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June 23, 2023 11:49 PM UTC

Weekend Open Thread

  • by: Colorado Pols

“It’s not wise to violate rules until you know how to observe them.”

–T. S. Eliot


35 thoughts on “Weekend Open Thread

  1. Undermining Putin is good. However, Prigozhin, the rebel leader, is the head of the Wagner mercenary group. Not a blow for democracy, yet.



    1. Exactly.  Prigozhin is a brutal murderer — sending tens of thousands of untrained prisoners to slaughter.  The rotted corpse of the Russian military, even if they overthrow Putin, is unlikely to have a leader rise among their ranks capable of  restoring freedom to Russians.

    2. The Russian Revolution in the LAST century had a confusing mix of forces, too. 

      McGill University has a wiki article"Russian Revolution of 1917" that quickly summarizes the highlights hereA hint of the complexity, with events AFTER the two Revolutions of 1917::

      The Russian Civil War, which broke out in 1918 shortly after the revolution, brought death and suffering to millions of people regardless of their political orientation. The war was fought mainly between the Red Army ("Reds"), consisting of radical communists and revolutionaries, and the "Whites" – the monarchists, conservatives, liberals and moderate socialists who opposed the drastic restructuring championed by the Bolsheviks. The Whites had backing from nations such as the UK, France, USA and Japan.

      Also during the Civil War, Nestor Makhno led a Ukrainian anarchist movement which generally cooperated with the Bolsheviks. However, a Bolshevik force under Mikhail Frunze destroyed the Makhnovist movement when the Makhnovists refused to merge into the Red Army. In addition, the so-called "Green Army" (nationalists and anarchists) played a secondary role in the war, mainly in Ukraine.

        It won't be "done" for quite awhile, whatever "it" is.

  2. As an armchair general, I have two thoughts:

    (1) Never interrupt your opponent when he is making a mistake.
    (2) Now might be a good time for the Russia Free Army to take Bolgorod.

    More seriously, Russian politics resembles a mafia. Replace the Don with another Don, but the fruits of the empire still flow to Moscow and St Petersburg. In other words, the wealth of Russia lies in natural resource extraction in Siberia and the Urals, and changing hats at the top will not change the basic structure.

    1. Kamil Galeev always has extremely interesting thoughts on Russia. (Twitter)

      They are orthogonal to what we normally read in the Western Press – i.e. he comes at the analysis from a different direction. Very well worth reading.

      For example:

      What is happening in Russia?

      The mutiny is real. It is also unlikely to succeed. Most probable outcome is:

      1. The mutiny fails
      2. The regime stands (for a few months)
      3. Upon its suppression, regime becomes increasingly dysfunctional -> falls

      In other words, Kornilov putsch

      Now who is Prigozhin? He is first and foremost a junior member of the St Petersburg gang. With the rise of Putin, the gang members rose very high. Still, the initial status in the gang matters

      Prigozhin wasn’t a Putin’s man. He was a Rotenberg’s man. The vassal of a vassal.

    1. Precisely!  Russian military leaders are probably in disarray and wondering which side is more likely to not cost them their life.  Their soldiers in Crimea are probably also looking for a good reason to return home and might simply throw down their arms in the face of advancing Ukranian soldiers. 

      Given how little resistance Prigozhin seems to be meeting in his march to Moscow, the enlisted troops in the regular army are unlikely to sacrifice their lives for a war of choice foisted upon them by a discredited and corrupt leader.

  3. If this is the end for Vlad & Co., to where do they flee? My guess would be China. Apparently even Putin's sock puppet, Belarus (not Tucker Carlson), is starting to put some distance between it and his regime. 

    1. Iran is ready to support whoever comes out on top and keeps the money coming:

      In a short statement from Iran, an ally of Russia, Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kanaani called what is unfolding in Russia “an internal issue” for the country. Iran “supports the rule of law in the Russian Federation,” he said in a statement posted by the Iranian foreign ministry.



  4. Just in from Natasha Bertrand on Twitter. I find her credible, assuming this tweet is really from her and she has the right info, etc., etc.

    Wagner boss Yevgeny Prigozhin published a new audio recording Saturday claiming he was turning his forces around from a march toward Moscow, as the Belarusian government claimed President Lukashenko had reached a deal with Wagner boss to halt the march of his forces on Moscow.

    1. That is on CNN, too.

      But the question is:  how do they move forward and pretend that the past 24 hours never happened? Neither of these guys looks like the type who will forgive and forget.

      If I were Prigozhin, I would avoid standing near windows as well as being around folks with plutonium-laced umbrella tips.

      1. My go-to quote on military process comes from the esteemed Bluto: "Over? Nothing is over until we decide it is!" Guessing actual news on this situation will be interesting to follow for the foreseeable future. 

        1. Don't forget the other big player in Russia, Ramzan Kadyrov, the Chechen warlord. News today is he's moving his fighters against the Wagner mercenaries, in defense of Putin.

          1. Definitely not claiming to know a lot about Russia or the current situation, beyond random reports. Still, this made me think of a few lines from Yeats' poem The Second Coming:

            Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;

            Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world…

          2. Kadyrov is a "Tik-tok Warrior". 

            He likes to pose for the cameras in random safe locations. He has never actually become involved anywhere close to the fighting.

            1. So, he's a Uniform Queen? (Likes to dress up and pretend but that's about it.)

              Sorry, I just got home from Pride.

  5. It may be money was found to pay off Prigozhin. It’s another chapter in Russia’s version of How the World Turns. Go back to the days of the Muscovy Princes and realize not much changes over the centuries in Russia, where freedom has never existed and likely won’t. The people have experience only with autocrats and have the capability of enduring enormous suffering.

  6. Despite the tragedy that was the submersible's implosion and the farce that has been the latest Russian Revolution, one nice thing about the past few days has been the absence from the news cycles of You-Know-Who.

  7. EJ Dionne wants to know: 

    Will the GOP learn anything from the Trump-Boebert-Greene follies? [gift link – no $$]

    Not lots of new content — but the pundit does explain "If GOP rank-and-filers are so far out of line with middle-of-the road opinion, the party’s future is grim."

    The Boebert episode fits right in:

    McCarthy wanted to protect the 18 House Republicans who represent districts Joe Biden carried in 2020 from having to vote on impeaching him for, well, nothing really.

    But Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) was determined to get a leg up on her ultra-right rival, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), who had prepared her own articles of impeachment. The country got a glimpse of the radical right in disarray as Greene called Boebert a “little b—-” for her alleged act of plagiarism — and for striking first. (And we’re supposed to think this is about principle?)

    Eventually, McCarthy convinced Republicans to refer the impeachment articles to two House committees rather than acting on them directly, but this still forced vulnerable Republicans to cast a vote that started the impeachment process. This is unlikely to go down well with moderate voters who recoil from Boebert-Greene Republicanism.

    1. Yes, thank you for that link. Dionne is one of three Post columnists that I like; also Eugene Robinson and common sense conservative Jennifer Rubin. 

  8. Mike Littwin for the kill:

    Greene — who split with Boebert by siding with Kevin McCarthy when Boebert was trying to derail his bid to become speaker — called her a “copycat” as well as the B-word. When asked about it, Boebert replied that she was no longer in middle school. (And, yes, she did go all the way through middle school.)

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