Russia is a bleak place, where women shrug at their sons and husbands heading to war because he drinks too much, there is no job, he will die anyway, but then he will earn money and the family will have benefits. A combination of hopeless poverty and a corrupt, uncaring oligarchy have created a historical culture of willful helplessness. Nothing will ever change, so why should anyone worry about it? And if the country’s leadership should lead them to slaughter, well is there anything more Russian than endless suffering?
It’s one thing, however, to send adult men to death or dismemberment. But you’d think Russians would, at the very least, protect their children, right?
In In Search of the Free Individual - The History of the Russian-Soviet Soul, Belarusian Nobel Prize-winner Svetlana Alexievich wrote that “the Russian soul is an enigma. We lived together in a country where we were taught to die beginning in childhood. We learned death and dying. We weren’t taught that humans are born for happiness, or love. It was drilled into us that humans exist in order to give of themselves, in order to burn, to sacrifice. We were taught to love people with weapons.”
This thread runs deep in the Russian media conversation. Here’s another one:
Both of those guys are within the range of military conscription. Weird how the propagandists are so happy to condemn others to death, while they sit comfortably secure in their little bubbles. Imagine the depravity of arguing that younger people should do the dying because 1) Russian society is so fucked that everyone above the age of 40 is a non-functioning alcoholic, and 2) Russia can save some rubles in survivor benefits.
Don’t look to the church for salvation from this bleak nihilism. Russian Orthodox priest Mikhail Vasilyev was asked on Russian TV whether he sympathized with mothers who had lost their children to the war.
“The Lord allowed every lady to give birth to many children,” said the priest. “And if she (every lady), according to him, will fulfill the commandment to be fruitful and multiply, then she will have many children, which in turn will lead to the fact that it will become easier for the mother to send one of her many sons to the front. It seems like one less - one more.”
“Just have more babies, and then you can sacrifice them to Putin’s war machine! What’s one less?” Such depraved indifference to life and suffering is unfathomable to me, and it’s coming from the church! I’m a non-believer, but if I’m wrong, this would be a fair response from the Almighty:
Hopefully, his mother had more kids, so, you know, one less. What does it matter?
Yesterday I wrote about the Battle of Pavlivka. Today, more video of the battle is circulating. Remember the Russian tank abandoned in the center of town, engine still running? We actually have drone video of the incident:
It was actually hit by an anti-tank rocket, and while the tank wasn’t fully incapacitated, the crew bailed anyway. Likely a wise course of action. You never know if the flames will reach the ammo storage bin, launching the turret into space. Instead, the flames put themselves out, and Ukraine now has (after some refurbishment) a relatively modern T-80BVM for their own use.
Here’s another video from the battle:
In this video, a squad of around 13 Russians, apparently under fire, take cover in a house right before a single artillery shell levels it. Under those brutal conditions, it’s easy to imagine Russia’s 155th Naval Infantry Brigade losing the 300 killed, injured, and missing soldiers they reported over four days. And amazingly, they were just one of three units taking part in the assault. Overall Russian casualties are likely to be two to three times that amount, explaining elevated Russian KIA claims in recent Ukrainian general staff reports.
The debacle has spilled into the internecine fight between the Russian Ministry of Defense and Wagner’s mercenaries. The Russian MoD responded to the open letter from the 155th Naval Infantry Brigade by claiming the unit had only lost 1% of its troops, Wagner’s Grey Zone Telegram channel posted this video in response with the simple caption, “Pavlovka—1%”
The video is a compilation of Russian losses during the assault. They are … extensive.
Check out yesterday’s update for more info on this battle, and how it’s reverberated around Russian Telegram.
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