The Bishop and the Butterfly: Murder, Politics, and the End of the Jazz Age

    What's going on in Russia? (Ongoing Thread) - Part II

    EVERYONE: FEEL FREE TO USE.  Part I is here, Feb. 28 thru March 24

    Exclusive: Inside a rare US meeting with a Russian general in Moscow. By Barbara Starr and Jeremy Herb, CNN, Updated 1:16 AM ET, March 24

    (CNN) A rare face-to-face meeting between Russian and US military officials last week led to an "outburst" of emotion from a normally stoic Russian general, a "revealing moment" that the Americans present believe hinted at larger morale problems in Russia's military, according to a closely held US military readout of what transpired.

    The readout, which was reviewed by CNN, describes the perspective of the two defense attachés who attended and their own impressions of what they saw and heard [....]

    The meeting, held at the Russian ministry of defense in Moscow, is a rare instance of Russian and American defense officials sitting down in person since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24. The readout describes the meeting as tense, with visible signs of stress on the Russian side [....]


    Vanity Fair scolding people for believing longtime Vanity Fare.
    It's all Cinderella, ain't it? (or "Zolushka", depending)

    (found retweeted by Conrad Hackett, Senior Demographer at Pew Research)

    too hot not to share even if it is agitprop:

    if you sometimes despair over the nuts we have in Congress that pander to nuts, here's a reminder that it can always be worse - a Russian M.P. to the right of Putin:

    regarding those threats against NATO:

    PAYWALL can't access, still think it was worth sharing the tweets if the story develops further with other outlets

    Bellingcat & BBC:

    See whole thread here


    NATO allies split on whether to talk to Putin:

    Watch @InnaSovsun tell @AliVelshi, correctly, that average Russians supports Putin and we need to stop being in denial about it. As I've said before, even if Putin falls, many Russians will still hold anti-Ukraine, colonial views. It's bigger than Putin.

    — Terrell Jermaine Starr (@terrelljstarr) March 29, 2022

    Wow, not all Russians think alike- what insight.

    "Many" is quite the weasel word, esp when we look at communicating & transforming. Many Russians are westward looking, but i can't estimate what %.

    LETTER FROM FINLAND: What I Heard From Passengers on the Last Train Out of Russia

    For a month after the invasion of Ukraine, the high-speed Allegro train carried disaffected Russians to Helsinki. On Sunday, that final rail connection to Europe was severed.

    By WILLIAM DOYLE @ Politco Magazine, 03/29/2022 12:30 PM EDT​

    William Doyle is a writer and producer who lives part-time in Helsinki.

    Silence around Brittney Griner's Russia detainment is deafening, and likely intentional

    Anything publicly shared about the WNBA All-Star could be used against her in Russia, according to an expert.

    more at the twitter events link

    A month into Russia’s invasion Ukraine, the ruble is already back to pre-war levels. ⁦@TomStub⁩ and ⁦@polinaivanovva⁩ explain how

    — max seddon (@maxseddon) April 1, 2022

    paywalled but you get the gist from the summary at the bottom of the tweet, and this is why he wants to be paid in rubles for oil or gas

    "Kazakhstan is truly blazing a new trail here." Not willing to follow crazy dictator off cliff again!

    Is Germany complicit in Putin's war in Ukraine?

    Putin's little German idiots article is pretty accurate. I was also too naive trusting Merkel and how she was handling Putin, energy, etc. Shutting down German nuclear gave Putin a huge lever over Europe as well, but the appeasing attitude gave Russians the opening much earlier.

    more Germany bashing, FWIW

    now there's Angela bashing too:

    Note I'm not bashing her - for one her leadership may have held, Russia might have moved sooner, etc. I was skeptical about shutting down nuclear, but Germany's been antinukes for decades - not just politicians. Politics is complex, even with Angie.

    Holy smoke and fire!!! Popes usually don't say such things!

    Pope lashes out at ‘potentate’ Putin over ‘anachronistic claims’ on Ukraine

    ‘Icy winds of war … bring only death, destruction and hatred in their wake,’ Pope Francis says.

    BY LAURENZ GEHRKE @, April 2, 2022 

    Pope Francis on Saturday implicitly criticized Russian President Vladimir Putin over his invasion of Ukraine during a speech in the Maltese capital Valletta.

