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A Look at Russia's War in Ukraine

September 12 – December 18, 2022

The social media posts of former  ‘Soviet subject’

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*Please note: Many of these posts appeared originally in Russian and have been translated by Google.

Sept. 12:  AND SO IT BEGINS: According to The Moscow Times, after the collapse of the Kharkiv front, Putin retreated to his Sochi palace and cancelled meetings with his military staff. As well, the Kremlin announces referendums on the annexation of Ukrainian territories have been cancelled.
Not with a bang but with a whimper.

Sept. 14:  Indeed. This never was remotely about the NATO expansion for Putin.
*Dmitry Kozak "told the Russian leader as the war began that he had struck a provisional deal with Kyiv that would satisfy Russia's demand that Ukraine stay out of NATO, but Putin rejected it and pressed ahead with his military campaign."*


Sept. 22:  Dmitry Grozoubinski @DmitryOpines

12:24 PM · Sep 22, 2022:

From the largely anecdotal evidence coming in so far about Russian mobilization:

  1. They are not sticking to Putin's publicly stated target of 300k. Just vacuuming up men in the provinces.

  2. They are not exclusively targeting reservists and veterans.

  3. They are actively using call-ups as a tool of repression, punishing protesters with draft cards.

  4. They are recruiting more aggressive in the rural oblasts and ethnic enclaves than in St. Peter and Moscow, perhaps trying to maintain the illusion this can be a costless war.

  5. The Russian state is woefully unprepared and far too disorganized to competently orchestrate something on this scale.

  6. The Russian army is making it up as it goes along when it comes to how to arm, train, house, feed and utilize these people.

  7. People are being given less than 24 hours to report to enlistment sites, but also being given long lists of things they should ideally bring.

  8. The criminal penalties for not attending (years and years in prison) mean people ARE turning up.

Sept 22: Putin knows he has lost. He's crazy and he's a villain and a complete human lowlife, but he's not a fool. He realizes he has been defeated. But he can't put up with it. He has nothing to present to the people as a victory, albeit the most overwhelming, pulled by the ears. And he tries to delay the inevitable.

He's running out of cannon meat, and he decided to send hundreds of thousands, a million Russian men to the true death -- most of them are unprepared, untrained, lost. And they -- there are many documented evidences on the Internet today -- go, having received subpoenas, to board buses that will take them there, to the Ukrainian border, to prison. To the right death. Carelessly, silently, like sheep, like cows to the slaughterhouse they go. They will be killed, their mothers will be left without sons, wives without husbands, children without fathers, but - they go because ... Well, what about: the agenda. From the military base. How could you not go. It's the agenda. Or else - prison. Where will u go...

Where would you go? Yes to anywhere! In the impassable noise, to the farthest village, to the taiga, to the Altai caves, and at least even to prison: everything is better than a true death for Putin. Because they will not be able to surrender to the Ukrainian army, their artillery will not allow them to reach the close battle, and at the slightest attempt to escape or run away, their Russian guards, Wagnerovtsy with Kadyrovtsi and other lovers to kill in queues in the back, funny chat without any pity.

I don't understand this stupid, animal doom. Stuffed, intimidated, eternally patient, murdered Russia.

Sept 23:  How did Russia get to its current state?

It all started with the fact that most of the population voluntarily put on their neck an unrepentant gebeshnik with the eyes of a dead fish, and then carelessly, shrugging his shoulders, agreed to give him their civil liberties in exchange for better nutrition , mortgage and the opportunity to spend a vacation in Turkey and Egypt.

Next, it all went down the slope.

Sept. 24:  No. This isn't right. Too high a level of smug righteousness.

Putin's Russia is a totalitarian state, and you have called it that -- so it's hard to see how at the same time you can hold the citizens of a state like that responsible for the actions of their deranged, bloodthirsty ruler. Would Estonia also refuse asylum to citizens of North Korea?

A little more humility and compassion are in order, Estonia.


Sept. 24 Lavrov says today at the UN that Russian laws and doctrines, including the nuclear one,

will also apply to the territories of Ukraine annexed with the help of "referendums."

