A Ukrainian boy celebrates the liberation of his hometown in Kherson oblast

If this warfare was a long-running tv collection, we’d be within the off season, with writers writing new scripts, actors resting up, and the props division designing new units, gear, and costumes. Season 1 was the Battle of Kyiv. Season 2 was the grinding battle for the Donbas, ending with Russia’s seize of Severodonetsk and Lysychansk. Season 3 was Russian fruits at Izyum, and the liberation of Kharkiv Oblast. Season 4 was the liberation of Kherson. Now we surprise what the writers have in retailer for us within the coming season. Is it Melitopol? Northern Luhansk (Svatove and Starobilsk) in northeastern Ukraine? Extra Donbas carnage? 

Artillery is slamming into each side of the contact line, and fierce battles are occurring, however take a look at these two stories from Ukraine’s Common Employees. First, the same old rundown of Russian suicide assaults: 


With Kherson eliminated, and Ukraine answerable for most of Kharkiv oblast, Russia’s sputtering offensive operations are relegated to only the 2 Donbas oblasts of Luhansk and Donetsk. Nonetheless, that’s 5 assaults, so evaluate that to this:

One tank? Two armored personnel carriers? One artillery gun? Only one drone? The one quantity with any heft is the 330 claimed Russian lifeless, and even that’s far under numbers we’ve seen in latest weeks of 500-800 personnel and Russian tank losses within the dozens. We will in all probability assume these claims are are usually inflated, however the traits are nonetheless price monitoring—it made sense the Russia’s losses have been far increased throughout Ukraine’s Kherson counteroffensive, and now that it’s over, a single tank kill is logical. 

But Ukraine is repulsing assaults on these cities, and Ukraine did declare 330 Russian lifeless. That signifies that Russia is assaulting these villages with out a lot armor, utilizing human waves, marching them right into a wall of Ukrainian artillery.

What a wretched option to battle a warfare. There are tons of movies of massed Russian casualties on the outskirts of a few of these cities, and whereas I doubt my knowledge in sharing it, here’s two examples. Extraordinarily disturbing video, so click on with warning. I hyperlink solely to point out that I’m not exaggerating. There’s heaps extra video like that, with at the least one Ukrainian Telegram channel dedicated to the gore. I observe it, however I keep away from it. 

I can’t quantify it, however I’m actually seeing extra lifeless infantry movies. Going again to the seasons metaphor, the Battle of Kyiv was all about St. Javelin, with video after video of Javelin and NLAW anti-tank rockets slamming into Russian armor. Season 2 was principally artillery barrages and the primary movies of WWI-style trench warfare. Season 3 was kinda enjoyable—Kharkiv liberation movies, smiling babushkas, trampled Russian flags, changed with Ukrainian ones, and POWs. It was additionally the introduction of HIMARS/MLRS movies. Keep in mind HIMARS o’clock? Season 4, We have been again to tube artillery, however this time with precision-guided Excalibur shells systematically slamming into tanks, in addition to HIMARS taking out bridges and barges. And the spectacular Kerch bridge operation. 

Now it was clear folks have been dying in these movies, nevertheless it was sanitized, the carnage hidden from our view. What number of movies did we see of burnt out Russian automobiles with nary a Russian physique within the body? Now, it’s not possible to sanitize the outcomes of a human wave assault. However given the decimation of Russia’s armored fleet, that is all Russia appears to have left for offensive operations. And people lots of of hundreds of untrained mobiliks will stay a grotesque velocity bump in Ukraine efforts to liberate its lands. 

Anyway, issues aren’t actually quiet in Ukraine proper now. Artillery is loud. Individuals are dying. However there’s a particular lull as each side shift their Kherson armies to new places, and Ukraine waits for the ground to freeze

Keep in mind when Russia claimed they needed to invade Ukraine due to NATO, then it was as a result of they wanted to save lots of Russian-speakers from some undetermined risk, after which it was due to Nazis, after which a few weeks in the past it was due to Devil? 

