. We were spoken to in Ukrainian, and we understood each other. Here was my mother from the village, she only spoke Ukrainian. And we in our family spoke Ukrainian and Russian, it did not embarrass us in any way, did not bother us in any way. Because we lived a quiet life, we went to work, we knew that we would have an advance payment, a salary, a pension ... And now we receive pensions only thanks to you.
- And when the USSR collapsed, how did you live in independent Ukraine?
- Yes, good. Fine. There were no conflicts, everything went fine. Until the fourteenth year.
To be honest, I don't really understand you right now. You and the Ukrainians were together in the Soviet Union...
- And they lived wonderfully!
- ... then in independent Ukraine ...
- And they also lived normally.
“Then what went wrong?” Why has everything changed?
The woman is thinking.
— You see… subconsciously we were probably closer to Russia anyway. Well, I speak for myself, for many of my acquaintances, girlfriends, classmates. We have always been closer to Russia, you see. Well, again, Western Ukraine has always considered us ... well, you know who. Not people like them. They think we're a completely different breed.
- And how did it manifest itself in life? Have you personally encountered such an attitude?
- Me not. But you know, it was somehow in the air. And it began to splash out at the time of the first Maidan, when Yushchenko (Viktor Yushchenko, President of Ukraine in 2005-2010. - "Kommersant" ) was still ... Starting from those elections, some kind of pressure began to be clearly felt. It was in the air that we were not like them. That they should have more power. From that moment on, everything went downhill. Otherwise, I think we would have lived quietly ...
— But you didn't live in Western Ukraine. Where did you feel the pressure?
- Yes, we have no conflict. Well, we somehow thought that they, “Bandera” (a common designation for Ukrainian nationalists, named after Stepan Bandera, 1909-1959. - “Kommersant”), from birth, from childhood, are set against us. And it all accumulated, accumulated ... and then something happened that happened. I don't know how to explain it to you, but it was just in the air. No, no one thought that this could happen. But you see how - it all came to this in the end.
The woman collects her thoughts, and then continues - already quite confidently:
- From time immemorial, it seems to me, it has been like this: Bandera - they are against us. Because we don't think like them. Muscovites - that's what they call us. And you, by the way, too.
- Have you personally been called that at least once - "Moskal"? Well - in the face?
- No never. Never in all 68 years has anyone said that to my face. But I heard on TV how they shouted that year: “Whoever does not jump is a Muscovite!” Was it? It was.
“I think you would be told that this is a joke…”
- You know, something was not funny to me. Not funny at all. And I'll tell you this: ours, Donetsk, were not on the Maidan. Because our people work, not jump.
I talked on the Maidan with a man from Donbass. But I don’t have time to tell about it - a gray-haired husband comes up to the woman and asks to go to bed. Finally she says:
“On the Maidan, they wanted to decide everything for us—that’s what went wrong. They wanted us not to speak Russian. And we wanted no one to oppress us. Now, I think that's how it will be.

"They didn't see us"
A man in his forties sits at a table in the corner of the lobby with a small child on his lap. He babbles something in his own language - not yet Russian or Ukrainian. I ask his father (“Very nice, Igor”) about the results of the Security Council.

- Our opinion is unequivocal, we have been waiting for this decision for eight years. Because we have been living in hell for eight years. Psychologically, first of all. In 2017, we were ticking away from the shelling when my wife was pregnant with this man,” he strokes the child’s head. “We lived in Donetsk on Putilovka, and here there was a hit in the Zasyadko mine. Glass flew out, well, everything is clear, it's time to tick. For this case, we had a “disturbing suitcase” assembled - you probably don’t know, we call it a bag with documents, medicines, underwear ...

I know what an "alarm suitcase" is. Because residents of Ukrainian cities in recent weeks have often posted on social networks photos of their "alarm suitcases" - which they collected in case of a Russian invasion. And many residents of Russian cities wrote in the comments how ashamed they were. I didn't write, but I was ashamed too. And I am ashamed now, when I listen to Igor, because I never thought about whether the residents of Donetsk have “alarm suitcases”.

- ... So at four o'clock in the morning, in complete darkness, we ran with a pregnant wife for several blocks to the nearest bus stop. Because the transport did not reach our area. When my son grows up, I will tell him - he will not believe.

I ask Igor the same question - who did he feel like before the war, Russian or Ukrainian. He replies confidently:

- Until the fourteenth year, I felt like a Ukrainian. Ukrainian of Russian origin. And this is normal: if you live, let’s say, in Poland for at least a year, you will get used to their way of life, listen to their music, understand their humor, fall in love with their dishes, and involuntarily feel like a little Pole. So here too. Living in Ukraine, you feel like a Ukrainian. Because here is salo, here is borscht, here is tsibulya, Ukrainian songs - and you feel like a Ukrainian. But with Russian roots. We think in Russian, we have Russian humor - and this is also normal and should not bother anyone.

I understood Ukrainian. And if I had a child then, I would have given it to Ukrainian as an additional one. We live in this state, it is necessary to know its language. But to force, - he emphasizes in a voice, - to force us to switch to Ukrainian - well, this is simply against my will. Well, how can I force myself to think in Ukrainian?

- But before 2014, you faced some kind of neglect because of the language, because of the Russian roots?