    Without explicitly mentioning Putin or the war in Ukraine, the pope touched on “the wind blowing from the east of Europe,” according to the Vatican’s news agency Vatican News.

    “The icy winds of war, which bring only death, destruction and hatred in their wake, have swept down powerfully upon the lives of many people and affected us all,” Francis said, adding that “once again, some potentate, sadly caught up in anachronistic claims of nationalist interests, is provoking and fomenting conflicts, whereas ordinary people sense the need to build a future that will either be shared or not be at all.”

    The pope had previously called the war in Ukraine a “massacre,” and “unacceptable armed aggression,” but had never before had such a relatively unconcealed go at Putin.

    On Saturday, he used the opportunity during his trip to Malta to depict the island EU member country as an incentive to end all war. “Malta, which shines brilliantly in the heart of the Mediterranean, can serve as an inspiration to us, for it is urgent to restore beauty to the face of a humanity marred by war,” he said.

    Francis deplored the return of animosities across the world and what he perceived as waning enthusiasm for peace, which he said goes along with increased investments in the armaments industry.

    “In this way … not only peace but also so many great questions, like the fight against hunger and inequality are no longer on the list of the main political agendas,” he said.

    Later on Saturday, the pope set off a series of tweets about migration, including one calling for a broadly shared effort to help those displaced from Ukraine.

    “The growing migration emergency — here we can think of the refugees from war-torn Ukraine — calls for a broad-based and shared response,” the tweet read. “Some countries cannot respond to the entire problem, while others remain indifferent onlookers!” [....]


    coincidentally, I see Joe Walsh is on a similar meme:

    I saw that post too.

    I already knew that Jonah Goldberg had moved on but I was watching News Nation and saw that George Will had taken on a sort of constructive criticism consultant role for a progressive news host. 

    Meanwhile, what's left of conservatism is a bunch of people who clearly have some sort of financial connection role with Russia. It's strange how we ended up getting here - Russia is actually a declining country with a pathetic economy - but here we are.

    Interesting to have your input on it. In the end, can't help but think about how one man, Trump, destroyed the whole setup the conservatives had going for them. The minute he decided to enter the GOP primary, he started to steal all their culture wars memes and run with them, while at the same time wouldn't follow the conservative establishment rules. And he stole a crucial 1/3 of the electorate doing that, including right wing Christians. Lesson, from Putin too: don't underestimate how many people just hate the culture of "the liberal  western elite"? They drop all other beliefs to go with someone doing a good job of bashing that demographic?

     There's a 10-tweet Thread by Alexey Navalny himself (or someone representing him?) on the latest news on Russian tv,

    the thread is in Russian, you have to click on each tweet individually to get a translation link, here's the first

    1/10 How the viewer of Russian TV sees it. And that's exactly what I am. I learned about the monstrous events in Bucha yesterday morning from the news that Russia is convening the UN Security Council in connection with the massacre that the Ukrainian Nazis staged in Bucha. In the evening, the TV presenter of Channel 1 explained everything:

    11:41 AM · Apr 5, 2022·Twitter for iPhone

    translated from this:

    1/10 Как это видит зритель российского ТВ. А я именно такой.

    О чудовищных событиях в Буче я узнал вчера утром из новости о том, что Россия созывает Совбез ООН в связи с резней, которую украинские нацисты устроили в Буче.

    Вечером телеведущий 1 канала все объяснил:

    — Alexey Navalny (@navalny) April 5, 2022

    If you're interested you can do the rest of the translations yourself

    Estonia Expels a Colorful Russian Diplomat

    Envoy Sergey Nalobin, who was previously asked to leave the UK, had ties to the FSB

    by two Estonian investigative journalists @ New Lines Magazine, April 6

    Anonymous hacks Kremlin

    Glad they seem to be on our side

    using this dupe entry to say that bringing up Anonymous made me think of Ed Snowden so I went to check his Twitter account and last communication is still this from Feb. 27

    thanks, made me look for other things they may be up to

    Work is underway to identify all soldiers that are part of Unit 51460 of the 64th Motor Rifle Brigade from Khabarovsk (near Vladivostok).

    The unit allegedly played a leading role in the Bucha Massacre.

    Its commander is Omurbekov Azatbek Asanbekovich.

    Spread it far and wide!

