General Russia Invades Ukraine

Gizzyfan

Gizzyfan

What the NATO countries and Ukraine have to realise is the US prefer a proxy wsr and eill fight to the last Ukrainian to try and weaken Russia. In WW2 they let the Soviets beat the nazis with huge losses while supplying a lot of aid Korea and viet Nam as well they hsve learnt to stsy out of the fighting.

They have plenty of writers to cheer on their policies. At the end of the they are imperialists. Russia is no threat militarily. They want Russia split to take their resources. Do you think Iraq, Lybia, Syris snd Afghanistan would have happened if their main export were cabbages.

Russia has lots of problems but their ecpansionary poli ies as set out by the west do not translate into real life. The US has to accept they are not the only big player on the scene snymore and reducing every issue militarily will not work long term.
 
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Hardyman's Yugo

Hardyman's Yugo

I don't want to live in Russia, and I don't want to live in the US. What's your point?
Nice swerve. I reckon most Russians who have visibility of life outside their country would rather live in America, the ones that don’t will be those who have bought the propaganda T shirt. You’re comparing a country which for all its faults is free, Russia is authoritarian and unpleasantly so unless you are in Putins gang of close mates.
 
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Mr Frank White

Mr Frank White

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They give up and live or fight and die. Because might is right. There, better?
Pretty much. Really easy to tell people stand up and fight with no skin in the game.
What the fuck is a two-way range? A shooting range where the targets fire back? Is that a thing?
Slang for a warzone. Things are very different when bullets can come at you...
 
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Mr Frank White

Mr Frank White

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Nice swerve. I reckon most Russians who have visibility of life outside their country would rather live in America, the ones that don’t will be those who have bought the propaganda T shirt. You’re comparing a country which for all its faults is free, Russia is authoritarian and unpleasantly so unless you are in Putins gang of close mates.
Nice extrapolation for which you have zero data to support.
 
Hardyman's Yugo

Hardyman's Yugo

Nice extrapolation for which you have zero data to support.
So you think Russia isn’t authoritarian? Press outlets closed down, political rivals killed, dissenters locked up?

I’ve probably met a lot more Russians than you living in Europe, unless you are Russian that is.

Oh and the other East Europeans I’ve had working for me, mostly Poles and Lithuanians, absolutely hate them
 
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Mr Frank White

Mr Frank White

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Well that's awkward...



So you think Russia isn’t authoritarian? Press outlets closed down, political rivals killed, dissenters locked up?

I’ve probably met a lot more Russians than you living in Europe, unless you are Russian that is.

Oh and the other East Europeans I’ve had working for me, mostly Poles and Lithuanians, absolutely hate them
1. That's a strawman.

2. Anecdotal stories aren't evidence.
 
Raw Power

Raw Power

1655850694260
1655850718597
 
Gizzyfan

Gizzyfan

Russia has always bee unacceptable to the western elites, Britain and the US invaded Russia just after WW1 to fight against the Bolsheviks. There was a lot of goodwill amongst the American and British publics. Now look up Churchill's idea in operation unthinkable. A proposal to invade the Soviet Union and rearm German troops. It was supposed to be secret but of course British intelligence was compromised by the likes of Philby, McLean, Burgess and others. It surprises me that they tried to normalise relations with the west for so long. Russia has markets for its goods eastward. Euroe doesn't want anything to do with Russia, I think Russia is accepting that now and will trade eastward and will take no shit from the west.
 
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gREVUS

gREVUS

Long live the Rainbows and Butterflies
Contributor
The last thing that Putin will want is a continued insurrection in the East, the certainties he want is Ukrainian neutrality, I don't think he will give a toss if they join the EU.

Give up ideas of Crimea returning to Ukraine.

Set up elections with international advisers for future of East Ukraine (he did this with Crimea.

A land bridge to Crimea to get water in particular there. Ukraine cut off the water which is technically a war crime.

