I can at least agree that Putin seems less rational and more extreme than he was 10-15 years ago. I can also admit that I was one of the many people who didn't think Russia would launch an all-out attack on Ukraine. Perhaps his tendency to conspirational thinking and being surrounded with yes-men has compromised his ability to hink rationally? His ramblings about drug addicted nazis suggests that. But I think Putin is a long way from wanting to go down in a blaze of glory. I still think the nuclear scare today was an attept to sell the story to Russians that the invasion of a peaceful neighbour is really about facing down NATO agression.
I have to say I'm impressed by the Ukranian president, Zelenky. Who would've belived a former comedian with no political experience stepping up in such a crisis and becomeing such inspiring and unifying leader?
It’s already started…the rouble is crashing…the Russian government claims to have plans in place to combat this 🤔🤨
Apparently Putin has moved thermobaric weapons into Ukraine…he needs to be not only stopped but removed from power…Putin cannot afford to lose - or be seen to lose - this war….could be some very dark days ahead…
The Russian stockmarket is closed.
The value of the ruble is dropping at an unheard of rate.
The entire country is essentially cut off.
And then, the president of Ukraine delivers one of the best speeches that I've ever seen:
apologies for bad language in the link itself. It's the only place that I've seen this posted so far. It's worth watching.
We live in a time of self-serving political leaders who cannot see further than the end of their nose. We need a statesman and there isn't one.
Quoting myself, but Vladimir Zelensky is exactly the sort of stateman and making the exact kind of competent, efficient speech which I'm talking about. It's such a pity we don't have anyone in the far west with a decent grasp of the situation and how to describe it so as to elicit effective moral leadership and empathy for the oppressed. Thanks for the link @Gymkata
Apparently it’s all the fault of Liz Truss - UK Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs - that Putin has put his nuclear forces on high alert 🙄 nice to know Russia fear us 🤨
What? Because she called out the Kremlin administration for the liars they are? Putin doesn't recognise a compliment when he sees one. 🤔 I jest of course. She did the right thing and he's having an extremely dangerous hissy fit. Do you think Putin has Lego toys he throws around the Kremlin?
The European reaction to the invasjon is incredible ..... I mean, who would've belived it a week ago? The EU will send fighter jets. Germany will dramatically increase it's defence budget and send weapons to a nation at war for the first time since WWII. Sweden sends weapons to a nation at war for the first time since 1939. Norway does the same for the first time since 1959, but disapointingly it's light anti-tank weapons and not the first-rate NASAMS ground-to-air missiler systems Ukraine asked Norway to send. There are lots of other examples.
Your Majesty, how are you - you have been infected with Covid“?
“Screw that, Bond - we‘re now flying to Moscow and bring that little pis*er down!“
Even with the chance, that this is seen as a political stance, I have share this.
Also, let us not forget who we are talking about here. Even though one can argue, that USA has waged war all around the globe since Spanish-American war, no other country has been party to so many armed conflicts with its neighboring countries in the last 30 years: Georgian Civil war -91-93, war in Abkhazia 91-93, Transnistria war 92, East Prigorodny conflict 92, Tajikistani civil war 92-97, 1st Chechen war 94-96, war of Dagestan 99, 2nd Chechen war 99-09, Russo-Georgia war 08, North Caucasus 09-17, Russo-Urkrainian war 14-present. Russia is a very poor neighbor to have, and has a long history of going after anybody it shares a border with.
Actually Russia and Norway has never been at war. To top that, the USSR chased the Germans out of our most northern county and actually left afterwards! But I don't disagree on your point. Not at all.
There are no winners in war. Those who take part or are caught in it and who are not killed, will carry mental injuries forever.
I don't think that Putin sits there with a big button on his desk like a Bond villain. Surely any move to atomic weapons in a first strike would have to go through many layers of command before being authorised? If this is the case then there is no chance of it happening and far more chance of Putin being himself arrested if he tried to insist on it.
A prediction. Like all subjects of politics on AJB, this topic will itself lead to open warfare at some point. It is only a matter of time before it is used to engnite the old arguments which creep in every time!
Maybe not at a shooting war: https://thebarentsobserver.com/en/arctic/2022/01/disruption-one-two-undersea-optical-cables-svalbard
Putin is very much like a Bond villain: Discussion about Nordstream....
