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Tense Putin

I was like “whaddayamean tensions? It’s all Putin, we’re cool over here, can he calm his tits for three seconds, all the tensions are on his end”. I tried to read up and here’s the pop version:

In 1991, the Soviet Union, which included Russia, Ukraine, and other countries was dissolved but Ukraine and Russia kept close ties.

In 2004 (and again in 2014 because it didn’t take the first time) there was a revolution in Ukraine where their pro-Russia leader was kicked out and replaced by a pro-EU, pro-US leader. Leaders of some states within Ukraine (but not everyone who lived there) declared continuing loyalty to the pro-Russia leader. Russia started their various wars and annexations of Ukraine states and regions at this point, including but not limited to Crimea.

As an analogy, it’d be as if Britain would first leave the EU in some sort of “brexit” and then everything be chill and good neighbors for 23 years and then they’d suddenly have a revolution and kick out their parlament (and their prime minister) and ban every politician and be like “We’re gonna join up in a military alliance with Saddam, North Korea, Erdogan, Darth Vader, and Sauron”. And Ireland and Scotland would be like “WTF? We want to remain in Europe”. That would be pretty tense.

Now, as far as I can tell, Yanukovych was a dictator and Putin is still a dictator. I trust his elections as far as I can throw Manhattan. Also he is a hater of gay and other awesomeness. None of the above is to defend this fucking saber rattling. I don’t think the EU is Vader or Sauron. I want peace and I have hope in Ukraine’s new “pro-west” leadership and I want Russia to chill out.

I’m just trying to understand it, not apologize for it or say that it’s right or OK.


Three seconds after wrapping up and posting this, Russia sent more troops to those regions. That’s messed up.

UN spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said:

The United Nations, in line with the relevant General Assembly resolutions, remains fully supportive of the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Ukraine, within its internationally recognized borders.

Of course

All this “tension” is just a flimsy excuse for the dictator Putin grabbing tons of land and resources.

Follow-up, early March

JBanana writes:

I’ve seen people suggest that cause of the invasion of Ukraine is that Biden did things, or the Ukrainian government did things, or that the Ukrainians are neo-Nazis. Whether those suggestions are true or false, the cause of the invasion is Putin ordering it. He had a choice, and he chose to have people killed.

Yeah! I don’t mean to suggest that the Ukrainian government did things to cause the invasion.

I wanted to know “what changed?” Why was there “tension”, and a “crisis” (and subsequently a horrific invasion)? Because Ukraine kicked out their dictator and that guy was Putin’s bro.

It’s weird what a dark mirror this is of the AANES vs Syria situation.

In both cases, some isolated regions in a country refuse to accept their government and they request help from other countries. Except in the case of AANES fighting Assad, Rojava is awesome fighting a genocidal dictator (and also fighting against Daesh), but in the case of the Donbas fighting Zelenskyy, they are propping up a dictator (or set of dictators: Putin and Yanukovych).

Given these two examples (we wanna support the AANES and Rojava as autonomous regions in one case, while we wanna recognize that Donbas is sus AF in the other case), it’s hard to set up some sort of universal policy or rule like some sorta jus gentiun / jus cogens interaction.

I once wrote:

When you subscribe to existentialist ethics, every choice is a choice. We can’t rely on a sacred text or a trolley problem math formula. We are responsible for every thing we do.


You’ve got to case-by-case these things. We are condemned to choose.

We can recognize Putin and Assad as criminals and oppressors. That’s a more important yardstick than some sort of heuristic or convention. The former is aligned with a breakout region (Donbas) and the latter in opposition to one (AANES).

So, in other words, it’s not an in-blanco support check for or against breakout regions. Instead, we need a nuanced assessment of human rights and policy.

(None of this is to overstate any kind of pro-Putin hegemony within the Donbas, or overstate any pro-Putin sentiment in Russia. That’s part of Putin’s propaganda apparatus.)

Follow up, early July

All pretense of “liberating” the region is pretty messed up, seeing the devastation of the very region.