This corrupt mouthpiece for a fascist regime shouldn't have been admitted to the US.

Russia is a terrorist state repeatedly engaging in nuclear blackmail, and it ought to be suspended from the United Nations for its criminal conduct.

Sept. 25: Only on and after September 21 did the majority of people in Russia finally wake up to the reality of what had happened seven months earlier, on February 24.

Sept. 26 Russia is closing its borders, apparently.

Welcome to Iron Curtain Redux.

Back to the USSR.

Except that -- and I would never have thought I'd say this -- Putin's Russia is worse than the late-stage, post-Stalin USSR. More ferociously lawless, more toxic, even more repugnant.

Sept. 27 Russia most likely is setting a new precedent in world's history, where people are not fleeing because their country was invaded but because they invaded another country.

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Sept. 27: “The [Russian forces] are pretty much in disarray. This force is exhausted by now. It can't be regenerated by volunteers. My gut feeling is that Putin doesn't really care about the inferior quality [of new troops being assembled]. So my guess is that the overall aim of this is to make Ukraine run out of bullets before Russia runs out of soldiers."

--Gustav Gressel, German military expert

Something is going to give. Putin's regime will snap.

Sept. 27Ukraine will never fully forgive Russia for this unconscionable war, and it will take the rest of the world many decades to start even remotely, even marginally trusting Russia again. No one in the world likes Russia now, and it is entirely Russia's own fault. Post-Soviet Russia was given by history a chance at freedom, and Russia quickly rejected it, choosing instead to saddle itself as its ruler with an unrepentant member of the very same organization -- Cheka/GPU/NKVD.MGB/KGB -- that in the course of the 20th century had murdered and ruined the lives of untold millions of innocent people in the former Soviet Union.

Sept. 27:  "Having watched the Russian army during the first seven months of its campaign in Ukraine, I cannot say I’m surprised by any of their setbacks. The Russians performed as their training would have suggested: poorly. The casualty counts reflect this. It is no wonder so many young Russians are fleeing the country.

Which brings us back to how Putin’s 300,000 'reservists' will fare against Ukraine’s NATO-trained army. It is likely those recruits will join units that have recently been traumatized after seven months of combat, and already suffer from poor morale. It won’t help that those units have recently been reinforced with prison parolees, ragtag militias from false 'peoples’ republics,' and recruited guns from private armies.

The results will be predictable. Putin might continue to send unwilling Russian men to an ill-conceived and illegal invasion for which they are not trained or prepared. But it’s not warfare. It’s just more murder — this time of its own citizens."

*Washington Post Opinion/Putin’s recruits are heading for slaughter.


Sept. 28:  A few simple facts:

Donbas is Ukraine.

Luhansk is Ukraine.

Zaporizhzhia is Ukraine.

Kherson is Ukraine.

Crimea is Ukraine.

Putin is a war criminal.

Sept. 28: Reportedly, the strategically crucial city of Lyman, in the Donetsk region, is back under Ukraine’s control. The Russian contingent there has surrendered.

This still needs further confirmation.

Sept. 30 It is quite unthinkable, what is happening in Ukraine, and in Russia -- in Europe, in the world -- right now. We, all of us, seem to be sinking collectively ever deeper into a nightmare from which we are helpless to awaken, due to the ill will and multiple psychological complexes of one uncommonly evil seventy year old man in the Kremlin, his paranoid fear of losing power. That contemptible man has already caused immeasurable suffering and destruction and created a veritable human catastrophe in an independent democratic neighboring state which his own country for centuries had considered its brotherly nation -- and now, feeling cornered and trapped, a victim of his own colossal misjudgment, he is threatening an entire continent, the West writ large, indeed the whole world, with nuclear destruction.

It should be up to Russia to find a way to rid itself of that man. It should be up to the rest of the world, too. Because hopefully, more likely than not, once he is removed from power, by fate or by chance or by determined design, this nightmare will come to an end.

(But then, what do I know other than how to be hopeful.)