There needs to be an investigation into atrocities by both sides, but who is neutral that can do it?
not a war crime when they werent at war. Or are you maintaining the illegal annexation of Crimea was the start of the war. In which case your probably right.
So just put that against Russias invasion, illegal elections with rigged voting, massive death count.
Yea Russia aint ever going to allow anyone to investigate in puttins life time.
Silliest thing Ukraine ever did was to give up all its nukes with Russia just next door. Even if it had kept a dozen and changed the software to negate the Kremlins codes Russia would never have crossed the border. Exactly the same reason that Russia is unafraid of any substantial response into Russia itself. even though it has no qualms about bombing anywhere in the Ukraine, you know schools, hospitals, streets etc.
 
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gREVUS

gREVUS

Long live the Rainbows and Butterflies
Contributor
Completely wrong on all counts. Renewables are expensive, and intermittent. Only European countries with cheaper power are the ones with nuclear power still running.
sorry your wrong. Renewables are cheap when compared to the alternative. They are only intermittent if used in isolation. There is a number of ways of implementing them and storage systems that will allow quick and easy change over. How do i know this because they are now doing it. They are putting them in place or have plans to have them in place by the end of the year.

I also follow renewables and other energy (Nuclear, Fusion) very closely. Salt reactors are cheaper and quick to build and roll out. Renewables is more than wind and solar, there's also tide and hydro as well as bio (which i discount as no large scale proven roll outs at this stage, but if you ever want to discuss ethers grown in vats of salt water as a fuel replacement i will dig out my notes.) and Thermal, both geothermal (like NZ) and Solar (like the condense array, (i don't think thats its name) that England is launching there fall this year. Think satellite pulling sunlight into a focused laser like beam and shooting it to a reciever on earth. with the concentrated heat boiling water to create energy, kind of like a super version of what they use in Alice springs for power).

The biggest detriment to renewables has always been the existing power structure. But when there is enough will this little planet can make big things happen fast. Remember the Ozone hole issues and cfc's. Got the whole world to agree to that one and changes took place fast. The 'Will' of the people is now here, and rising costs which have been foretold forever has strengthened it and created urgency. In Australia banks will no longer give loans for traditional fossil fuel investment. But fall over themselves to invest in renewables. The corporates are already prioritising changes to carbon neutral, so as not to be seen as anti green. And now with the increased cost of the basics, electric vehicles just became a priority to a lot of people. And thats both commercial and private. Laws are going into effect daily that push fuel guzzlers closer and closer to the end of an era. Its easy to say that we are not ready. But its not true. Will things need to change sure, but they already are.

I also wouldnt be surprised to see a big push towards countries reactivating their nuclear power programs, as the cheapest, safest way of generating electricity. But maybe thats more of a hope and desire rather than prediction, for now at least.
 
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gREVUS

gREVUS

Long live the Rainbows and Butterflies
Contributor
Russia is no threat militarily.
um the Ukrainias and Georgians and all those other countries think otherwise. Also those Nukes, yea they are a thing arent they. Pretty sure that makes them a military thing, so much so that even the USofA might be worried about a power hungry arse using them. Hell i know i was when trump was in power.
 
gREVUS

gREVUS

Long live the Rainbows and Butterflies
Contributor
Well that's awkward...




1. That's a strawman.

2. Anecdotal stories aren't evidence.

oh wow soaring rouble price, on the basis of soaring oil and gas prices which they created by invading the opposition...

You got me good there.

Still not an economist so i checked.
"The main reason for the ruble's recovery is soaring commodity prices. After Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, already high oil and natural gas prices rose even further.27 May 2022"

pity for Russia it will come to an end hope their banking there excess atm. Because there is no way China will pay what Europeans are prepared to pay. If they were it would already be going there. And remember China is moving to renewables as well. A lot of India probably cant afford Russias prices anyway. And again the bits that can are moving to renewables as they can.

PS the cost of renewables is still falling, while the cost of fossil fuels is going up. One is a short term pain and then long term gain and the other is ongoing and increasing costs, with no end in site. Which would you invest in if your some small indian city?
 
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Gizzyfan

Gizzyfan

not a war crime when they werent at war. Or are you maintaining the illegal annexation of Crimea was the start of the war. In which case your probably right.
So just put that against Russias invasion, illegal elections with rigged voting, massive death count.
Yea Russia aint ever going to allow anyone to investigate in puttins life time.
Silliest thing Ukraine ever did was to give up all its nukes with Russia just next door. Even if it had kept a dozen and changed the software to negate the Kremlins codes Russia would never have crossed the border. Exactly the same reason that Russia is unafraid of any substantial response into Russia itself. even though it has no qualms about bombing anywhere in the Ukraine, you know schools, hospitals, streets etc.