- I heard from my friends that this happens beyond the Donbass. For example, in a store you may not be served if you speak Russian. But I have never encountered this. But in 2003-2006 I traveled all over Ukraine. I then worked as a videographer, how much we traveled on business trips: Dnepropetrovsk, Kiev, Odessa - oh, I would love to walk around Odessa again with such pleasure. We went to small towns in Western Ukraine - and everyone spoke Russian to us normally. Maybe only in the villages there were old people who spoke Ukrainian to us. Well, it's okay - we also know the Ukrainian language. And so - well, at all levels they spoke to us in Russian.

“Then what went wrong?” Why did you and your neighbors eventually leave Ukraine?

“Wait, we didn’t leave Ukraine!” - Igor is worried. - I think that it was Ukraine that left us.

What was the point of no return for you?

“You know, I didn’t have such a clear point. It's just that everything began to accumulate... First, the Maidan, with which I personally did not agree. Then they began to resent the complete discrepancy between what they say on Ukrainian channels and what we really have going on here. They say that we have here not locals, but the Russian army. But in fact, in April 2014, no Russian army was here.

Then my colleagues call me, they say: Chinese television has arrived, they need a local operator. We went to Slavyansk, where it all started for us, and I saw with my own eyes the checkpoints on our side - and on the Ukrainian side. What did our checkpoint look like then? Sandbags, tires and a bunch of bottles of combustible mixture. Nearby are people with sticks, and for the entire checkpoint - well, maybe one hunting rifle. And after a couple of kilometers - their territory. My hair stood on end there, I suffered so much fear. They are all standing in full ammunition, in "spheres", nearby in the forest belt are camouflaged tanks. You walk and think: how is it possible against people with sticks. And then you think: but this is all against you too. And then I realized that there was no way back, it seems. When your state sends an army against you, you no longer perceive it as your state.




- Then the Chinese went to Mount Karachun, and there we walked just on a carpet of shell casings. The locals stand with shaking hands, they say that the military drove up in an armored personnel carrier and began to drive them away. People scattered around - and then they started shooting at the legs. That's what they told us there.

An elderly woman approaches us. She silently sits on a nearby chair and listens to Igor's story. Her face is a frozen mask.

“We were walking to the bridge before going up the mountain, and then I saw… a body. For me, this was the first casualty of the war. Maybe it was the first casualty of this war, I don't know. The corpse of a man with bullet wounds through the entire torso. I am an unprepared person, it was terrible. I take it off, of course, I automatically look for better light ... But I myself think - probably, his wife does not even know yet that he is dead.

— Did you still feel like a citizen of Ukraine at that moment?

Long pause.

- To be honest, I'm at a loss now ... I haven't felt like a citizen of Ukraine for so long that I can't remember. But then I looked at the Ukrainian military only as people from a foreign state.

You know, in my past life I loved watching parades. You see - the border guards are coming, they have such a dress uniform. Paratroopers are coming - a different form. Everything is beautiful, calm. And then you come to the checkpoint of the Armed Forces of Ukraine - and there people are in a completely different uniform. In the black "spheres", the faces are closed ... I did not have the feeling that they were protecting me here.

- You know, I was on the Maidan. I remember that people were talking about OMON, about Berkut. That they have a terrible aggressive form, black armor, and this is no longer perceived as a force of law and order. For them, they were aliens, strangers, enemies. And at the recent protests in Minsk, people told me the same thing. It turns out that your, let's say, political opponents experienced the same emotions in relation to the Berkut on Maidan as you did to the Ukrainian army. What do you think of it?

“You know… I'm not used to thinking like that. I don't know how to analyze like that. I am a professional in some things, but not in politics, not in military operations. I am an ordinary person, though a creative person. For me, the main thing is that there is peace. And if some kind of conflict starts, I can’t immediately understand who is right and who is wrong, sorry.

“It’s just perfectly normal, in my opinion.

— When before the war, as a cameraman, I filmed politicians, press conferences, I honestly tried to listen to them, to understand, to find my own attitude. But I always lost the thread in their words. I get distracted by the camera settings, sound - and lose the essence. So here - I can't tell you about psychology, sorry.

I can only say this - you have been talking with a friend for many years, you seem to know him. And then he suddenly comes to you in a suit ... well, I don't know, in a shaman's suit with a tambourine. And he starts talking to you. You sit and think - this is still my friend, but a completely different person. And you just stop being friends with him, because you have nothing in common. It's probably the same here. And they feel the same way about us. They lived and lived in their own world, then suddenly there is a conflict - and they see us in a completely different way. We, too, in their eyes, dressed up as someone else, we are also different for them, separatists ...

— Could you look at yourself through the eyes of Ukrainians? Through the eyes of people who for all these eight years consider you separatists and traitors?

- Probably not. My imagination is not that developed. Living here, seeing everything that is happening here… I can't imagine how people in Kiev can see it differently.

- What do you have in mind? What do they not see?

The woman suddenly says, "They can't see us."

Igor continues:

“Just don’t be offended, but in order to understand what has been happening here all these years, you had to be inside. We must live like we do - learn to determine the "pluses" and "minuses". Do you know what it is? And we know: “pluses” are for us (shells are flying. - “Kommersant” ), “minuses” are an answer from us. And here you are sitting at dinner, the children are doing their homework, and then there is a rumble outside the window. But you are all calm, because you know - it's nothing, it's not scary. But when the dishes begin to rattle and the frames fly out - then you all the families fall to the floor, no matter what you do at that moment. Because it's a plus.

My wife was in the hospital, a girl with a four-year-old child lay with her in the ward - and he did not talk. It turned out to be psychological trauma. She said: “Once again, we ran away from the shelling into the basement, then it flew in very close, it rumbled so that the child was frightened and simply stopped talking.”