Mark Rutte: You know who Putin is and you want to put us in bed with him. You're kidding, right?
Angela Merkel: Yeah, you're right. We should just deal with nice people. I need to know you're on the team, Mark. I need to know you value your career.
We don't know what happened, but we do know Russia has a mini submarine that can cur cables deep underwater:
Russian Submarine That Can Cut Underwater Internet Cables Worries US Officials - Elite Readers
I read a poll for the first time show a majority supporting NATO membership for Finland and your parliament will debate it today. Can you comment on this, 0073?
Yes: IMHO we should have joined NATO back in the days of Boris Jeltsins drunken stupor. Now it will be quite a bit harder fight.
Finnish population has been scared by former Soviet leaning left wing -current "peace advocating" left wing -politicians, to believe that NATO membership will cause Russia to "for the first time" view Finland as an enemy. Also they beat the drum, that if in NATO Finland will be forced to fight USAs wars around the world. Populace uneducated on the nature of NATO believed these lies, as well as the lie that Russia is really about peace.
This brutal and illegal assault on a sovereign European nation currently perpetrated by Russia has caused some scales to drop from the eyes of people and the support for NATO membership is on the rise.
Now; sending the membership application has to overcome two major hurdles: 1) our current government and possibly 2) referendum. Polls dating before the Russian attack on Ukraine show, that if senior government leadership says that we need to, the majority of the population will support NATO membership. But the catch is, political leadership hides behind the referendum not willing to make the call. The poll showing support for the NATO membership is in response to a straightforward question: should we or should we not, and the results are encouraging even though it is in direct reaction to Russian war mongering. But if we now move to referendum, we are certain to witness intense influence campaigns and distribution of disinformation against NATO, both by domestic as well as foreign operators. That may effect the outcome, no matter how scary the bear behind the door!
Be that as it may, what I crave is some leadership qualities and the ability to make hard decisions in our politicians: just send the application already!
If Finland joins NATO the country will be a strong asset. It's obviously up to Finland if they apply for NATO membership or not, that's how NATO works and becoming an "ally" of Russia doesn't work. But I think such a major political shift should ideally have the backing of a solid majority over time before it's made. Of cource I understand why many in Finland worry. The country was a part of the Russian empire back in the time of the Czars, it's been attacked by the USSR in the past, regions of Finland like Petsamo have been Soviet/Russian since WWII (not that you're planning to take it back!), and you have the longest border with Russia in Europe.
Here only elements of the far left and far right have show support for Putin's policy towards Ukraine, but I haven't really heard from them since Thursday ....
I agree that Putin is like a real life Bond villain, but that was not my point. If anyone thinks he can act like a Bond villain and launch nuclear weapons in a first strike (or any situation) by simply pushing a big button on his desk is mistaken.
I think there is tendency to label any leaders in confluct side "insane" and this is often a dangerous oversimplification. Putin is surrounded by yes-men, he probably belives NATO hates Russia and wants to destroy it, he probably belives Zelensky for to power after a CIA coupe. But I don't think he's insane I don't belive he'll start a nuclear war against NATO in this situation.
Putin has isolated himself not only in a democratic sense but also in a physical sense.
These strange conferences we keep seeing where he talks to his ministers, his military, even other world leaders, all from one side of an enormous desk. My initial thought was it is part of the stage management of the scene, that by being distant he becomes dominant, omnipotent almost, declaring from on high what he demands. Yet, he's so small, he isn't raised on a pedestal; his appearance is almost insignificant compared to what surrounds him.
No; there's something else happening here. We don't get all the news about his movements here in the UK, [why would we?] but has he been outside of Russia, outside of Moscow, outside of the Kremlin since COVID hit? Is he frightened of catching a disease which might just kill him? Or is he so paranoid about his own people - the populace and his interior administration - that he dare not go near them any longer? I'd hazard that he has so closed himself away from the machinations of everyday life that he's forgotten entirely how the world, its borders and infrastructures, actually functions. This is exactly the same mindset which befell Stalin, the Tsars, the Ottomans, the Hapsburgs, etc.
It is difficult to imagine anyone attempting a Russian coup - the country is a police state and Putin's cronies are the only people allowed near him [see above] - but that's usually how these empire builder's fall. We can but hope.