    — Anonymous News (@Anonymous_Link) April 6, 2022

    Website of the Moscow regional public organization for the prevention of rescue and safety in the water of the Russian Federation.

    Let them know that we are for the defense of Ukraine! #OpRussia Defend Ukraine #Anonymous

    — Anonymous News (@Anonymous_Link) April 6, 2022

    Feds announce disruption of Russian malware attack in operation aided by Pittsburgh FBI, U.S. Attorney's office

    — OG_Tek (@OG_Tek1) April 7, 2022

    "Sandworm is the same group that in 2015 attacked the Ukrainian electric grid, and led cyber attacks during the 2018 Olympics, Wray said."

    — Jane Moore(@janeworld1) April 7, 2022

    Here's a breakdown, and the Fed warrant posted . Cyclops Blink, GRU Botnet

    — OG_Tek (@OG_Tek1) April 7, 2022

    firewalled, but from the intro, sounds like the Germans have war crimes evidence:

    a Der Spiegel editor has now put up a paywall-free English version:

    note that's part of a thread in which he summarizes/analyzes the main points if you're interested

    Boris to Vlad: you thought Brexit meant we liked you?

    “The Europe we knew just six weeks ago no longer exists”

    UK PM Boris Johnson says Russian President Putin’s actions has united Europe and the transatlantic alliance, adding “his ambition to divide us has demonstrably failed”

    — BBC News (World) (@BBCWorld) April 8, 2022

    (edit to fix typo)


    And Boris parting with Russian in Milan multiple times?

    admit it could be this tho:

    another pic, team Boris with team Zelenskyy:

    just the winningest Special Operation ever!

    more on the winning plan!


    Behind every successful man is a good woman.

    NEW: A “Stalinist” mass purge of Russian secret intelligence is under way after more than 100 agents were removed from their jobs and the head of the department responsible for Ukraine was sent to prison

    — The Times (@thetimes) April 11, 2022

    It's happening, the more Putin digs in, the bigger his failing:

    Putin primer

    ^ I cannot recommend Galeev's threads on Russian society & government enough. I've read several of them now, they are like taking a "Russia 101" course in college, complete with slides. To the point where I wonder why he does such work for free on Twitter. They are often super-interesting, this one was actually a little drier than most...

    It gave me details i was sorely lacking, so not dry for me. Now i understand how a printer repairman can become a billionaire oligarch.

    tweet from Kara-Murza's wife (found retweeted by Francis Fukuyama):


    The Moscow Times reports that Poland's report does not use the word assassination BUT you know -

    Living on $30/month in ice cold regions is prolly not happening in the US, is in various Russian oblasts (money figures slightly off, but the "both sides" is inaccurate, and we don't have forced or coerced conscription in the US).

    Greyzone abroad - where's Lulu?

    So Pootie's going all out with delusions of grandeur, gonna start a whole new world, don't need any of you other fuckers, sort of a Russian version of Wakanda, or new human settlement on Mars....?


    Aka "shooting oneself in the dick" (and yes, it feels like a move only a male could make)

    Conservative analysis of Putin:

    Vladimir Putin perfected the kleptocratic autocracy that was built in Russia, in the 1990s. This authoritarian model is worthy of the name, “Putinism.” By 2000, Putin became the de facto dictator. Within a few years, the organized crime format that was prevalent in post-Soviet Russia was overhauled into a highly personalistic dictatorship, where all the tentacles of power: economic, political, intelligence, and military, were beholden to him. An economic class of oligarchs would be made rich, thanks to Putinism. The sociologist, Max Weber, would have labeled this leadership type as sultanism.  

    From what I have read this is off the mark. Putin was put in place by a system and that system appears to have kept him in place for as long as it has. His poor decision making may also represent fear, much as Stalin lived in fear during his declining years.

    Nothing demonstrates more how much the world has changed over the past 20 years than that George Galloway is somehow now on the right. 

    It reminds me of something Christopher Hitchens once said - they're not anti-war. They are pro-war for the other side. Guess who is writing him a check these days:

    In recent months Galloway has been dedicating much of his time to his talk show Sputnik, which he co-hosts with his wife Gayatri on Russia Today. 

    Of course!

