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Journalists are finding it enormously difficult to accurately describe citizens of Russia and Belarus who moved to Ukraine to help kill invaders. There are several thousands of them. Some, including Afghanistan war veterans, have been here since, er, 2014, working with/for paramilitary groups like Right Sector and Ukraine’s security services behind the wire in occupied areas. Others arrived last year and joined the International Legion, Russian Volunteer Corps (RDK) and/or/maybe Freedom of Russia Legion.
They come in all ages, shapes and sizes.
The above passage from Valerie’s article threw me for a loop, and I associated misleading commentary by Michael below with grasshopper brains.
Belgorod oblast isn’t Russian-held territory. It’s part of Russia. And Michael obviously is unaware of what led to the creation of RDK and its current Z-approved mission. So, Val’s story is wrong, and that’s a pity.
I won’t tell it here for obvious reasons other than to note that Tootsie Club regulars from Moscow and Minsk don’t regard themselves as dissidents or freedom fighters. Almost all have zero hand-fighting skills. As for MMA blowhards like Kapustin (aka Rex) , they are, as a rule, irrespective of nationality, as chauvenistic and loud as their Ukrainian consorts.
Which brings me to to Andrei, who is standed in Norway and can’t figure out if he’s a hero or a villain.
Andrei has committed murder, a criminal act to which he has confessed. That he holds a Russian passport is, er, besides the point. Yes?
And this just in from Politico:
Since when is not shaking someone’s hand a hate signal? (As for the French fans, fuck them).
When it comes to its northern neighbor, Ukraine has little to be proud of. From 2014 to 2019, Aleksandr Lukashenko was the country’s most popular foreign leader. That’s because most Ukrainians knew little about him or, worse, were comfortable with the fact that he is a murderous dictator in league with Uncle Vova.
Besides, cheap Belarusian bitumen! But resource allocation puzzles involving non-cooperating agents where everyone uses the same wacko strategy, are guaranteed to fall apart, no matter what they are. Political upheaval — like revolutions — and war just adds more layers of complexity.
Ukraine, like Belarus and Russia, remains a sham democracy. It is a primitive post-soviet feudal autocracy. Democracy here is not underpinned by elections or coordinated work of institutions, but by popular uprisings. Absent them, even the illusion of democracy would not exist. Maybe this will change after the war.
The bureaucratic condition of the country is depressingly consistent: a ludicrous system that’s politically unrealistic and dangerously over-regulated. Here’s incomplete list of state agencies looking after domestic and foreign investors, not including the State Migration Service and investment nannies.
There are more than 80.
Human misery in Russia and Belarus is so appalling nowadays that if we allowed ourselves to dwell on our own governance problems we would only exacerbate our own misery. So, let’s wait until after the war.
For Ukraine Military, Far-Right Russian Volunteers Make for Worrisome Allies. Some fighters who led an incursion into Russian territory this week have neo-Nazi ties. “I worry that something like this could backfire on Ukraine because these are not ambiguous people.” (May 26, 2023)
A Russian Deserter’s Flight to Norway Presents a Fraught Dilemma for His Host. Andrei Medvedev fought with Russia’s Wagner mercenaries in Ukraine, then requested asylum in Norway. The authorities there must now weigh his plea against solidarity with Ukraine. (May 27, 2023)
Ukraine tennis player booed for not shaking hands with Belarusian opponent. The crowd jeered at Marta Kostyuk as she snubbed her rival Aryna Sabalenka at the Roland Garros (May 28, 2023)