Sept. 30 Putin's hysterical, irrelevant anti-Western speech in the Kremlin. At the funeral of the gathered faces. Everyone understands where he is taking them.

The gathering of the doomed.

Sept. 30 On my laptop screen this morning:

One madman and four traitors (Russian figureheads in Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia) in the Kremlin... presumably celebrating the ongoing demolition of Russian army in Ukraine.



Oct. 1 Hello, Orwell, my old friend...

Annexing foreign territories while your army is retreating and having its butt kicked? That's an original, innovative strategy!

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Oct. 6 The murderous Saudi ruler, MBS, cuts oil production in an effort to lend a helping hand to his friend, the fascist dictator of Russia, whose dissolute barbaric army is being crushed in Ukraine.

The most terrible people of the world always unite.

Oct. 6: Ukraine is the least anti-semitic country in Europe.


Oct. 8: A truck bomb caused a major fire to erupt on the only bridge that links Russia to Crimea, which Russia had been using to transport weapons for the war in Ukraine. The bridge has sustained severe structural damage.

Putin got his seventieth birthday present.

He had no idea what he was getting himself and Russia into.

Don't want war, don't start one.

Oct. 8:

"— If you win, will Vladimir Putin survive?

— I don't care."

--Zelenskyy, in a BBC interview today

Oct. 8: People like this cannot be reasoned with. They cannot be persuaded. They are hopelessly ignorant, stupid and deranged. They can only be defeated at the ballot box.

'Woman at Trump rally today says she loves Putin because he is cleaning out the American bio weapons labs in Ukraine: “I love Putin! He’s a good president, #2 of the presidents” after Trump.'

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Oct. 8:  Every true patriot of the MAGA land knows who really was behind that bridge explosion in... well, you know, over there. In Ukraine or whatever.

George Soros, of course. Who else?

Oct. 8 A veritable explosion of pro-Putin activity on social media today, in the wake of the Kerch Bridge... mishap. Droves of MAGA types, buzzing clouds of far-left fringe element, shrill tankies of all stripes -- all united in their indignation over this terrible, treacherous attack by Ukraine, all expressing their violent support for Putin, their staunch confidence in Russia's ultimate victoriousness.

All of them always strenuously deny having any connection to Russia, of course. Probably just a coincidence.

Oct. 8:  Instant identification of the author. That's what it means to have your own, branded style. You can't drink away the craftsmanship, and madness is not an obstacle to it.

"Nazism is a Russophobic beast,

Whose stench is like Hitler today

With a dream - to defeat Russia in battle,

The only answer to this stink:

For my homeland - fire, fire! "

Oct 9: Putin's rule in the Kremlin started with his blowing up apartment buildings in Russia, and it is ending with his blowing up apartment buildings in the region of Ukraine he has just illegitimately declared to be part of Russia.

His entire political career -- for want of a more suitable definition -- has been that of a mass-murderer of innocent people. He is, right now, world's most dangerous and prolific terrorist, bar none.

"10 Russian missile strikes on Zaporizhzhia last night killed at least 17 innocent people, including 6 children."

Oct. 9: The ayatollahs' vile regime in Iran is on its hind legs.

Russian army is being ground down and about to collapse in Ukraine, and when it is finally defeated and driven out of the neighboring country, Putin's downfall will become inevitable.

Imagine the seismic anti-authoritarian wave the ayatollahs' and Putin's departure would set off throughout Europe and indeed the rest of the world, with all those sundry Lukashenko-Orban-Maduro's being sept away by it like the dross of history that they are. Imagine the democracy-hating MAGA world's heartbreak.


Imagine the spoiled and shallow, western world-loathing far-left fringe's confusion.

The brave people of Iran and the brave people of Ukraine are holding the key to that future.

Oct 10:


David Frum


Left-wing pro-Putinists are noisy on Twitter, but in the end, they cannot do much for him. The people who *could* have power to rescue Putin from this debacle of his own-making are the pro-Trump candidates hoping to win seats in Congress next month and then stop aid to Ukraine.

