No Max, Ukrainians Have No Interest In Terrorism
In some of my pieces I’ve suggested that Ukraine may splinter into terrorist groups that attack Russia. I go where my thoughts take me, even if they make me uncomfortable. I ended up in a conversation with someone on YouTube, about a video by Vlad Vexler (who I highly recommend). They patiently explained why they believe Ukrainians will keep it together, so to speak. If you’ve been reading my stuff you might skip my comments and only read SG’s.
Keep in mind, this was an off-the-cuff conversation for both of us. I asked SG if they were okay with my posting their comments. SG said they were not comfortable speaking for Ukrainians, but wouldn’t want to stop me from posting whatever I wanted.
The video that elicited our conversation: The REAL Reason Russian People Deny Reality by Vlad Vexler
Max: Great to see a new video! From watching many interviews on 1420, etc., I get the sense, like you say, that Russians aren’t interested in politics and feel that it’s a simple enough game — don’t antagonize Putin’s regime. There are plenty of Russians interviewed that don’t seem worried about speaking their minds. They are also very clever in expressing how they feel around the rules. Anyway, I don’t get the feeling most Russians feel like they’re living in a police state, contrary to what Western media seems to presume.
What’s most fascinating to me is none of them seem the least bit worried that Ukrainians will one day infiltrate Moscow and St. Petersburg and bring the same intense violence they experienced. Russians don’t seem to connect the dots that their media people are calling Ukrainians Nazis who basically deserve to be raped, tortured and killed. Muscovites believe that Ukrainians are angry with Putin, not them. Is that the case? I don’t believe that’s so. Like you say, just because you turn away from politics doesn’t mean it turns away from you. Russians may not escape the Ukrainian politics of revenge.
I’d love to hear your opinion. My thought so far is this is really a civil war and in time will flow freely back and forth between Russia and Ukraine and many other parts of the Russian Federation.
SG: Sorry for butting in with my opinion. I believe Ukraine actually knows how to stay within its borders, the Ukrainian state will only attempt to topple the Kremlin if it feels it needs so to survive, it will weigh realistic options, it is a functioning state after all, as opposed to an autocracy of someone gradually losing his marbles. Right now it’s facing apathetic Russians, or ones who feel all this is wrong but are in a state of thanatosis; if it were to wage a land offensive on core Russian territory, they risk validating the Kremlin propaganda and turn Russians into the same kind of defenders of their land like Ukrainians are now.
The way Ukrainians view Russians that support Kremlin is like a sort of really dumb kind of kettle. The anger is there but isn’t of particularly violent variety, rather immense disappointment. But as soon a they cross the border weapon in hand or as potential secret agents, they are a mortal enemy, and it takes a considerable self-control for Ukrainians to treat them humanely.
I don’t believe it comes to civil war because I was certain this was going to be the case in Donbas, DPR/LPR; and yet that hasn’t happened. In spite of DPR government and military being comprised of known Russian agents (Russian citizens with well-documented connections to Putin or the FSB) and mercs, or maybe specifically because. The confrontations there remained limited to the front line, which unfortunately includes part of a dense residential area, which for sure is fortunate for Russia/DPR propaganda because hits do happen, and nobody will know for real whether they came from Ukraine or from DPR mercs, but it’s easy to blame Ukraine.
It depends. If and when Russian intruders are banished from at least pre-Feb territory, Ukraine will attempt a peace deal with Russia. Ukraine will heavily lean on international organizations — foremost they will try a UN Blue Berét mission, but they tried so in DPR/LPR and Russia Vetoed. If Russia can be kicked out of UN sec council, that’s super promising. All Ukraine wants is to be done with this shit and with Russia, and this involves dealing with Russia as little as possible and with potential international backers as much as possible.
Max: I hope to God you’re right! Just to be clear, I don’t believe Ukraine is going to invade Russia, nation to nation. But I believe militias will if things don’t stabilize. My point as only that what would have been laughed off a few months ago, the Ukrainian military taking Russia on directly is not as laughable ;) There was no civil war after Chechnya, Georgia and Donbas because everyone viewed Russia as being too strong. In Syria Russians aren’t as cocky ;) If Ukraine wins some serious counteroffensives everyone will recognize that Russia is beatable. Once someone seems beatable all bets are off, as they say. It has been one of Putin’s arguments over the years that I buy into. Russia may be impossible to govern with a light hand. And until 2010, most Russians were thrilled with how Putin brought Russia back from the Soviet Union. Odd that the media never mentions that.
I believe the war could have been avoided, bad as Putin may be. That belief makes me worry that the West will not be able to Shepard in a peace as you describe. I hope I’m wrong. Well, could go on and on!
SG: Ukraine no longer has militias, every possible group is integrated either into National Guard and TDU (Ministry of Interior) or are actual army (Ministry of Defense). It’s difficult to predict whether they may form again, but I think these people, of patriotic persuasion, will be focused on rebuilding once the opportunity arises. There’s so much to rebuild, and it’s becoming more every day!
I think Kremlin is the largest hazard to peace in Russia. Specifically due to the amount of trust people have grown towards Putin. Imagine Russians waking up to being mislead for 10–15–20 years? Euromaidan and Colour revolutions will seem so tame in comparison!
How would you say an unprovoked war could have been avoided? Vlad makes a strong case that it happened for palace and power consolidation reasons, and I’m inclined to deem it plausible. I think the future war was programmed in during the 2014 gambit when Crimea got annexed and Donbas proxy republics were created.