Was it illegal for Crimea to join Russia. Like the Donbass the Crimea did not accept the overthrow of a democratically elected Government by force. The new regime immediately instituted anti Russian laws, which further alienated the regions Far right militia started attacking the Donbass but were stopped at the border of Crimea. Crimea already had Republic status and had their own Government, they voted overwhelmingly to secede to Russia. Putin did not accept that and said it had to be a peoples referendum under international observers. This was done and was overwhelmingly in favour of returning to Russia. That election is ignored by the west when talking about Crimea. Not a shot fired and nobody even hurt. Probably because there were 30-40,000 Russian troos stationed at the Russian naval base of Sevastople who eacefully disarmed U krainian troops and sent them home
 
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Mr Frank White

Mr Frank White

Contributor
oh wow soaring rouble price, on the basis of soaring oil and gas prices which they created by invading the opposition...

You got me good there.

Still not an economist so i checked.
"The main reason for the ruble's recovery is soaring commodity prices. After Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, already high oil and natural gas prices rose even further.27 May 2022"
It's a general statement to show how idiotic politicians are.. Talking about sanctions and embargos to

pity for Russia it will come to an end hope their banking there excess atm. Because there is no way China will pay what Europeans are prepared to pay. If they were it would already be going there. And remember China is moving to renewables as well.
That a guess. And no China isn't moving to renewables. They are move to nuclear + RE.

A lot of India probably cant afford Russias prices anyway. And again the bits that can are moving to renewables as they can.

PS the cost of renewables is still falling, while the cost of fossil fuels is going up. One is a short term pain and then long term gain and the other is ongoing and increasing costs, with no end in site. Which would you invest in if your some small indian city?
India is also moving to nuclear. Because commentators here don't understand about energy security. Wind and solar are reliant on China mostly for components. China has been artificially suppressing the price of solar and batteries, just like Russia has with gas.
How are your renewables looking if pv and batteries go 5x in price. About as fucked as Germany is probably...

100% wind and solar is a myth believed by morons.
*Admins* can we have an energy policy thread??
 
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Worried2Death

Worried2Death

Solar (like the condense array, (i don't think thats its name) that England is launching there fall this year. Think satellite pulling sunlight into a focused laser like beam and shooting it to a reciever on earth. with the concentrated heat boiling water to create energy, kind of like a super version of what they use in Alice springs for power).
I hope this space lazer is safer than it sounds to the untrained ear, sounds like an amazing idea until the satellite gets hacked by Dr Evil and goes rogue
 
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bruce

bruce

Contributor
This today from Russian/Merkin Juilia Ioffee. She wrote some time agothat she would not be surpsied to see Putin last as long as Fidel Castro did in Cuba.

The Putin Apostates Come Home
If the West was counting on sanctions to create enough economic pain for the Russian population to rise up, sweep Putin from power, and end the war, they have been wildly unsuccessful. In fact, many conscientious objectors who at first fled the country are wending their way back home.
Like so many other Muscovites, Katya learned about the Russian invasion of Ukraine from an early morning text. “The war has started,” a friend wrote to her at 5 a.m. on February 24. Katya, whose name I have changed to protect her identity, had a full body response. She began to shake and hyperventilate and thought, for some reason, that the bombs were about to start falling on her home in Moscow. Her husband calmed her down enough for her to go back to sleep, but in the morning, the reality struck her with renewed force.

There were rumors that Vladimir Putin would close the country’s borders and implement a draft, and Katya’s phone was full of frantic messages from friends and family who were scrambling to flee Russia. She went to a nearby hipster cafe to get coffee, and every conversation she heard there was about how to get out. She went to see her parents. Her father took her by the hand and said, “You have to leave though it is possible we will never see each other again.” A friend living in America called Katya in tears, begging her to leave Russia because she was sure there was going to be a nuclear bomb dropped on Moscow.