Now let's imagine that I am now in Kiev or Lvov, where bombs do not fall. I sit at the computer and find out that this is happening in the Donbass. That my army is firing on ordinary people like me. Then I would say: well, fir-trees, well, why the heck do that? People live there, schools are there, kindergartens are there. Why shoot like that? Is there no other way to agree?

- Did you have acquaintances, friends who chose the side of Ukraine in this conflict?

- There was one comrade - well, we played in the same group, we talked in so far as. When it all started with us, he took their side. We stopped talking, of course. Then he suddenly sent me a picture for my birthday: “3 day of birth” and attributed it to “Glory to Ukraine.” I answered him, without rudeness, and attached a picture with a bunch of dill. He read - and I blocked him everywhere. Why he chose that, I don't know.

- Did he leave?

- Of course, he left. He couldn't live with us...

I'm tempted to ask "why?" — but that would be too cruel.

- I don't blame him, - continues Igor. - How to blame a person for political convictions? But then you don’t have to blame me for my opinion either. Do you have such an opinion? Well, take it and go to your like-minded people.

- So after all, they can tell you: “Go to Russia.”

- But why? Donetsk is my home. Why should I leave here? Just don't touch us.

In the end, I can not stand it and ask:

- You said that in April 2014 there were no Russian troops ... This begs the question - and then?

What about "then"? Then the Chinese moved on. I found myself another job and no longer delved into what kind of army it was. I didn't leave Donetsk anymore; all the military guys that I knew were ours, local. I myself have a Russian flag in my car, and I’m not the only one — it doesn’t mean that we are Russians who arrived. I just love Russia. We are just Russians.

- At the beginning of the conversation, you said that until 2014 you felt like a Ukrainian with Russian roots ...

— With the Russians.

- Yes, but now you finished with the phrase: "We are Russians." Can you remember when you had such a fracture? When did you start saying: “I am Russian”?

Igor shrugs.

— Yes, there was no such moment. It just accumulated - and I began to feel that way.

The rest can be accessed by the link below:

https://www.kommersant.ru/doc/5229355
Almost no one ever seen or experienced any form of suppression but it was in the ‘air’ = watching Russian state TV propaganda for many years can do that to you trust me. These unfortunate people were badly misled emotionally speaking and lack of critical thinking have resulted in them taking the bite when the time arrived. My father is exactly the same as he still watches that shite, even today he says Lithuania is not a democracy. When I ask him how come, he comes out with the most extreme and ridiculous examples you can ever imagine. :lol: I can’t be bothered anymore to bring up Russian topic any longer with him as it’s a waste of time as otherwise he’s a sweet guy.
 

harms

Shining Star of Paektu Mountain
Staff
Joined
Apr 8, 2014
Messages
25,888
Location
Moscow
@harms that article is interesting but doesn't get me any closer to working anything out.

It's all the usual century-old mindfeck of the right to self-determination vs how geopolitical chopping and changing has created hotspots of confrontation and animosity with split populations so even the "let them vote and choose" isn't as simple and practical as it sounds.

The odd thing is how prevalent it has been in Europe and the Middle East and not in other parts of the world even if they have been subject to it recently. Or, more precisely, how it has flared up more aggressively as it's not like China hasn't been fecking about a fair bit.
Oh, if anything it's getting things even more convoluted. I was simply triggered earlier by people dismissing the original internal conflict and the legitimacy of people that actually live there — a political one at first that later translated into a civil unrest and war. Just because Putin had used them for his own needs (and not just since 2014, he had a hand in that conflict from the very beginning) it doesn't mean that they don't exist — and this is generally the sentiment.

As for the bigger picture it's hard to argue with you. I'd love to live in a world where everyone has the right to self-determination and it doesn't lead to any conflicts but that's clearly a utopia that we have no way of reaching it.
 

harms

Shining Star of Paektu Mountain
Staff
Joined
Apr 8, 2014
Messages
25,888
Location
Moscow
If the people in Eastern Ukraine feel Russian and want to be Russian, then they should be given the choice.

Also, if the Western side feels closer to the West and want to join NATO, they should also be allowed.

Perhaps that is the compromise that can happen. To split the country into East and West Ukraine. Yes there will be new borders and some land will have to be ceded, but better than having the whole country subjugated to war.
It would be the best scenario but it's a compromise between the Eastern & Western Ukraine. Putin doesn't care about the interests of Eastern Ukraine nor for its population, so the recognition of Donbass & Lugansk by Ukraine/NATO etc. won't do anything for him.
 

spiriticon

Full Member
Joined
Feb 3, 2013
Messages
5,908
It would be the best scenario but it's a compromise between the Eastern & Western Ukraine. Putin doesn't care about the interests of Eastern Ukraine nor for its population, so the recognition of Donbass & Lugansk by Ukraine/NATO etc. won't do anything for him.
If Putin wants all of Ukraine, without negotiation, then the war will happen. It's sad, but inevitable.
 

harms

Shining Star of Paektu Mountain
Staff
Joined
Apr 8, 2014
Messages
25,888
Location
Moscow
Almost no one ever seen or experienced any form of suppression but it was in the ‘air’ = watching Russian state TV propaganda for many years can do that to you trust me. These unfortunate people were badly misled emotionally speaking and lack of critical thinking have resulted in them taking the bite when the time arrived. My father is exactly the same as he still watches that shite, even today he says Lithuania is not a democracy. When I ask him how come, he comes out with the most extreme and ridiculous examples you can ever imagine. :lol: I can’t be bothered anymore to bring up Russian topic any longer with him as it’s a waste of time as otherwise he’s a sweet guy.
Oh, yeah, I don't project their perception as truth (especially when they start to talk about geopolitical matters) — the thing that I loved about this article is that the journalist doesn't do it either. He sees them for what they are and he understands perfectly well that their perception had been drastically altered by the Russian propaganda, but their immediate experience is nonetheless valid & worth acknowledging.

