23 Comments

Such gifted writing and insight to an unusual complex situation.

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"His recent claim that Russia must annex any territory from which any weapon could reach Russia implies that Russia must keep expanding until it controls the entire surface of the earth."

This is where those PhD-level courses in logic really start to pay off.

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Yeah. Why should Lavrov "bother to make sense". LOL

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Jul 30, 2022·edited Jul 30, 2022

Stuart, I, too, enjoyed that touch of classic Snyderian wit.

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founding

Trenchant analysis, as usual!

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American and British sources have estimated 75.000 dead and wounded Russian soldiers in Ukraine. How many of these belong to ethnic minorities? I have the notion that Russian warfare for centuries have been wasting lives of soldiers without remorse. Is it a matter of ethnic cleansing; a way to get rid of men from subdued nationalities, so that they cannot rebel against the empire? The slaughtering of Polish officers at Katyn at the end of WW II was an outlet of that mindset, and many Ukrainians died fighting Nazigermany.

I met a poet from Chuvashia once; much of his poetry was based in the sadness for all the men of his people who had had to die fighting for Russia. Besides he had translated the Swedish 18th century poet C M Bellman, and the Chuvashian Bellman Society was celebrating with his songs and his drinking habits.

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Is there any reason to believe that the Biden Administration and NATO leadership do not share and understand this analysis? I join you in hoping not.

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Putin has created his own undoing. In going to war with Ukraine, he misunderstood the Ukrainians and misread NATO. He made other mistakes but those two were quite enough. To quote from Snyder's analysis, 'Putin's power is based upon an image; by choosing to fight an actual war, he has made illusion hostage to reality.'

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The final paragraph says it all.

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Another approach to understanding the Russian mindset and the elaborate charades and pretenses necessary to survive there is in the novels by Stuart Kaminsky featuring Inspector Porfiry Rostnikov. Timothy Snyder, Masha Gessen, and Kaminsky make Russia make sense.

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Jul 30, 2022·edited Jul 30, 2022

Thanks for the link to the interview with Catherine Belton from DZ. I had come across this book earlier but somehow it had slipped my mind.

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Poor Putin! He's a victim of the first-as-tragedy-then-as-farce trap. It's not easy to be a farcical Stalin. You have to have the grandiosity and monumentality of the original, but without the NKVD and GULAG to back you up.

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Thank you for this insightful and thought-provoking post. I continue to write and share what I can, to support Ukraine, and remind legislators to support Ukraine. Putin losing power seems like a generally good thing, in that the rabidity of Putin's regime might be less, when left to the rest of their "officials." However, I am curious to hear more about how this might destabilize Eurasia. Thank you, again.

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"However, I am curious to hear more about how this might destabilize Eurasia." That is exactly what I've been wondering about, including or maybe even especially what Putin's losing power would mean for China.

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Very insightful. I was of the belief this war would cost Putin his leadership, and maybe his life. Nothing has changed my view. My question has been what will it take to change Russia? They are living the lies, too. Reality may have to take the form of a hard smackdown of the military by Ukraine, and economic devastation combined, so they decide it's not worth the incredible terror we witness today. Because right now, they are down with it.

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The Russian people have the most to lose

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Thanks for all the hard work.

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thoughtful commentary. My take on substack "History will show that Vladimir Putin’s fatal miscalculation was his belief that Europe would buckle if he invaded Ukraine because of its excessive dependence on Russian energy. It didn’t. He also failed to understand that excessive dependence works both ways: The Euros needed his oil and gas but he, in turn, completely relied on their market. Put another way, Putin should have parked his Imperial ambitions in the West until he had diversified his customer base and built pipelines and Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) facilities in the East to export to China, the world’s biggest energy buyer. Instead, he invaded Ukraine then blackmailed and abused the rest of Europe which sent it scrambling to sign up new suppliers and alternative energy sources. Europe is finding new sources more easily and Russia cannot replace Europe with new customers. He has lost economically."

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Thank you for providing clarity in my otherwise thick fog.

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