Lastly, now we have some reality:


“Holy hatred” is correct—hatred that Ukraine had the gall to need independence from the dystopian hellhole that is Russia. They need Ukrainians to “freeze and decay” for the crime of standing by their president Volodymyr Zelenskyy. They even act shocked! Why aren’t the plenty rising up? Oh, it’s as a result of they’ll get gunned down! The projection is … breathtaking, as is their ridiculous notion that the Ukrainian folks will give up as a result of it’s too chilly. Sure, winter shall be exhausting, folks will undergo, many will die, however this isn’t new for any nation in Russia’s sphere of affect. Keep in mind, Stalin actually starved thousands and thousands in Ukraine in the course of the 1932-1933 Holodomor as a way to squelch the nation’s bid for independence. 

We have now even seen hatred in Russian cellphone intercepts from Ukraine, with troopers livid that Ukrainian requirements of residing are a lot increased than their very own. (And to be clear, Ukraine is among the many poorest nations in Europe. The bar was already low.)

It’s enjoyable, nonetheless, when nuggets of reality emerge from Russian state TV propaganda. 

It’s true! Russia has a rest room bowl downside. 

Multiple-fifth of Russian households don’t have entry to indoor plumbing, in keeping with official statistics obtained by the RBC information web site on Tuesday.

Russia leads the developed world with the worst sanitation document, in accordance to the London-based WaterAid NGO. A 2012 estimate citing official knowledge positioned the variety of Russians whose households are solely geared up with outhouses at 35 million, or roughly a quarter of the inhabitants.

Certain, Ukraine is leaning towards Europe and the West as a result of it presents an escape from Russian world. However … the West additionally guarantees the form of prosperity Russia doesn’t even fake to ship to its personal folks (apart from the oligarchs, after all). Evaluate Poland’s financial growth (25th of 45 in Europe), measured by per capita GDP, in comparison with Belarus (thirty sixth). They each began out in the identical place publish Soviet breakup.

The truth is, take a look at the underside of Europe’s per-capita GDP chart: Nearly all of them are a part of Russia’s sphere, or have been screwed by Serbia, additionally a part of Russia’s sphere: 


The truth is, there are Russian troops in Belarus, plus Armenia (41), Georgia (42), Moldova (44), and Ukraine (45). To stay in Russia’s sphere of affect means to stay an financial backwater. 

This has all the time been Russia’s largest PR downside—not their brutality and imperialism. The USA and Europe have their very own legacy of brutality and imperialism, but the world gravitates towards them as a result of ultimately, financial prosperity is extra engaging than shitting in a gap in an outhouse in the midst of winter. 

Russian dictator Vladimir Putin has tried to clarify that every one away by wrapping himself in the Russian Orthodox Church

“The battle for cultural supremacy is rising on the world stage,” in keeping with the assertion Putin signed Monday on Russia’s “humanitarian coverage” overseas. “Centuries of historical past have given Russia a wealthy cultural heritage and non secular potential that has put it in a novel place to efficiently unfold conventional Russian ethical and spiritual values.”

The decree requires the nation’s overseas coverage to counter what it phrases a marketing campaign to discredit Russia and its targets. It claims Russia is more and more seen overseas as a guardian of conventional ethical, social and household values towards what it describes as “the aggressive imposition of neoliberal views by various states.”

The pinnacle of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill (who additionally has an excellent yacht, similar to Jesus supposed), is in control of selling this anti-Western message, and homophobia anchors all of it:

For eight years, there have been efforts to destroy what exists within the Donbas. What exists within the Donbas is a rejection, a principled rejection of the so-called values that are actually being provided by those that lay declare to international domination. As we speak, there’s a sure take a look at for loyalty to that energy, a sure cross into that “comfortable” world, the world of extreme consumption, the world of illusory freedom. Have you learnt what that take a look at is? It’s quite simple but additionally horrific: it’s a homosexual parade. The demand to carry a homosexual parade is the truth is a take a look at for loyalty to that highly effective world, and we all know that if folks or international locations resist this demand, they’re excluded from that world and handled as alien.

Sound acquainted? There’s a purpose MAGA Republicans are so enchanted by Putin.

In the meantime, it is a factor that occurs within the Russian military: 


And that “extreme consumption” is such an evil, that Russian theft of Ukrainian washing machines is among the most pervasive memes of the warfare. Are “Russian values”  so devoid of humanity that they permit for the mass homicide and distress they’ve inflicted on Ukraine (and Georgia, Moldova, Chechnya, Syria, Chad, Libya, and so forth), and likewise on their very own folks, and even their own army

These aren’t “values” anybody is shopping for. Even Russians themselves could be comfortable to commerce their houses for one in the USA or France.