I'm lucky enough not to have any such examples in my family aside from my grandmother but even she isn't really aggressive in her points (thankfully), she can just subtly mention the most ridiculous things that they come up with on TV or make a random comment with a racist/xenophobic undertone... can't change her now :(
 

spiriticon

Full Member
Joined
Feb 3, 2013
Messages
5,908
And that's what most likely will happen :(
Yup I agree. There will be a lot of blood and it won't solve anything even if Putin wins, because now you have Russian forces in direct conflict at NATO borders with Lithuania, Poland and Hungary. The same thing will repeat itself in a few years time.
 

Alemar

Full Member
Joined
Jul 11, 2017
Messages
5,169
If Putin wants all of Ukraine, without negotiation, then the war will happen. It's sad, but inevitable.
Why would he? Western Ukraine is an area where people traditionally disliked Russia and didn’t speak Russian. There are ties between Zakarpatie and Hungary, there are also ties to Poland, some ties to Romania - so that’s perhaps where some of Western Ukrainian regions would go.

Eastern Ukraine is another story, of course, with very close cultural ties to Russia.
 

spiriticon

Full Member
Joined
Feb 3, 2013
Messages
5,908
Why would he? Western Ukraine is an area where people traditionally disliked Russia and didn’t speak Russian. There are ties between Zakarpatie and Hungary, there are also ties to Poland, some ties to Romania - so that’s perhaps where some of Western Ukrainian regions would go.

Eastern Ukraine is another story, of course, with very close cultural ties to Russia.
I hope he sees the same sense as you and comes to the table.
 

harms

Shining Star of Paektu Mountain
Staff
Joined
Apr 8, 2014
Messages
25,888
Location
Moscow
Is it really worth it to him though? It will make Russia even more of a rogue state, and there'll be sanctions and economic penalties like never before.
At this point he simply operates in an entirely different discourse and trying to rationalise his future behaviour is a mistake that many (including me, many times) had already done before, often leading to devastating consequences (well, if we're talking about those whose predictions impact the real world, not us).
 

Paxi

Dagestani MMA Boiled Egg Expert
Joined
Mar 4, 2017
Messages
27,627
I do believe that this article would've made more sense at the beginning of this thread when we were discussing history, context and everything else that seemed to matter at the moment. It couldn't exist back then but it's another matter. Putin's actions forcefully dragged that complex (and fascinatingly interesting from a de-humanised academical perspective) situation to a point where it's very much black & white. At least as close to black & white as any geopolitical conflict can be in a real world.

Still, it's an article that's well worth the read, especially for those who had denied the existence of the Ukrainian civil war and a tectonic split that has originated many decades ago (that Putin, sadly, noticed very early and continued to drop bombs, metaphorical and, from some point, real ones, into it). It does humanise the people that, but many, had been written off as even non-existent — who themselves are very much the victims. The journalist is trust-worthy if you're willing to take my word on it (I've known him for more than a decade now even though we were never close — we go to the same protests, he had covered Maidan and the recent Minsk election protests etc.).

I've been hyping this article for a while now, so here's the bad news — I don't have the time (or expertise) to provide a proper translation, so I'm going to use google-translate. I've glanced over the translation and it's decent enough to get the gist of it although of course a lot of connotations are going to disappear. It's quite long, so I'm only going to quote a couple of paragraphs — I'll leave a link and you can auto-translate it in Chrome etc:

https://www.kommersant.ru/doc/5229355

On Monday, my colleagues and I decided to travel around the Rostov region, closer to the then-unrecognized DPR. The five-kilometer border zone remained closed to most journalists all these days - the FSB Public Relations Center ignored dozens of requests to work there. Those who dared to get out without permission came back and told about not very polite people who took pictures of documents, forced them to format the flash drives of cameras and sent them back with a warning: “We will see you here again, we will talk in a different place and in a different way.” But we decided that on the day of the meeting of the Security Council, something interesting could happen in those parts, so our car was spinning along roads and country roads without stopping at the ban.
Journalists listened to the speeches of members of the Security Council; the driver, gloomier, looked at the alarming red charts of Russian stocks in the banking application. He invested not so much money, but every minute it became less. Finally, he could not stand it and pulled over to the side of the road: "Who needs it, go piss, and I'll buy dollars for now."
When all financial transactions were completed, we drove onto the main road and moved to the border. The track was pretty much gouged - something like Tverskaya Street in preparation for the May parade. On the screen of a smartphone, the director of the Foreign Intelligence Service, Sergei Naryshkin, found it difficult to answer the question of whether he supported the recognition or accession of the republics. At that moment, the driver whistled: “Guys, look to the left, but don’t even touch your cameras.” A long column of military equipment stood in the field - tanks, infantry fighting vehicles, trucks, jeeps ... Neatly placed along the forest belt, they seemed like a collection of expensive toys on a mantelpiece. The equipment was perfectly visible from the public road - perhaps it was specially placed so that it could be seen better.

