Sunday, May 24, 2015

When the Truth is Outrageous

Russia is upset that Ukraine dares to say they are at war with Russia. Simple truth is an enemy of Putin's Russia these days.


Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko sparked fresh Kremlin fury on Wednesday by warning that his crisis-torn country was fighting a "real war" against Russian aggressors that could escalate at any time.

The Russians are probably more mad about Ukraine's cancellation of military cooperation deals that amazingly have not been terminated already.

So maybe if Ukraine stops going along with the fiction that they are not at war with Russia, Russia will have more difficulty denying it to their own people.

As Russia prepares for a new offensive in the Donbas, Russia is already having difficulty hiding the 1,000 casualties they've endured so far (with 200-250 dead, depending on the KIA/WIA ratio).

I know the Ukrainians are justifiably angry, but they should not show off the Russians they capture which could probably violate international norms on treating prisoners.

The idea of a trial should be out of the question unless actual war crimes really were involved.

Instead, the Ukrainians should announce a policy of resettling surrendering Russian soldiers who have done nothing more than what soldiers do in war in Ukraine and even support their move to the West.

That would encourage reluctant "volunteers" to escape their forced service inside Ukraine.

Now that would embarrass Putin's Russia where many Russians don't even think Ukraine is a real nation in the international system:

New survey evidence indicates that this is not so much a product of a surge in Russian nationalism, which has actually remained rather stable since the pre-crisis period. Instead, it has much more to do with a stunningly widespread Russian view that Ukraine as it has existed since 1991 is simply not legitimate as a state within its present borders and with its present government.

Pity Ukraine is--on Stalin's insistence--a founding member of the United Nations. Inconvenient, eh?

Interestingly enough, Putin sent out his hand puppet to break the news officially that the Ukraine adventure is going to cost Russia even more:

The Russian prime minister (Dmitry Medvedev) recently gave a public speech before the Russian parliament, details of which were distributed nationwide by the state controlled media. Medvedev admitted that the military operations in Ukraine had cost Russia over $100 billion so far and would probably cost more before it is all over.

Strategypage writes that speeches like this test the waters. Does Putin want to see if the prospect of much more sacrifice to keep fighting in Ukraine is acceptable to the people and the elites? If so, we can expect the subliminal war to continue, with Russia making land grabs and then calling for ceasefires to consolidate their gains until Russia gets all that it wants.

If not, does Putin negotiate a real end to the fighting? Or does Putin decide to escalate and take all that he wants in one campaign to get the outrage over and encourage Europe to go back to business as usual?

More of the truth needs to come out and be advertised given Putin's fear of the truth. That could change the terms of the debate about the price of seizing Ukrainian territory.

UPDATE: Related:

President Vladimir Putin on Thursday declared all deaths of Russian soldiers during special operations to be classified as a state secret, a move that comes as Moscow stands accused of sending soldiers to fight in eastern Ukraine. ...

Asked to explain the rationale behind Putin's move, his spokesman Dmitry Peskov had no immediate comment.

Russian opposition activists released a report saying at least 220 serving Russian soldiers were killed in fighting in two hot spots in east Ukraine last summer and earlier this year.

Putin is exploring the deep philosophical question if a Russian soldier falls in Ukraine and nobody sees him, does anybody in Russia make a noise?

UPDATE: Related discussion of the lack of truth in Russia.