You say that it may be that Russia needs to be ruled with an iron fist. Maybe let’s imagine the absolutely implausible completely opposite scenario — Dr. Yavlinsky takes the presidential seat in Russia, along with his party having the majority support — pure sociodemocrat, Euro-integrator, staunchly anti-war, sharp economist first politician second, let’s fictionalize him to be better than the real person, and let’s assume for a sec that the party can execute an optimal strategy near flawlessly, I know, it’s a stretch, nobody gets it right on first try, but maybe they had prior trial runs before, as things happen in a democracy. What sort of failure mode do you predict for this government, and why do you believe his team may be unable to mitigate it? I’m not interested in possible stumbling blocks on the way there, but whether a government like that can serve a term or two eventually without things going terribly wrong; and if there is a way, then there should also be a way that leads there.
And maybe Russia genuinely needs to go through a few rounds of revolution and chaos just like any young democracy until it finds its true multilateral footing, with its golden wide coalition that carries it safely and boringly most of the time, and strong idealistic opposition capable of corrective action by taking the reigns partially once in a while — a model that works so well in a lot of EU, but Ukraine is still tumbling its way towards.
Max: I hope they do focus on rebuilding! My question about the invasion is why now? If he could delay it for a few months because of the Chinese Olympics why not a few more years, etc. I don’t want you to think I’m belittling Ukraine. My view has been A) do everything to assuage Putin’s ego until he’s out of power or B), if he attacks, the U.S. must immediately go to Ukraine’s defense; that is, the defense of any civilian population being killed like that. Instead we have a middle ground where Putin is totally committed and the West has been well…you know.
I agree Russia could be a democracy. But I also see that the U.S. runs a trillion dollar industry on Russia always being a nation to keep down. When it comes to democracy, the U.S. is only a fair weather supporter. If it can get cheap oil, or get a way to justify its defense industry, democracy becomes secondary. Look at Hunter Biden and Ukraine. Completely disgusting. (I’m an independent but would be a Democrat if they weren’t such war-mongers (yes, I know it’s ironic)).
Ukraine can be a democracy now. Russia has re-upped most evil nation status for a few more decades. And then there’s China. But the U.S. doesn’t care how many Ukrainians die. That’s a fact to me. I hate to say it as an American, but that’s how I see it. I’ve paid half my taxes every year because I’m told we need the power to protect democracy and decency and here we are, in the EXACT situation we thought we might be in, with F-35s and other stuff designed SPECIFICALLY to keep Russia out of the skies and we conveniently worry about nukes. I could go on and on. All your points are great. We have hundreds of thousands of homeless in America. Do you really think American will pay to rebuild Ukraine? It’s not going to be easy. There’s a saying Washington, “if you want a friend, get a dog”.
That’s why, in the end, Ukraine may need to resort to terrorism to get compensated. I so hope that doesn’t become the case.
SG: Worst case Ukraine can rebuild itself without compensation. There are some yet untapped natural resources that can be helpful, and Ukraine is well known for economical agriculture, ingenuity of its people, and high level of STEM education, and seeds of every industry. Do you know of a city with 36 accredited universities and a quarter million students? Well Ukraine has one! Foremost a strong Ukraine is of interest to EU as a shield from Russia especially now that this has happened, so that’s who I think will contribute most to bailing Ukraine out — not someone across the ocean. The number one challenge that prevents Ukraine from being a top European economy is corruption, and it has been making decent strides with that. Since 2014, even the most powerful domestic oligarchs started wanting to clean up the act, due to a threat on their nation.
Why right now? Many possibilities, many factors.
Look at Levada, the approval rating for Russian government has become equal to disapproval and stayed there for like a better part of the year. This is worse than during attempted 2011 revolution! A million people died from how Russia has been handling COVID. A good swift victory always lifts approval, tried and tested.
Time is not on Russia’s side regarding demographics, they’re about to fall into a conscript hole, and the gargantuan border to guard against China etc isn’t getting any shorter.
Time is not on Russia’s side regarding preparedness of Ukrainian military. Every year passes, adds tens thousands of combat hardened Ukrainians who seen Donbas and top notch training, plus more imported and domestic weaponry stockpiled. Time comes, Ukraine could actually start a war to liberate occupied areas instead!
Plus who knows with NATO? With Germany voting Red+Green+Yellow last fall instead of Red+Black, Red will be against Ukraine joining, but the other two are for — the idea was gradually gaining acceptance in the German public as of early February this year. Merkel and Sarkozy vetoed Ukraine joining NATO in 2008, but now both are gone, an unknown. Now technically Ukraine isn’t eligible due to territorial disputes, but who forces NATO to follow their own rules?
Time is not on Russia’s side regarding DPR/LPR, they don’t like being treated as an unloved not-quite-appendage, extreme level of crime, impossible to buy basic medication, impossible to visit families or go to college (remember magnificent Ukrainian education), formerly thriving local economy crashing, they could revolt and rejoin Ukraine any month.
Time is not on Russia’s side with Crimea either as the COVID years were hard on the traditional tourist destination, and exposed a gaping hole in economic development — apart from a shiny bridge, the hoped investments stayed away, it might flip back to Ukraine as well, though more debatable than Donbas. Russia has even been unable to restore fresh water supply to the peninsula, and it was suffering famines.
A falling out between Putin and Surkov a year or two ago indicates there may be a palace coup brewing, and there’s probably something else Vlad knows and that slipped me by, anyway he floated that that’s what’s going on there. Now Putin has definitely consolidated the power thanks to the invasion.
It wasn’t supposed to be THIS hard and complicated — 3–4 days to secure Kyiv, 12 days to Dnipro, hang around for 3 months, then go home. They had agents ready to go and install a puppet government, eliminate a handful people, and the military wasn’t going to war, but to run up a fog and control citizen protests. But the agents were intercepted thanks to US intel. It was supposed to be the same gambit like Donbas and Crimea just scaled up, but no dice.