The meeting of the Security Council dragged on, the situation near the border remained peaceful (adjusted for circumstances), the dollar grew, the ruble fell. I decided to rush to Taganrog, to talk with the evacuated residents of the DPR. The police did not allow journalists to enter the temporary accommodation centers, but several hotels accepted the refugees, which meant that it was possible to sit in the lobby, drink tea and get into people's souls. At the entrance they checked my press card, but they could not forbid me to stay in the hotel.

"My soul in Russia"
Vladimir Putin ended the Security Council meeting with a promise to “make a decision today” – but, to be honest, there was no intrigue anymore. Apparently, therefore, the atmosphere in the hotel did not resemble the day of the final match of the World Cup. There were no crowds at the screens hung on the walls, no one paced the lobby, waiting for the president's address. Citizens of the as-yet unrecognized DPR had a quiet dinner in the canteen, then stood in line for a PCR test and went back to their rooms. Colleagues from Dozhd (included in the register of media-foreign agents) recorded interviews. I also approached the elderly woman and asked for permission to "talk about the results of the Security Council meeting." Under normal circumstances, this question would sound as idiotic as possible - but not today.
- We are now protected by Russia, that's all the results. It means a lot to us and is worth a lot. Now we are waiting for joining Russia, all Donetsk is for it. And I think that Luhansk too.
— Are you from Donetsk?
- Yes, I was born there, lived all my life, now I am 68 years old. And my parents are buried there.
- Tell me, before the events of 2014, who did you consider yourself to be? Russian or Ukrainian?
“Oh-oh-oh, I'm Russian at heart,” the woman nods confidently. “I'm Russian. I lived in Ukraine, yes, but my soul is in Russia.
— And when you lived in Soviet Donetsk, did you have problems with the Ukrainians?
- Yes, there was nothing like that, no one separated us. We all lived the same way, lived as one family. We spoke in Russian, no one forbade us to do this. We were spoken to in Ukrainian, and we understood each other. Here was my mother from the village, she only spoke Ukrainian. And we in our family spoke Ukrainian and Russian, it did not embarrass us in any way, did not bother us in any way. Because we lived a quiet life, we went to work, we knew that we would have an advance payment, a salary, a pension ... And now we receive pensions only thanks to you.
- And when the USSR collapsed, how did you live in independent Ukraine?
- Yes, good. Fine. There were no conflicts, everything went fine. Until the fourteenth year.
To be honest, I don't really understand you right now. You and the Ukrainians were together in the Soviet Union...
- And they lived wonderfully!
- ... then in independent Ukraine ...
- And they also lived normally.
“Then what went wrong?” Why has everything changed?
The woman is thinking.
— You see… subconsciously we were probably closer to Russia anyway. Well, I speak for myself, for many of my acquaintances, girlfriends, classmates. We have always been closer to Russia, you see. Well, again, Western Ukraine has always considered us ... well, you know who. Not people like them. They think we're a completely different breed.
- And how did it manifest itself in life? Have you personally encountered such an attitude?
- Me not. But you know, it was somehow in the air. And it began to splash out at the time of the first Maidan, when Yushchenko (Viktor Yushchenko, President of Ukraine in 2005-2010. - "Kommersant" ) was still ... Starting from those elections, some kind of pressure began to be clearly felt. It was in the air that we were not like them. That they should have more power. From that moment on, everything went downhill. Otherwise, I think we would have lived quietly ...
— But you didn't live in Western Ukraine. Where did you feel the pressure?
- Yes, we have no conflict. Well, we somehow thought that they, “Bandera” (a common designation for Ukrainian nationalists, named after Stepan Bandera, 1909-1959. - “Kommersant”), from birth, from childhood, are set against us. And it all accumulated, accumulated ... and then something happened that happened. I don't know how to explain it to you, but it was just in the air. No, no one thought that this could happen. But you see how - it all came to this in the end.
The woman collects her thoughts, and then continues - already quite confidently:
- From time immemorial, it seems to me, it has been like this: Bandera - they are against us. Because we don't think like them. Muscovites - that's what they call us. And you, by the way, too.
- Have you personally been called that at least once - "Moskal"? Well - in the face?
- No never. Never in all 68 years has anyone said that to my face. But I heard on TV how they shouted that year: “Whoever does not jump is a Muscovite!” Was it? It was.
“I think you would be told that this is a joke…”
- You know, something was not funny to me. Not funny at all. And I'll tell you this: ours, Donetsk, were not on the Maidan. Because our people work, not jump.
I talked on the Maidan with a man from Donbass. But I don’t have time to tell about it - a gray-haired husband comes up to the woman and asks to go to bed. Finally she says:
“On the Maidan, they wanted to decide everything for us—that’s what went wrong. They wanted us not to speak Russian. And we wanted no one to oppress us. Now, I think that's how it will be.

"They didn't see us"
A man in his forties sits at a table in the corner of the lobby with a small child on his lap. He babbles something in his own language - not yet Russian or Ukrainian. I ask his father (“Very nice, Igor”) about the results of the Security Council.

- Our opinion is unequivocal, we have been waiting for this decision for eight years. Because we have been living in hell for eight years. Psychologically, first of all. In 2017, we were ticking away from the shelling when my wife was pregnant with this man,” he strokes the child’s head. “We lived in Donetsk on Putilovka, and here there was a hit in the Zasyadko mine. Glass flew out, well, everything is clear, it's time to tick. For this case, we had a “disturbing suitcase” assembled - you probably don’t know, we call it a bag with documents, medicines, underwear ...