    Kafka in full bloom:

    Massive fire in the #Tyumen and #Omsk Oblasts, #Siberia, #Russial 15 April 2022 #Copernicus #Sentinel-2 Full-size + #OpenData #scicomm #wildfire Images are about 165 kilometers wide

    — Pierre Markuse (@Pierre_Markuse) April 20, 2022

    This fire occurred on the same day, today as this one:

    — Igor Sushko (@igorsushko) April 21, 2022

    Pope Francis scrapped his plans to visit Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill in Israel out of concerns that the meeting could stir "confusion at this moment" as the war in Ukraine rages.

    — Washington Examiner (@dcexaminer) April 22, 2022

    Ukraine war: The Russia I knew no longer exists - Steve Rosenberg by Steve Rosenberg Russia Editor @ BBC NEWS Published 7 hours ago

    Z symbol on a T-shirt

    There are no shells exploding in Moscow. There are no foreign forces encircling the city. What Muscovites are experiencing now is nothing compared to the horrors in Ukraine.

    At first glance life here even looks normal. As usual, Moscow's Garden Ring is packed with traffic. Crowds are streaming from the metro station opposite me.

    In reality, though, little here could be described as normal. Normality ended on 24 February when Vladimir Putin ordered his troops into Ukraine for his "Special Military Operation".

    I have experienced Communist Russia. I have lived through post-Soviet Russia. Now the world's largest country has metamorphosed again.

    Let me take you on a tour of "Special Military Operation Russia".

    I get in the car to drive to the supermarket. By force of habit, I switch on the radio [....]

    Quoting Louise Mensch is pretty pathetic.

    I hear Victim Olympics as well.

    and then there's

    pretty interesting Galeev thread, I quote his conclusion, go to Twitter for the rest:

    So what does the story of Putin and Lukashenko teach us? First, how easy it is to manipulate Putin if you understand him. Putin is *way* more powerful than Lukashenko. And yet, the latter still wags the dog. Because he pretend he'll give Putin the carrot and yet, never gives it

    — Kamil Galeev (@kamilkazani) April 24, 2022


    Amazing. From start:

    large fire at oil depot in Bryansk:

    ("Signature Unclear" apparently an internet figure and a TV show/character?)

    translates as How he is at work. How it is at private parties.

    Πως είναι στη δουλειά.
    Πως είναι στα πριβέ πάρτυ.

    — YGKPOWER (@ygkpower) April 27, 2022

    and this one is "In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit"


    New development!!! Russia and Belarus form new USSR, call on former satellite states to join:

    don't mind me but just want a cross-link here to your entire news thread on that theme

    Comrade, get on board the tractor, we're going back to the USSR.


    I like to preface this by vouching that Tom Ricks has been around the block some and more on military issues, especially from brass and their bullshit, not very likely to fall for inaccurate reporting:

    Still hard to cheer burning books - hope they were beyond the pale propaganda.

    The War in Ukraine, as Seen on Russian TV

    @ May 6, 2022

    ....The New York Times reviewed more than 50 hours of television footage to show how the war was being presented to Russians through the country’s news media....

    Assad be shitting bricks

    but lots of his people are still nuts:

    (admittedly, we have similar problems!)

    Z goose stepping: 

    Russians accused of raping men, women and children -

    ^ wow. and you know, I came to post this on the Ukraine war thread, but on 2nd thought it fits right here, it sort of symbolizes almost everything he said!


    Oops, candour shut down


    Kholkhoz collective porn - but with more attractive & healthier bustier women!
    And Nureyev in space! and flags, lots of big flags!
    Kolkhoz - Wikipedia

    Tovarischi - chleb, zemya, mir! (comrades - bread, land, peace!)
    Even the old hens are with you, Vova!


    Meanwhile, a new Simonyan (RT) appears as the warhawk on state TV:


    Reliving glory of Korean War years -
    Make Russia Great Again from 70 years ago - 
    before that usurper Kruschev screwed things up.
    Yes, missiles coming to West Europe - we'll take on
    the capitalist lapdogs where they live...



    Just the facts! I like that.

    re: Brittney Grener in court today:

    She also retweeted this video

    more detail at her feed

    Moscow councillor jailed for seven years after criticising Ukraine war

    Thread retweeted by Fukuyama:

    CAASTA Waiver for India has been passed by House of Representatives, USA ``with 330-99 votes.