Within days, Katya discovered that even the friends who had been saying they would never leave Russia were gone. “I was in a state of total panic,” Katya told me. “You were scared of absolutely everything. You feel like you’re flying in an airplane that’s being piloted by an insane terrorist. I had this feeling of being in a place where it was dangerous to be, a place that had stopped functioning according to any kind of reason or common sense, and I felt that I needed to get out of here, to a place that was safe.”

So Katya too decided to leave. She bought tickets for herself, her husband and their three children, cleaned out her phone of all her messaging and social media apps—there were reports that the F.S.B. was stopping people at the border to search for any evidence of dissent—and boarded a plane for Israel, joining the hundreds of thousands of people who fled Russia in the first two weeks of the war. Many of them were independent journalists who feared arrest under the Kremlin’s harsh new military censorship law. Others feared an even broader political crackdown on the opposition. Still others worried about being called up to fight in a war they vehemently opposed. And they all felt like the walls were closing in, that the system of authoritarianism that they had figured out how to live with had turned totalitarian overnight. They were all desperate to reach safer shores.
Katya had been building this lifeline, her life boat, since 2014, after Russia first invaded Crimea, and Russia was seized by a paroxysm of an aggressive, jingoist fever. Like hundreds of thousands of other liberal, globalized Russians, she realized that Putin had started Russia down a very different path and began the process of acquiring citizenship elsewhere, just in case she felt she needed to flee his madness. She settled on Israel because she and her family had Jewish roots and the process of getting a passport there was easier—and cheaper—than obtaining one somewhere in the European Union.

Katya and her family had visited Israel many times, but when they arrived in early March, they found that being immigrants was far different than being affluent tourists. The number of Israeli citizenship applications from Russians nearly doubled in 2014, and now all those lifeboats were coming ashore in Israel. Housing was scarce and expensive. Katya paid $3,000 cash for four days in a shabby, run-down apartment just as Visa and Mastercard announced that they were discontinuing service in Russia. Now Katya and her family were blocked from accessing their accounts, and were left with whatever cash they had managed to take out before the shutdown.

That quickly ran out, too. Life in Israel is expensive, especially when you have no access to money. Katya’s husband, a doctor, decided he would return to Moscow: he had patients who needed him and someone had to support the family. Suddenly, Katya was alone with three children whom she had yanked out of school. Neither she nor they spoke any Hebrew, and she couldn’t imagine sending them to local schools—nor did she have any idea how to even start the process. A new life began to take shape before her eyes and she was horrified by it. The lifeboat she had spent years building had brought her somewhere inhospitable and she realized that, no matter what, home was the big sinking ship that she had fled on this little raft.

So, in March, she decided to take her kids and move back to Moscow.
What she found was that Moscow—or Mordor, as she jokingly called it—hadn’t changed at all. Much has been written about the mass exodus of liberal Russians in the first weeks of their country’s invasion of Ukraine. They fled en masse to Yerevan, Tbilisi, Istanbul, Tel Aviv and Berlin, anywhere their legs could carry them and anywhere they had a valid visa.

But in the months since, as the conflict in Ukraine has settled into a grinding war of attrition, thousands of these Russians have been quietly returning home. Some are returning temporarily, to tie up loose ends, like renting out an apartment or selling a car, or getting more cash out of the bank. If you can come back without fear of immediate arrest because you’ve learned to be careful on social media, it’s a good time to liquidate your assets. Real estate prices in Russia are booming because there’s nothing else to invest in. Used cars are selling for the price of new ones because the import of foreign cars has stopped.

But many others, like Katya, are coming back for good. “This is my home,” Katya told me defiantly on a Zoom from her Moscow kitchen, which she had just finished renovating before the war broke out. “And not just this apartment, but this city. I love this city. This is my home. My parents live here, so do my friends. Why should I leave?”