Left-wing pro-Putinists see Putin as useful because he might weaken or destroy US and Western influence in the world. For them, his corruption and appeals to racial and sexual bigotry are regrettable defects to be concealed or denied.

Right-wing pro-Putinists see Putin as exciting because he offers a model of how they would like to govern their own countries. For them, Putin's corruption and appeals to racial and sexual bigotry are thrilling examples to emulate.

Oct 10: Ukraine hits an enemy bridge used to transport war materiel -- Putin responds by bombing a children's playground in a city park.

The vile war criminal, his advisers, his generals and his barbaric army -- all will be held to account, someday soon.


The crater on a playground in central Kyiv that was hit by a Russian missile today: CNN


Oct. 12: Putin has been exposed as a failed war leader. His grip on power is now greatly weakened. He is in a precarious political -- and indeed, existential -- situation, and he is desperately trying to demonstrate his "toughness," his being "up to the task," to his, increasingly shrill, hardline critics, by bombing Ukraine's civilian population. This will not postpone his already predetermined, unenviable fate for long. He has seen the writing on the wall.

Oct. 17: Does Putin have some kind of kompromat on Musk? The dude is absolutely exhausting in his relentless shilling for the Kremlin.

Oct. 19:  Russian propaganda is getting some confusion: there is no war, but there is martial law.

Oct. 19: A striking video circulating today online: a grieving woman on a bus in Saratov, sobbing, weeping, crying out her heartbreaking lament: "My boy! My little boy! My dear boy! Why? Why? What for?"

"Damn you, Ukraine!" She keeps on keening. "Damn you to hell, damn you unto eternity!" A stream of profanities follows.

Ukraine did not come to Saratov to kill her boy. Her boy was sent to Ukraine by Putin. It was Putin that killed her boy. Putin didn't need to start this insane war. It is Putin she ought to be condemning to the depths of hell. But no. This woman doesn't want to know the truth of it, doesn't want to ask any too-painful questions -- and neither do millions of other Russian people.

These people...

Inordinately long and hard will be the process of Russia's mental detoxication.

Oct. 25: If I had a chance to speak with any of those, undoubtedly well-meaning 30 Democratic representatives, signatories of the open letter calling upon Biden to start negotiations with Putin at this point, I would ask them, respectfully and in all seriousness: What, in their opinion, is there to negotiate? What kind of concessions could Ukraine, or Europe, or the US, offer Putin? What would be the main subject of discussion: how much of Ukraine's territory should remain under Russian occupation?

Oct. 27: Putin's Russia has no future whatsoever. It dies with him. It falls when he falls. And he is a mortal man, regardless of the current state of his health. A 70-year-old mortal man.

This is so because Putin's Russia has no ideology (doing everything opposite of the West is not an ideology, it's a broken funhouse mirror) and no governing institutions (it's all a balance of power between the various coteries within his inner circle). Putin can outlast the tenure of some Democrats in US Congress or even (though unlikely) the current White House administration, but he cannot outlive Western world's democratic political structures, which are based on the principles of shared rationality and mutual benefit.

The world is going to face multiple global challenges in the foreseeable future, but Putin's cynical, resentful, impotent, kleptocratic, revanchist and hopelessly anachronistic version of Russia won't be around long enough to be part of the solution to those challenges.

Oct. 28: And right on cue, there you go:

"Russian Duma allowed the unblocking of Twitter in the Russian Federation after the acquisition of the social network by Elon Musk.

This was stated by Deputy Chairman of the State Duma Committee on Information Policy Andrey Svintsov."

Oct. 31 Erdogan has called Putin's bluff.

Russia’s naval blockade of Ukraine has been broken for good.


Nov. 5: They? They -- who? They-who-must-not-be-named.

The Soviets, Mr. Orban. The KGB. The would-be head of the KGB, Soviet ambassador Andropov -- Putin's idol. Your best friends. Your patrons. Your masters.


Nov. 11: Putin is having one of the most humiliating days of his ugly worthless life, and he should be preparing himself now for the inescapable fact that before long, he will be remembering it with wistful fondness.