I know what an "alarm suitcase" is. Because residents of Ukrainian cities in recent weeks have often posted on social networks photos of their "alarm suitcases" - which they collected in case of a Russian invasion. And many residents of Russian cities wrote in the comments how ashamed they were. I didn't write, but I was ashamed too. And I am ashamed now, when I listen to Igor, because I never thought about whether the residents of Donetsk have “alarm suitcases”.

- ... So at four o'clock in the morning, in complete darkness, we ran with a pregnant wife for several blocks to the nearest bus stop. Because the transport did not reach our area. When my son grows up, I will tell him - he will not believe.

I ask Igor the same question - who did he feel like before the war, Russian or Ukrainian. He replies confidently:

- Until the fourteenth year, I felt like a Ukrainian. Ukrainian of Russian origin. And this is normal: if you live, let’s say, in Poland for at least a year, you will get used to their way of life, listen to their music, understand their humor, fall in love with their dishes, and involuntarily feel like a little Pole. So here too. Living in Ukraine, you feel like a Ukrainian. Because here is salo, here is borscht, here is tsibulya, Ukrainian songs - and you feel like a Ukrainian. But with Russian roots. We think in Russian, we have Russian humor - and this is also normal and should not bother anyone.

I understood Ukrainian. And if I had a child then, I would have given it to Ukrainian as an additional one. We live in this state, it is necessary to know its language. But to force, - he emphasizes in a voice, - to force us to switch to Ukrainian - well, this is simply against my will. Well, how can I force myself to think in Ukrainian?

- But before 2014, you faced some kind of neglect because of the language, because of the Russian roots?

- I heard from my friends that this happens beyond the Donbass. For example, in a store you may not be served if you speak Russian. But I have never encountered this. But in 2003-2006 I traveled all over Ukraine. I then worked as a videographer, how much we traveled on business trips: Dnepropetrovsk, Kiev, Odessa - oh, I would love to walk around Odessa again with such pleasure. We went to small towns in Western Ukraine - and everyone spoke Russian to us normally. Maybe only in the villages there were old people who spoke Ukrainian to us. Well, it's okay - we also know the Ukrainian language. And so - well, at all levels they spoke to us in Russian.

“Then what went wrong?” Why did you and your neighbors eventually leave Ukraine?

“Wait, we didn’t leave Ukraine!” - Igor is worried. - I think that it was Ukraine that left us.

What was the point of no return for you?

“You know, I didn’t have such a clear point. It's just that everything began to accumulate... First, the Maidan, with which I personally did not agree. Then they began to resent the complete discrepancy between what they say on Ukrainian channels and what we really have going on here. They say that we have here not locals, but the Russian army. But in fact, in April 2014, no Russian army was here.

Then my colleagues call me, they say: Chinese television has arrived, they need a local operator. We went to Slavyansk, where it all started for us, and I saw with my own eyes the checkpoints on our side - and on the Ukrainian side. What did our checkpoint look like then? Sandbags, tires and a bunch of bottles of combustible mixture. Nearby are people with sticks, and for the entire checkpoint - well, maybe one hunting rifle. And after a couple of kilometers - their territory. My hair stood on end there, I suffered so much fear. They are all standing in full ammunition, in "spheres", nearby in the forest belt are camouflaged tanks. You walk and think: how is it possible against people with sticks. And then you think: but this is all against you too. And then I realized that there was no way back, it seems. When your state sends an army against you, you no longer perceive it as your state.




- Then the Chinese went to Mount Karachun, and there we walked just on a carpet of shell casings. The locals stand with shaking hands, they say that the military drove up in an armored personnel carrier and began to drive them away. People scattered around - and then they started shooting at the legs. That's what they told us there.

An elderly woman approaches us. She silently sits on a nearby chair and listens to Igor's story. Her face is a frozen mask.

“We were walking to the bridge before going up the mountain, and then I saw… a body. For me, this was the first casualty of the war. Maybe it was the first casualty of this war, I don't know. The corpse of a man with bullet wounds through the entire torso. I am an unprepared person, it was terrible. I take it off, of course, I automatically look for better light ... But I myself think - probably, his wife does not even know yet that he is dead.

— Did you still feel like a citizen of Ukraine at that moment?

Long pause.

- To be honest, I'm at a loss now ... I haven't felt like a citizen of Ukraine for so long that I can't remember. But then I looked at the Ukrainian military only as people from a foreign state.

You know, in my past life I loved watching parades. You see - the border guards are coming, they have such a dress uniform. Paratroopers are coming - a different form. Everything is beautiful, calm. And then you come to the checkpoint of the Armed Forces of Ukraine - and there people are in a completely different uniform. In the black "spheres", the faces are closed ... I did not have the feeling that they were protecting me here.

- You know, I was on the Maidan. I remember that people were talking about OMON, about Berkut. That they have a terrible aggressive form, black armor, and this is no longer perceived as a force of law and order. For them, they were aliens, strangers, enemies. And at the recent protests in Minsk, people told me the same thing. It turns out that your, let's say, political opponents experienced the same emotions in relation to the Berkut on Maidan as you did to the Ukrainian army. What do you think of it?

“You know… I'm not used to thinking like that. I don't know how to analyze like that. I am a professional in some things, but not in politics, not in military operations. I am an ordinary person, though a creative person. For me, the main thing is that there is peace. And if some kind of conflict starts, I can’t immediately understand who is right and who is wrong, sorry.

“It’s just perfectly normal, in my opinion.

— When before the war, as a cameraman, I filmed politicians, press conferences, I honestly tried to listen to them, to understand, to find my own attitude. But I always lost the thread in their words. I get distracted by the camera settings, sound - and lose the essence. So here - I can't tell you about psychology, sorry.