Moreover, much of the urban population’s initial worst fears didn’t come to pass. No national draft was announced, the country’s borders weren’t closed, and life, at least in the capital, continues on as normal. “I don’t know how Putin has managed to make it so that there’s no war in Moscow and St. Petersburg, but he has,” one friend told me recently. “My world has been totally destroyed and when I think about it, I want to cry. And then I go outside, and it’s a glorious Moscow summer. The cafés are full, the sun is shining, there’s music playing. It’s like there’s no war.”Another friend told me, “Moscow is just like it is every other day. If you don’t know what the huge Z on a building in the center means, you’d never understand what’s going on. Because life is going on as usual. Restaurants are fully booked. It’s impossible to get a taxi on a Monday night.”

“Everyday life goes on as before,” another Moscow friend, who has stayed put the entire time, told me ruefully. “The war is only on TV."

If the West was counting on sanctions to create enough economic pain for the Russian population to rise up, sweep Putin from power, and end the war, they have, so far, been wildly unsuccessful. Putin has managed to maintain a surreal sense of normalcy in Russia, at least in the big cities. My friends’ unanimous descriptions of a city untouched by a gruesome war their government is waging just a few hours to the south, reminded me of America during the years of Iraq and Afghanistan, when, for most city elites, the wars also existed only on TV. And as long as Putin can shield his population from the geopolitical and economic fallout from the war he started, he can stay in power—and wage war in Ukraine—as long as he has enough men and supplies to do so.

For now, he has succeeded. Prices have risen somewhat, but the ruble is stronger than it has been in years and the stores are still full. There is food on the shelves and, as one female friend noted archly, the make-up emporia are still filled to the gills. What shortages there are affect only the people who never liked Putin much to begin with. There’s no more Apple Pay in Moscow, one of the first cities in the world to adopt it nearly universally. Now Muscovites have to walk around with wads of cash. But it’s a minor inconvenience that won’t send people out into the streets. There are fewer Spanish and Italian red wines in the stores, one friend noted sadly, “but how many customers are there like me? Most of the population drinks vodka.”

Others have complained on social media that, due to E.U. countries closing their airspace to Russian planes, it is much harder to fly to Europe or even Turkey. Tickets are exorbitantly priced and flight times are much longer: now a flight from Moscow to Italy requires an overnight stop in Dubai. “I’ve suffered from the sanctions because Russian planes don’t fly to the U.S. anymore,” the wine connoisseur friend told me. “But how many people does this affect? How many Russians used to regularly fly to Europe? Twenty percent? The rest haven’t gone anywhere before and won’t go anywhere now.” In the wake of these closures, domestic Russian tourism has boomed. Crimea is an especially popular destination—if you can find a ticket.

And though Moscow’s white-collar class misses their Apple stores and their Marks & Spencer, there are already rumors that many Western brands are planning on returning to the Russian market. Several people told me about a post on Telegram that Zara and Massimo Dutti, two Spanish brands beloved by Muscovites and which closed up shop right after the invasion, will reopen this summer. Retail employees at the luxury fashion houses like Prada are still receiving salaries and telling their friends that their bosses promise a return to Russia in the near future. Many of the contracts drawn up by Western firms selling their Russian property to locals apparently include clauses allowing them to re-buy and re-enter the Russian market in four-to-five years. And many Russians—with the help of European middle men—have found work-arounds. Katya told me that she recently discovered that she can now use SDEK, the courier service that Russian soldiers used to send home looted goods from Ukraine, to order clothes from her favorite departed retailer: H&M.
There is talk of more trouble on the horizon. Some economists and market watchers are predicting a severe contraction in the fall. The autumn, they say, is when the sanctions will really hit. But few people in Moscow believe them. In the spring, those same talking heads said that the full force of sanctions would descend on the Russian economy in the summer—but that hasn’t happened yet. They predicted that the coronavirus would destroy the Russian economy. Nor did that come to pass. “I don’t know what to believe,” a friend told me.

Even if the economy does collapse in the fall, it wouldn’t necessarily do much to Putin’s standing, which has only been strengthened domestically, both by the war and by Western sanctions. Even Katya, who has always hated Putin and attended opposition protests as long as I’ve known her, is angry more at the “hypocrisy” of Western corporations and governments. She believes that their responses have only buttressed Putin’s power. “Whom do these sanctions really hurt, anyway?” Katya asked indignantly as she lit a slender cigarette. “Does Putin go to IKEA and H&M? No, it all hurts ordinary people.”