Nov. 11

Remember this?

I do.

Two esteemed political scientists/analysts.

Still gainfully employed. Still opining away.


Nov. 17: Marjorie Taylor Greene, today: "We had five million people cross our border illegally... and let’s compare that to how many Russians invaded Ukraine. 82 thousand Russians have invaded Ukraine."


Just an incredible combination of stupidity and moral depravity. My cat is (way) smarter than this.

Even the most loathsome of Putin's paid propagandists on Russian TV, if they were to hear this (and they will), would stare at her in sheer envy and awe, with mouths agape.

Nov. 20: Those who remember, will understand.

And if any of the specialists on Soviet life of the late period does not know - well, well. You can't embrace the vast.

(Admittedly, a very "niche" post.)

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Nov. 23:

The ballet dancer from Ukraine's National Operetta Theatre, 26-year-old Vadym Khlupyanets, has been killed in the battle while defending Bakhmut.

Ukrainians are fighting for their country's freedom, and the country is losing its best people.

Russians, on the other hand, are fighting -- and being defeated, and dying -- for the deranged voices in the bloated head of the rabid human rat in the Kremlin.

I would love to see a freaking Bolshoi ballet dancer on the frontlines in Ukraine.


Nov. 25How to say simple things in a complicated way:

I was born early in the second half of the last century, a few years after the death of one of the two most prodigious mass-murderers in human history (who in the country of my birth for almost three decades had been extolled as "the greatest genius of all time and all people" and "the most humane of human beings"), in a city named after an uncommonly evil and cruel man, the first monster's immediate predecessor, who was the founder of the totalitarian state of my childhood and youth, the domestic god of our lives, in a maternity hospital located in a street bearing the name of the aforesaid mass-murderer extraordinaire's favorite proletarian poet, who blew his brains out at 37 because of the broken heart (and who, at least nominally, had no children of his own... and neither, incidentally, did my city's morally degenerate namesake).


Nov. 25:  A person at a party asked me the other week: "As a former Russian citizen, what do you think of..." -- well, something or other; it's not that important, what exactly.

I told him/her that, to be pedantic about it (and why not), I never was a Russian citizen, having left for America back in 1986, when Russia was still the Soviet Union.

I used to be a Soviet citizen, strictly speaking, I told her/him, but that's a misnomer, isn't it. A bit of an oxymoron. One cannot be a citizen of anything living under totalitarianism. One can only be a subject of a totalitarian state. So I was a Soviet subject, by the dubious virtue of having been born there. If anything, I was a denizen of Leningrad. That was enough for me. But I became a real, full-fledged citizen for the first time in the US. And then in Canada.

"OK," the person, who asked the question, said. "I understand. That's really interesting. Still, how about my question?

So I answered it. It was, in truth, not a very interesting question, so the answer was not very interesting either.


Nov. 25:  Sugubo "niche" post on a random occasion.

Russia has turned into a finished, full-fledged fascist state despised by the whole civilized world, disgraced itself on the battlefield and, as compensation for its own humiliation, arranging a humanitarian disaster in Ukraine, leaving many millions of people there without water, heat, electricity and communication -- and the fed, smug, restless and inevitably stupid racist and hysterical Weller tells Russians on his youtube channel about the numerous conspiracies of Apada 3 against Russia and third world countries.

Accidentally stumbled upon -- and became indignant.

Conspiracy thinking is a quasi-experience of fools.

The world is both simpler and more complicated than he and millions of Russians seem. And they are desperate and can't explain it. And in vain. No one but themselves happily put a stolen Gebesh gopnik with a bunch of violent complexes on their neck, who brought a whole string of his mafia buddies to the Kremlin - thieves and murderers.

Of course, conspiracy thinking is a wonderful breeding ground for the establishment of fascism in a society.

What is happening now is where it has it. Again, not in the Atlantic Council, not in some underground society of evil billionaire elves, and not in the European Union. And much closer - both to Weller and to the citizens of Russia.