I can only say this - you have been talking with a friend for many years, you seem to know him. And then he suddenly comes to you in a suit ... well, I don't know, in a shaman's suit with a tambourine. And he starts talking to you. You sit and think - this is still my friend, but a completely different person. And you just stop being friends with him, because you have nothing in common. It's probably the same here. And they feel the same way about us. They lived and lived in their own world, then suddenly there is a conflict - and they see us in a completely different way. We, too, in their eyes, dressed up as someone else, we are also different for them, separatists ...

— Could you look at yourself through the eyes of Ukrainians? Through the eyes of people who for all these eight years consider you separatists and traitors?

- Probably not. My imagination is not that developed. Living here, seeing everything that is happening here… I can't imagine how people in Kiev can see it differently.

- What do you have in mind? What do they not see?

The woman suddenly says, "They can't see us."

Igor continues:

“Just don’t be offended, but in order to understand what has been happening here all these years, you had to be inside. We must live like we do - learn to determine the "pluses" and "minuses". Do you know what it is? And we know: “pluses” are for us (shells are flying. - “Kommersant” ), “minuses” are an answer from us. And here you are sitting at dinner, the children are doing their homework, and then there is a rumble outside the window. But you are all calm, because you know - it's nothing, it's not scary. But when the dishes begin to rattle and the frames fly out - then you all the families fall to the floor, no matter what you do at that moment. Because it's a plus.

My wife was in the hospital, a girl with a four-year-old child lay with her in the ward - and he did not talk. It turned out to be psychological trauma. She said: “Once again, we ran away from the shelling into the basement, then it flew in very close, it rumbled so that the child was frightened and simply stopped talking.”

Now let's imagine that I am now in Kiev or Lvov, where bombs do not fall. I sit at the computer and find out that this is happening in the Donbass. That my army is firing on ordinary people like me. Then I would say: well, fir-trees, well, why the heck do that? People live there, schools are there, kindergartens are there. Why shoot like that? Is there no other way to agree?

- Did you have acquaintances, friends who chose the side of Ukraine in this conflict?

- There was one comrade - well, we played in the same group, we talked in so far as. When it all started with us, he took their side. We stopped talking, of course. Then he suddenly sent me a picture for my birthday: “3 day of birth” and attributed it to “Glory to Ukraine.” I answered him, without rudeness, and attached a picture with a bunch of dill. He read - and I blocked him everywhere. Why he chose that, I don't know.

- Did he leave?

- Of course, he left. He couldn't live with us...

I'm tempted to ask "why?" — but that would be too cruel.

- I don't blame him, - continues Igor. - How to blame a person for political convictions? But then you don’t have to blame me for my opinion either. Do you have such an opinion? Well, take it and go to your like-minded people.

- So after all, they can tell you: “Go to Russia.”

- But why? Donetsk is my home. Why should I leave here? Just don't touch us.

In the end, I can not stand it and ask:

- You said that in April 2014 there were no Russian troops ... This begs the question - and then?

What about "then"? Then the Chinese moved on. I found myself another job and no longer delved into what kind of army it was. I didn't leave Donetsk anymore; all the military guys that I knew were ours, local. I myself have a Russian flag in my car, and I’m not the only one — it doesn’t mean that we are Russians who arrived. I just love Russia. We are just Russians.

- At the beginning of the conversation, you said that until 2014 you felt like a Ukrainian with Russian roots ...

— With the Russians.

- Yes, but now you finished with the phrase: "We are Russians." Can you remember when you had such a fracture? When did you start saying: “I am Russian”?

Igor shrugs.

— Yes, there was no such moment. It just accumulated - and I began to feel that way.

The rest can be accessed by the link below:

https://www.kommersant.ru/doc/5229355
Thanks for that Harms!
 

Paxi

Dagestani MMA Boiled Egg Expert
Joined
Mar 4, 2017
Messages
27,627
I think Russia will annex Eastern Ukraine and the nationalists whom strongly oppose Russia will be all around Lviv oblast. It’ll probably be heavily contested zone for decades.

Or the war will spawn Western and Eastern Ukraine.
 

TMDaines

Full Member
Joined
Sep 1, 2014
Messages
11,552
This seems like the most sensible solution. Refusing to recognize the will of the people serves nobody and will hurt Ukraine the most. The West is using Ukraine as a stick to hit Russia with. There is no way you want "stability" or want the best for Ukraine by implementing anti-Russian laws in a country were as many as 30% of its population is Russian, and especially in the Eastern parts of Ukraine where so many Russian people live. Banning a language which third of your country speaks? How stupid is that?

If Putin limits his advance to the Eastern half of Ukraine then I don't see these areas rebelling against him or fighting against joining Russia, and betting on a popular resistance (armed or not) seems futile. Situation will be unclear though if he advances further into the Western parts which could backfire.

This needs to be made explicitly clear: just because your mother tongue is Russian does not mean you necessarily identify as Russian.
 

Simbo

Full Member
Joined
Oct 25, 2010
Messages
3,931
Those around him must be concerned about a noticeable decline in Putin's mental health of late.
It seems we're about to find out just how tight his iron grip is. Russia is facing a worldwide embargo and descension into a complete pariah state, for one man's personal insecurities...
 