    Five democrats voted against CAASTA Waiver for India

    • Alexandria Ocasio
    • Ilhan Omar
    • Rashida Tlaib
    • Jamaal Bowman
    • Cori Bush

    — Ankur (@unapologeticAnk) July 17, 2022

    Explained: America’s CAATSA law and the waiver that the US House has passed for India

    CAATSA, which was signed into a federal law in 2017, allows the United States to punish countries that carry out 'significant transactions with Iran, North Korea and Russia'. India's purchase of the S-400 defence system from Russia had raised fears that it would be sanctioned under this legislation

    FP ExplainersJuly 15, 2022 13:45:56 IST


    Still, I'm not sure I want the Russian economy to collapse - i want the government and Russian imperialism to collapse

    CNN Exclusive: Biden admin has offered to exchange Viktor Bout, a convicted Russian arms trafficker serving a 25-year US prison sentence, in potential deal for release of detained Americans Brittney Griner and Paul Whelan, @kylieatwood @evanperez @jmhansler reporting

    — Jim Sciutto (@jimsciutto) July 27, 2022

    The notorious Viktor Bout!

    edit to add: here's the CNN link

    The US offers to swap convicted Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout as part of an exchange for imprisoned Americans Brittney Griner and Paul Whelan.

    — CNN Breaking News (@cnnbrk) July 27, 2022


    Nasty dumbfucks - 2 mins on the internetz and everyone feels it's ok to blather out their stupid ignorant baseless opinions and judge people, including a poor girl caught up in a Russian mess for 5 fucking months. Do i fucking know there's no Miranda anywhere else? Fuck no. Do i assume there is? Fuck no. Do i assume there isn't? Fuck no. Do i throw slurs against a young woman/professional athlete just because Reuters put out a stupid fucking context-free blurb being too lazy to post a real story re: her court appearance? Fuck no. So after a thread of people piling on, including some nasty sexist or racist comments, someone helpfully posts:

    Well fuck me, maybe Russia has some laws on the books - who knew? (perhaps Navalny & Pussy Riot, that's who. Maybe anyone who's lived in a communist or totalitarian system who knows how laws are twisted and bent as much as non-existent). Will it stop the shit posters? Hardly. Stupid is as stupid does, said the great Forrest Gump. 



    see everything he tweeted inbetweeten the above and the below

    The old window thing!

    Indeed it is getting old. Imagine a bonesawing ever 4-6 months...

    Kompromat thread:

    (may be a repost)

    From the link: Russia’s war against Ukraine has demonstrated that all speculations on the end of the tank era have been somewhat premature. 

    This is only true because Ukraine doesn't have planes and Russia isn't using their's. American air power would have wiped out 90% of those Russian tanks in long straight lines on the roads to Kyiv like the dragons in GoT

    Not so cryptic:

    Khrushchev’s Fall From Power

    The break with China and food shortages in the USSR eroded Khrushchev’s legitimacy in the eyes of other high-ranking Soviet officials, who were already bothered by what they saw as his erratic tendency to undercut their authority. In October 1964 Khrushchev was called back from a vacation in Pitsunda, Georgia, and forced to resign as both premier and head of the Communist Party. Khrushchev wrote his memoirs and quietly lived out the remainder of his days before dying of a heart attack in September 1971. Nonetheless, his spirit of reform lived on during the perestroika era of the 1980s.

    Moscow Municipal Lawmakers Demand Putin's Resignation


    Daily Beast, "watch the windows"

    My goodness how what pundits are saying has changed:

    3 commentators pushing back - "so our 10-year-olda will still be fighting!"  "If you tell people they don't exist, their language doesn't exist, they're not going to give you hugs". Yet still the Nazi accusations, and "just hit them harder" logic.


    found retweeted by Laura Rozen

    Media incorrectly represents situation at Finnish-Russian border, officials confirm

    Several videos and images circulating depicting irregular queues at the Finnish-Russian border have been falsely attributed to reactions after Russian President Vladimir Putin's mobilization announcement. Several Finnish officials confirm that the situation remains normal at the border with regular queues, traffic and flow.

    @ Twitter events last night, including

    Matti Pitkäniitty is the head of the internal affairs unit of the Finnish Border Guard.


    Harri Ohra-aho is Finland's Ministerial Adviser for Intelligence.

    just saw this on CNN tv about the former president of Mongolia; pretty striking:


    Fukuyama retweeted:

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