Another friend, a European who has been living in Moscow for more than a decade, explained the resilience of Russians to me this way: unlike Americans, Russians don’t expect things to get better and better. And when things inevitably get worse, Russians are neither surprised nor furious. They had always expected as much. “Russians can live in a five star hotel one day and under a bridge the next day with no problem,” this friend said. “Because they’ve experienced everything in their lives and they know that they can have everything one day and lose everything the next. This is the majority.” He added, “And the person who knows this perfectly is Putin.”
That’s all for this week folks. Please be sure to check out our podcasts The Town and The Powers That Be. They really are great. I’ll see you here next Tuesday. In the meantime, good night. Tomorrow will be worse.

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Gizzyfan

Gizzyfan

It's a general statement to show how idiotic politicians are.. Talking about sanctions and embargos to


That a guess. And no China isn't moving to renewables. They are move to nuclear + RE.


India is also moving to nuclear. Because commentators here don't understand about energy security. Wind and solar are reliant on China mostly for components. China has been artificially suppressing the price of solar and batteries, just like Russia has with gas.
How are your renewables looking if pv and batteries go 5x in price. About as fucked as Germany is probably...

100% wind and solar is a myth believed by morons.
*Admins* can we have an energy policy thread??
Russian gas prices are high in the west because of the western markets. Russia pumps gas at a fixed price, when it gets to Europe it goes on a spot market, as there is a shortage because countries banned Russian gas the price went up. Don't quite know how they blame Russia for that, but they do do.
 
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Mr Frank White

Mr Frank White

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This today from Russian/Merkin Juilia Ioffee. She wrote some time agothat she would not be surpsied to see Putin last as long as Fidel Castro did in Cuba.

The Putin Apostates Come Home
If the West was counting on sanctions to create enough economic pain for the Russian population to rise up, sweep Putin from power, and end the war, they have been wildly unsuccessful. In fact, many conscientious objectors who at first fled the country are wending their way back home.
Like so many other Muscovites, Katya learned about the Russian invasion of Ukraine from an early morning text. “The war has started,” a friend wrote to her at 5 a.m. on February 24. Katya, whose name I have changed to protect her identity, had a full body response. She began to shake and hyperventilate and thought, for some reason, that the bombs were about to start falling on her home in Moscow. Her husband calmed her down enough for her to go back to sleep, but in the morning, the reality struck her with renewed force.

There were rumors that Vladimir Putin would close the country’s borders and implement a draft, and Katya’s phone was full of frantic messages from friends and family who were scrambling to flee Russia. She went to a nearby hipster cafe to get coffee, and every conversation she heard there was about how to get out. She went to see her parents. Her father took her by the hand and said, “You have to leave though it is possible we will never see each other again.” A friend living in America called Katya in tears, begging her to leave Russia because she was sure there was going to be a nuclear bomb dropped on Moscow.

Within days, Katya discovered that even the friends who had been saying they would never leave Russia were gone. “I was in a state of total panic,” Katya told me. “You were scared of absolutely everything. You feel like you’re flying in an airplane that’s being piloted by an insane terrorist. I had this feeling of being in a place where it was dangerous to be, a place that had stopped functioning according to any kind of reason or common sense, and I felt that I needed to get out of here, to a place that was safe.”

So Katya too decided to leave. She bought tickets for herself, her husband and their three children, cleaned out her phone of all her messaging and social media apps—there were reports that the F.S.B. was stopping people at the border to search for any evidence of dissent—and boarded a plane for Israel, joining the hundreds of thousands of people who fled Russia in the first two weeks of the war. Many of them were independent journalists who feared arrest under the Kremlin’s harsh new military censorship law. Others feared an even broader political crackdown on the opposition. Still others worried about being called up to fight in a war they vehemently opposed. And they all felt like the walls were closing in, that the system of authoritarianism that they had figured out how to live with had turned totalitarian overnight. They were all desperate to reach safer shores.
Katya had been building this lifeline, her life boat, since 2014, after Russia first invaded Crimea, and Russia was seized by a paroxysm of an aggressive, jingoist fever. Like hundreds of thousands of other liberal, globalized Russians, she realized that Putin had started Russia down a very different path and began the process of acquiring citizenship elsewhere, just in case she felt she needed to flee his madness. She settled on Israel because she and her family had Jewish roots and the process of getting a passport there was easier—and cheaper—than obtaining one somewhere in the European Union.