Raoul

Admin
Staff
Joined
Aug 14, 1999
Messages
120,482
Location
Hollywood CA
This needs to be made explicitly clear: just because your mother tongue is Russian does not mean you necessarily identify as Russian.
Indeed. Most people in southern and eastern Ukraine identify as ethnically Russian, have Russian roots, and obviously speak Russian as their first (often only) language - but have no interest in being dominated by Vladimir Putin's dictatorship. They simply want to get on with their lives.
 

Offsideagain

Full Member
Joined
Jan 3, 2014
Messages
1,432
Location
Cheshire
Putin has Napoleon syndrome at the moment. He sees himself as an Emperor over all the ‘Russia’s’. Communism as he sees it has failed. There is an elite of wealthy people rich from the efforts of others which is against communist doctrines of the past. The West is to blame fo everything in his mind and he may be right especially when it came to Crimea when the West just let him breeze into Crimea without a murmur. The Chinese have just signed a 30 year deal for Russia , for that read Putin and cronies, to supply gas thus making the German cancellation of the second pipeline ineffective Sanctions wise. Sanctions will only harm the people of Russia as the Oligarchs will have moved their assets weeks ago. They won’t suffer a bit. The West needs to kick him up the arse and get his ‘peacekeepers’ back into Russia. UK can do it as our army is small and not as well equipped as the Russians especially in the armoured divisions according to a mate that studies these things. Fingers crossed nobody gets hurt.
 

Simbo

Full Member
Joined
Oct 25, 2010
Messages
3,931
This needs to be made explicitly clear: just because your mother tongue is Russian does not mean you necessarily identify as Russian.
And being "pro-russian" doesn't mean people want to be part of russia or live under Putin's boot. Anybody who is really "pro-russian" should also identify as "anti-Putin".
 

antohan

gets aroused by tagline boobs
Joined
Apr 24, 2002
Messages
40,143
Location
Montevideo
I was simply triggered earlier by people dismissing the original internal conflict and the legitimacy of people that actually live there
Ah, fair enough. Yeah, that be8ng ultimately at the root of it all always invariably gets lost along the way, bizarre as it may be.


I'd love to live in a world where everyone has the right to self-determination and it doesn't lead to any conflicts but that's clearly a utopia that we have no way of reaching it.
In my younger days (90s) I was involved with relief work in the Balkans and Africa (largely domestic stuff, but of the same nature). I eventually moved on, accepting the world didn't want me to change it.

Whenever you are fed up with it all and dismiss utopia, get yourself over to Laos. What an absolutely bizarre and magnificent place. You just stand there watching all these monks prancing around and wonder how or why none of their neighbors have any inclination to just run them over, as it would take all of 5 minutes.
 

nimic

has an exposure kink and loves Joe Rogan
Scout
Joined
Aug 2, 2006
Messages
24,661
Location
And I'm all out of bubblegum.
Admittedly I'm working so didn't look :lol: - All I will say is that regardless of what that book says, it is true that Russia and China are competitors, that much goes without saying. They may have some shared interests regarding NATO and the west in general but ultimately there's no love between them and historically their relationship has been turbulent, particularly when both were actively expanding their spheres of influence during the Soviet era. I doubt they'll ever fight a war mind.
Here's official flag of one of the parties Dugin founded, it's not subtle:

 

TMDaines

Full Member
Joined
Sep 1, 2014
Messages
11,552
Why would he? Western Ukraine is an area where people traditionally disliked Russia and didn’t speak Russian.
As someone who has spent a couple of years of my life in Western Ukraine, I would politely suggest this is bollocks. Plenty in Western Ukraine speak Russian at home, in monolingual and bilingual families, and even in Lviv, Russian is still more of a lingua franca than English. People there still consume as much media from the Russosphere as they do the Anglosphere.

Thankfully, most there have the common sense to hold anti-Putin sentiment than anti-Russia. Even something like the Sochi Olympics was a big deal in Ukraine, and I know several Western Ukrainians who travelled by land to do temporary work in Sochi before and during the games, because it was seen as a once in a lifetime opportunity and they had the Russian and English language skills to do it.

The prime source of Anti-Russia sentiment in Ukraine is Putin himself.
 

VorZakone

What would Kenny G do?
Joined
May 9, 2013
Messages
25,742
Not gonna lie, I can't take the word "imminent" seriously anymore. Just say you're expecting it but don't know when.
 

VorZakone

What would Kenny G do?
Joined
May 9, 2013
Messages
25,742
I have an American friend I've been attempting to convince to get the hell out of there for the past week. He refuses to leave because he just bought a condo on the Black Sea.
Great timing to buy a condo.
 

Raoul

Admin
Staff
Joined
Aug 14, 1999
Messages
120,482
Location
Hollywood CA
Putin has Napoleon syndrome at the moment. He sees himself as an Emperor over all the ‘Russia’s’. Communism as he sees it has failed. There is an elite of wealthy people rich from the efforts of others which is against communist doctrines of the past. The West is to blame fo everything in his mind and he may be right especially when it came to Crimea when the West just let him breeze into Crimea without a murmur. The Chinese have just signed a 30 year deal for Russia , for that read Putin and cronies, to supply gas thus making the German cancellation of the second pipeline ineffective Sanctions wise. Sanctions will only harm the people of Russia as the Oligarchs will have moved their assets weeks ago. They won’t suffer a bit. The West needs to kick him up the arse and get his ‘peacekeepers’ back into Russia. UK can do it as our army is small and not as well equipped as the Russians especially in the armoured divisions according to a mate that studies these things. Fingers crossed nobody gets hurt.
This feels like a massive inflection point in history - one that will be looked at for decades as a turning point between democracy and authoritarianism.