Ladies Can

Spain’s leftist party “Together We, Ladies, Can” (seriously, it’s the name, look it up) is saying that the way to stop Putin is “through a dialogue.” I want to poke my eyes out to avoid seeing the Spanish language debased like that.

Remember when Spaniards were neither idiots nor pussies?

Reading Recommendations

I have found a single conservative media personality/ pundit / talking head who isn’t a total shit on the subject of Russia’s war with Ukraine. And it’s Sean Hannity, for my sins. Does anybody know of at least a couple others?

I’m not expecting profound insight but at least somebody who can abstain from the “moral panic / fake news / emotional manipulation / they are trying to get us into a war with Russia” type of thing. I’ve heard it so many times that it reminds me of how the Democrats were repeating “we have to reimagine policing” as if on cue for weeks.

Orthodox Church in the USSR

To distract myself a little, I want to tell you about the history of the Orthodox Church in the USSR which explains why, after converting at age 8, I didn’t become baptized until 2018.

Stalin was anti-church until 1941. Not as much as Lenin, who was completely rabid, but still a lot. But when Nazis invaded, Stalin decided to use everything possible to motivate people to fight. For instance, he permitted a small amount of nationalism in the republics, especially in Ukraine because it was particularly heavily hit. He also decided to permit a small dose of religion.

Stalin called in the Patriarch and proposed a deal. Some of the church buildings would be allowed to hold services. They’d not be molested. Even a few small processions with crosses would be allowed. In return, the priests would break the seal of confession and inform on their parishioners. Lists of parishioners would be handed over to the KGB because anybody who wanted to visit a church was by default suspicious.

Many brave priests refused. They were murdered, persecuted, sent to the camps, tortured in madhouses. Some managed to worship and hold services in secret. But the official church was comprised solely of KGB informants.

I had an opportunity to observe how it all worked with my own eyes. One of my closest school friends was from a practicing Orthodox family. Obviously, this was a closely held secret. She never told me or anyone else.

One day, the literature teacher drags this poor kid in front of the classroom and proceeds to mock and humiliate her. Turns out the teacher’s dad was a KGB officer who curated the church. He was informed that not only did my friend’s parents go to the services, they even – oh, horror – had their kids sing in the choir.

The literature teacher really went to town on my friend. This was a tiny, scrawny kid in ill-fitting clothes. Underfed and terrified. (They were religious, so had many kids and not enough food.) We were all terrified and confused. We had no idea why the teacher was screaming or what was so bad about singing in the choir. We all sang in the school choir, and it was incomprehensible why the teacher would get so mad.

After the USSR fell apart, everybody expected the KGB church to go away or at least do penance for these crimes. We expected that the heroic catacomb priests would be allowed to take the place of the KGB priests and cleanse the church of this garbage.

This never happened. The KGB priests remained fully in control. It’s so bad that they rent out the banquet hall at the Cathedral of Christ the Savior for oligarch orgies. Their main source of income is tobacco sales. You just can’t make it up.

The priest who baptized me here in Illinois is a convert to Orthodoxy. He told me about how he went to the seminary in Russia to get trained, and he was horrified. Had to move to a Bulgarian diocese because, while not perfect, it was better than any heir to the Soviet church.

Of course, seeing all of this put me off the idea of church attendance for a very long time.

Demotivated

We all remember them doing the same in the Donbass since 2014. Raping little girls, complete animals. Please tell me once more how demotivated and unwilling to be at war they are.

Stoicism

I’m Ukrainian, and everybody has found out these days what we are like. It’s easy to mistake our stoicism for indifference. This happened to me my whole life. We keep on keeping on, and when things get really bad, we make toilet jokes. And everybody thinks, “wow, she’s so cold, she doesn’t even care and just goes and talks about the midterm in a calm, mundane voice.” But how is it going to help if I wail and freak out publicly?

Happy Moms

Exactly. It’s either “you are lying” or “you deserve it anyway.” Don’t believe anybody who says Russian people don’t support the war. They are peeing themselves with delight.

When the corpses of Russian soldiers started streaming back into Russia in 2014, moms lined up for payouts and happily received them. Not a peep against the war from anybody.

People are naive and still don’t understand what they are dealing with here.

Feeling Unsafe

I’m also kind of stumped by the people who are going on and on about somebody somewhere reportedly canceling a cartoon with Russian characters.

Have you seen this?

Really? Cartoon characters?

Another group of morons is bleating that Russian speakers in North America are feeling “unsafe.” Seriously, if I never hear the word “unsafe” again, I’ll be very happy. Can we at least retire this COVID rhetoric when we talk about the war in Ukraine? Haven’t Ukrainians demonstrated how pathetic it is to “feel unsafe” over ridiculous stuff?

I was talking Russian on the phone in a store yesterday, and somebody gave me a dirty look. I didn’t “feel unsafe.” I was glad he knew and cared. I feel the same. N sent me a video of some Russian podcaster who is anti-war. I couldn’t watch more than 20 seconds. The accent, the concerned face. I started to heave.

I’ve read a mountain of posts by people in Ukraine who are under bombs. They don’t “feel unsafe.” They feel murderously angry and completely determined.