Katya and her family had visited Israel many times, but when they arrived in early March, they found that being immigrants was far different than being affluent tourists. The number of Israeli citizenship applications from Russians nearly doubled in 2014, and now all those lifeboats were coming ashore in Israel. Housing was scarce and expensive. Katya paid $3,000 cash for four days in a shabby, run-down apartment just as Visa and Mastercard announced that they were discontinuing service in Russia. Now Katya and her family were blocked from accessing their accounts, and were left with whatever cash they had managed to take out before the shutdown.

That quickly ran out, too. Life in Israel is expensive, especially when you have no access to money. Katya’s husband, a doctor, decided he would return to Moscow: he had patients who needed him and someone had to support the family. Suddenly, Katya was alone with three children whom she had yanked out of school. Neither she nor they spoke any Hebrew, and she couldn’t imagine sending them to local schools—nor did she have any idea how to even start the process. A new life began to take shape before her eyes and she was horrified by it. The lifeboat she had spent years building had brought her somewhere inhospitable and she realized that, no matter what, home was the big sinking ship that she had fled on this little raft.

So, in March, she decided to take her kids and move back to Moscow.
What she found was that Moscow—or Mordor, as she jokingly called it—hadn’t changed at all. Much has been written about the mass exodus of liberal Russians in the first weeks of their country’s invasion of Ukraine. They fled en masse to Yerevan, Tbilisi, Istanbul, Tel Aviv and Berlin, anywhere their legs could carry them and anywhere they had a valid visa.

But in the months since, as the conflict in Ukraine has settled into a grinding war of attrition, thousands of these Russians have been quietly returning home. Some are returning temporarily, to tie up loose ends, like renting out an apartment or selling a car, or getting more cash out of the bank. If you can come back without fear of immediate arrest because you’ve learned to be careful on social media, it’s a good time to liquidate your assets. Real estate prices in Russia are booming because there’s nothing else to invest in. Used cars are selling for the price of new ones because the import of foreign cars has stopped.

But many others, like Katya, are coming back for good. “This is my home,” Katya told me defiantly on a Zoom from her Moscow kitchen, which she had just finished renovating before the war broke out. “And not just this apartment, but this city. I love this city. This is my home. My parents live here, so do my friends. Why should I leave?”

Moreover, much of the urban population’s initial worst fears didn’t come to pass. No national draft was announced, the country’s borders weren’t closed, and life, at least in the capital, continues on as normal. “I don’t know how Putin has managed to make it so that there’s no war in Moscow and St. Petersburg, but he has,” one friend told me recently. “My world has been totally destroyed and when I think about it, I want to cry. And then I go outside, and it’s a glorious Moscow summer. The cafés are full, the sun is shining, there’s music playing. It’s like there’s no war.”Another friend told me, “Moscow is just like it is every other day. If you don’t know what the huge Z on a building in the center means, you’d never understand what’s going on. Because life is going on as usual. Restaurants are fully booked. It’s impossible to get a taxi on a Monday night.”

“Everyday life goes on as before,” another Moscow friend, who has stayed put the entire time, told me ruefully. “The war is only on TV."

If the West was counting on sanctions to create enough economic pain for the Russian population to rise up, sweep Putin from power, and end the war, they have, so far, been wildly unsuccessful. Putin has managed to maintain a surreal sense of normalcy in Russia, at least in the big cities. My friends’ unanimous descriptions of a city untouched by a gruesome war their government is waging just a few hours to the south, reminded me of America during the years of Iraq and Afghanistan, when, for most city elites, the wars also existed only on TV. And as long as Putin can shield his population from the geopolitical and economic fallout from the war he started, he can stay in power—and wage war in Ukraine—as long as he has enough men and supplies to do so.