Right now, I suspect that he's keeping himself completely isolated with loyal bodyguards, food tasters, and no open windows around.
The thing to watch are the oligarchs, though. The bargain is that Putin keeps them rich and they keep him in power. With the stock market closed again today and probably for the rest of the week, the utter and complete crash or the ruble, and the massive selloff of Russian energy/petroleum stocks in other stock markets, the oligarchs are quickly losing massive amounts of wealth, wealth that probably will never return. Something is going to happen.
Perhaps he is also scared of coming into contact with the same chemicals which he ordered to be used on people in the UK? I did watch a programme which said that during covid, any one wanting to see Putn had to go into quarantine for two weeks before being allowed in then they had to go along a long corridor with UV light and disinfectant sprays before being allowed to see him. Perhaps that tells us all we need to know about his paranoia?
If he cuts himself off then he has really no way of knowing what is happening around him? I saw a documentary about Hitler last night on BBC and he isolated himself and this helped the people plotting against him. His spies and secret police were not enough to stop them trying to assassinate. I am not saying that anyone might try to kill Putin, but they might try to depose him if things go badly for them.
I don't think we can expect a coup in Russia, at least not in the near future. Putin has enjoyed a solid support in Russia for many years by offering stability, a nationalist ideology and economic growth. He also controls most of the media. We don't know how the Russian population will react to the sanctions and the following economic problems, the isolation and negative reactions from the outside world. And how will they react to being at war against a people they are culturally very close to? How will they react when Russian soldiers aren't welcomed as liberators, but instead are killed in the thousands? Maybe Putin will lose some of his support, but it's possible they will rally behind him in in the idea that "Mother Russia" is under attack.
I actually think Putin does have the equivalent of a big button on his desk in the sense that he can order a nuclear strike without consulting his cabinet or his military. That said, if those military or political leaders vehemently disagreed with him, I would imagine that their only recourse would be to band together, rise-up and physically remove him from power and that would likely be difficult right now.
I find reports of polls that only 50% of Russians support the invasion a bit confusing. Firstly, who conducted these polls and how? There is no freedom of the press or even of speech in Russia, so it's unlikely to be any sort of mainstream media. If that 50% is amongst young, urban, internet-using Russians, that's a depressingly-low number. If it's amongst older, rural, mainstream-media-using Russians, that indicates a very considerable opposition to the invasion.
The thing that concerns me is China.
I really think that China is watching all of this as a weather balloon to see how the world reacts. The fact that Russia is being crushed economically and becoming radioactive politically is probably changing the Chinese approach to their future plans, I'm sure of that. Consider than China has now come out for 'peace' and has offered to help 'mediate' things. They want to be seen as the hero.
What really scares me: With BP and Shell pulling out of Russia entirely (selling off their holdings and canceling their contracts entirely), that's going to leave the Russians to handle their own affairs in terms of selling gas and petroleum to other countries. Per what some friends in the industry have told me, Russia is completely unable to handle this (that's why they relied on BP, Shell, and others). I'm afraid that China is going to come in and 'offer' to handle the Russian energy industry. That just gives China another stranglehold on the world.
At first I suspected Putin warned/consulted/asked China when he was in Beijing for the Olympics. But China didn't pull out their citizens from Ukraine before the attack. In fact China was one of the last countries to get their people into safety. In fact they were so late they had real problems getting out. Apparently the Americans shared their intel with the Chinese (and everybody else) on Russia's preperations for war. The Chinese went to Moscow and asked what was going on. They were told "nothing, the West is just trying to divide us".
After the war started China didn't know what to do they had good relations with both Russia and Ukraine. They also want to alianate the West at this point. They abstained from voting in UN's counsil.
But China wants to "bring Taiwan back to the motherland" at some point, and Taiwan is in a way "China's Ukraine". A democratic state with close cultural and historical ties to the larger dictatorship. One thing's for sure: Russia is the little guy economically with a GDP slightly larger than Spain's.
The EU has voted overwhelmingly to accept Ukraine as a member candidate. I'm not sure that's a good idea. I don't think it's of any practical use for Ukraine at this point. But it fits Russian propaganda like a glove. The Russian story is that the EU is NATO's economical arm and they can say "See, I told you!".
(please don't make this about the EU/Brexit).