In general, it is a shame, in my opinion, now, from Russia, and even more from Estonia (or wherever he sits there), to engage in such reasoning.


Nov. 27:  A country whose modern history counts as one of its most tragic and sacred pages the Siege of Leningrad, with its one-million dead -- and whose totalitarian ruler is a native of the city and belongs to the generation of the children and younger siblings of the Siege of Leningrad's survivors -- right now is trying to replicate the Siege of Leningrad in Ukraine, expanding it onto the entire territory of that country.

Leaving many millions of civilians -- women, children and the elderly -- without light, heat, water and electricity: That is the way Putin, the genocidal war criminal and irredeemable moral degenerate, is trying to compensate for the unbearable humiliation of his vaunted army's crushing defeat on the battlefields of Ukraine.

I don't have access to the thoughts and feelings of all Russians -- no one does -- but my strong surmise would be that at least half of them, and probably more, either support what Putin is doing in Ukraine or don't give a damn about whatever he is doing there.

I am filled with contempt and disgust for the country of my birth and the first thirty years of my life.

And I also think that the prevalent Russian attitudes even to the most tragic and sacred pages of the country's modern history, such as the Siege of Leningrad, are now in dire need of some serious tonal adjustment.


Nov. 30 There are reports that many thousands of people in Iran celebrated US victory over their own soccer team yesterday at the FIFA World Cup.

I can relate: back in Soviet days, friends of mine and I likewise would rejoice at every embarrassment suffered by the hated regime in the international sports arena, be it in soccer or track and field or -- and especially -- chess (eg., for Korchnoi, obviously, and against Karpov; for Kasparov, naturally, and against Karpov).

Soviet regime, as we had no way of knowing back then, was ultimately unsustainable. And neither is the current Iranian regime.

No political regime that is so repulsively repressive that it causes people to start rooting against their own national sports teams and individual representatives of their nation's athletic spirit has any hope of long-term survival.


Dec. 1:  The Russian-language segment of the FB now is such a Fellinius choir of newly-left and newly-left. There is something in it from the emigrant cycle of the post-Bolshevik times of the last century: Constantinople-Paris-Berlin-Prague; only now also - Kazakhstan, Georgia, Armenia, Uzbekistan ...

Photos, sharing impressions and observations, life hacks, strong jokes on new and old material, artistic texts, congratulations, family memories, projects, plans for the future...

The future is hidden in darkness. Gradually, the understanding comes that there is no return to the previous life.


Dec. 4:  For some refreshing, if perhaps uncomfortable, truth that more in Europe need to acknowledge.

"We would be in trouble without the United States."

--Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin says Russia's war in Ukraine shows that the European Union isn't strong enough.

Dec 6:  A liberal opposition TV channel broadcasting from abroad to a fascist country. Permanently attached to him is a "innocent agent" plaid. "The channel, that is, positioning itself as a part of the Russian media space.

But, I think, being in opposition is not enough, in today's Russian situation. Being part of the media space of a fascist country is impossible. Being "against the war" is not enough. Now the only possible option for the media existence of such a channel may be its open, irreconcilable hostility to Putin's fascist regime and constant work to defeat his fascist army. No abstract humanism is possible now. Putin's Russia is the enemy. The Russian army is the enemy. The enemy shall be defeated. Everything.


Dec 6:  In an outrageous act of escalating the war, Kyiv regime has the temerity to destroy Russian strategic bombers that merely innocently, peacefully terrorize and devastate Ukrainian cities on a near-daily basis.

NYT, are you for real?


Dec. 15:  Congress introduces resolution to kick Russia off UN Security Council.

About time.


Dec. 18:  This photo, via @strategywoman, is from 5:05 pm yesterday.

It is full of power, both literally and metaphorically.

Kyiv is alive.

Putin will try to make it go dark again, but then it will come alive again.

Because Ukraine has already won the insane, criminal war unleashed by Putin.

Putin is a cornered genocidal loser. His end will be unenviable.

Putin's Russia is an infinitely corrupt fascist state with no future, loathed and despised throughout the world.

And Kyiv is alive.

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