For now, he has succeeded. Prices have risen somewhat, but the ruble is stronger than it has been in years and the stores are still full. There is food on the shelves and, as one female friend noted archly, the make-up emporia are still filled to the gills. What shortages there are affect only the people who never liked Putin much to begin with. There’s no more Apple Pay in Moscow, one of the first cities in the world to adopt it nearly universally. Now Muscovites have to walk around with wads of cash. But it’s a minor inconvenience that won’t send people out into the streets. There are fewer Spanish and Italian red wines in the stores, one friend noted sadly, “but how many customers are there like me? Most of the population drinks vodka.”

Others have complained on social media that, due to E.U. countries closing their airspace to Russian planes, it is much harder to fly to Europe or even Turkey. Tickets are exorbitantly priced and flight times are much longer: now a flight from Moscow to Italy requires an overnight stop in Dubai. “I’ve suffered from the sanctions because Russian planes don’t fly to the U.S. anymore,” the wine connoisseur friend told me. “But how many people does this affect? How many Russians used to regularly fly to Europe? Twenty percent? The rest haven’t gone anywhere before and won’t go anywhere now.” In the wake of these closures, domestic Russian tourism has boomed. Crimea is an especially popular destination—if you can find a ticket.

And though Moscow’s white-collar class misses their Apple stores and their Marks & Spencer, there are already rumors that many Western brands are planning on returning to the Russian market. Several people told me about a post on Telegram that Zara and Massimo Dutti, two Spanish brands beloved by Muscovites and which closed up shop right after the invasion, will reopen this summer. Retail employees at the luxury fashion houses like Prada are still receiving salaries and telling their friends that their bosses promise a return to Russia in the near future. Many of the contracts drawn up by Western firms selling their Russian property to locals apparently include clauses allowing them to re-buy and re-enter the Russian market in four-to-five years. And many Russians—with the help of European middle men—have found work-arounds. Katya told me that she recently discovered that she can now use SDEK, the courier service that Russian soldiers used to send home looted goods from Ukraine, to order clothes from her favorite departed retailer: H&M.
There is talk of more trouble on the horizon. Some economists and market watchers are predicting a severe contraction in the fall. The autumn, they say, is when the sanctions will really hit. But few people in Moscow believe them. In the spring, those same talking heads said that the full force of sanctions would descend on the Russian economy in the summer—but that hasn’t happened yet. They predicted that the coronavirus would destroy the Russian economy. Nor did that come to pass. “I don’t know what to believe,” a friend told me.

Even if the economy does collapse in the fall, it wouldn’t necessarily do much to Putin’s standing, which has only been strengthened domestically, both by the war and by Western sanctions. Even Katya, who has always hated Putin and attended opposition protests as long as I’ve known her, is angry more at the “hypocrisy” of Western corporations and governments. She believes that their responses have only buttressed Putin’s power. “Whom do these sanctions really hurt, anyway?” Katya asked indignantly as she lit a slender cigarette. “Does Putin go to IKEA and H&M? No, it all hurts ordinary people.”

Another friend, a European who has been living in Moscow for more than a decade, explained the resilience of Russians to me this way: unlike Americans, Russians don’t expect things to get better and better. And when things inevitably get worse, Russians are neither surprised nor furious. They had always expected as much. “Russians can live in a five star hotel one day and under a bridge the next day with no problem,” this friend said. “Because they’ve experienced everything in their lives and they know that they can have everything one day and lose everything the next. This is the majority.” He added, “And the person who knows this perfectly is Putin.”
That’s all for this week folks. Please be sure to check out our podcasts The Town and The Powers That Be. They really are great. I’ll see you here next Tuesday. In the meantime, good night. Tomorrow will be worse.

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Fuck me. You've flipped flopped all over the place Bruce.

Russia was losing
Sanctions hurting
Putin getting removed

Now he's a dictator for life 🤣🤣🤣
 
  • Haha
Reactions: 1 user
Mr Frank White

Mr Frank White

Contributor
Russian gas prices are high in the west because of the western markets. Russia pumps gas at a fixed price, when it gets to Europe it goes on a spot market, as there is a shortage because countries banned Russian gas the price went up. Don't quite know how they blame Russia for that, but they do do.
I follow the energy markets after the reading a few good pieces a while back.
Opened my eyes big big.