Now let me explain how Ukraine managed to break through the Russian front line so dramatically in a place where there are still 3 Russian soldiers for each Ukrainian.
Ukraine announced its counteroffensive, saying it was going to take place in the South, around Kherson.
“But how about Kharkiv?” people asked.
“No, it has to be in the South for now,” the Ukrainian command responded. “Kharkiv will have to wait.”
And yes, a slow counteroffensive did begin in the South. At the same time, Ukrainians were clearly massing troops near Kharkiv. Russians saw it. But they know that reality is nothing. Only words matter. If the counteroffensive identifies as a woman is said to be in the South, then it’s got to be in the South. Why would they believe their own lying eyes? So they moved all of their reserves to the South. 15 tactical battalions were moved away from Kharkiv.
“Aha!” said Ukrainians and went on a massive counteroffensive near Kharkiv.
There is another layer to the story. There is a third counteroffensive that Ukrainians have been preparing. This one is away from both Kherson and Kharkiv. It’s in the Donbass.
“We have no plans to go on the attack in the Donbass,” the Ukrainian command kept saying. “We will be way too busy around Kherson.” Of course, Russians stripped Donbass bare to send troops to Kherson. And guess what? They now feel very betrayed by reality in which Ukrainian troops have moved into the Donbass.
This is the most elegant way of proving that reality doesn’t care that much about what we say about it. Objective facts exist. Narratives should be modified to suit reality because reality won’t bend to accommodate the stories we tell ourselves about it.
OK, I know I need to calm down but I just have to share this. In the liberated territories, Ukrainian soldiers are tearing down a billboard sign saying “we are one and the same culture with Russia.” To their shock, they discover that what’s under the slogan is a poem by the great Ukrainian poet Taras Shevchenko that Russians had plastered over. The poem says, “fight your enemies and you’ll prevail. God is on your side. Truth and strength are on your side.”
“Fuuuck. . .” the Ukrainian soldiers say when they see it. “Glory to Ukraine!” It’s as if the greatest Ukrainian poet were speaking to them. Imagine how they must have felt and watch:
Christmas really came early this year. I hear rumors that the Gauleiter of Donetsk fled. This is still at the unverified rumors stage but only a few days ago it would have sounded insane while now… not so much.
Sorry for the avalanche of posting on a Saturday but our troops have entered Lisichansk and I’m riding a high.
I was stunned by this thread by a woman who decided to do all her Christmas shopping in Ukraine this year and recently received a package from Bucha:
🧵You asked so here’s a list, in no particular order, of Ukrainian brands that I’ve ordered from/shopped at over the last 10+ years. Some things I bought while in Ukraine, so do your own due diligence on shipping, import & remember things might take longer in a time of war 1/n https://t.co/RFM7IWKyyR
That’s the same Bucha that experienced one of the worst known genocides in this war. People already went back and are hard at work in their businesses. This is truly the only thing that Ukrainians ever wanted: to be left alone to live, work and create in peace.
I spent my whole childhood on the bus Kharkiv-Lisichansk. My father is Kharkiv and my mother is Lisichansk.
The names of these liberated towns and villages mean so much. It’s a coincidence that the Ukrainian counteroffensive is following the route of my childhood journeys but it adds a completely different layer of feeling for me.
Please take a moment today to celebrate the amazing victories of Ukrainian warriors.
Exactly. No certainty, no social trust, no institutions that have been time-tested and can be relied upon to work. Remind you of anything?
Also true. The scariest thing about Russia is that there’s no reality any more. Everything is whatever somebody claims it is. Russia is what happens when the insane idea that “a woman is anybody who identifies as a woman” is taken to its logical conclusion. It is what happens when people refuse to accept any limits on their capacity to remake the world by renaming it.
There’s also good stuff in the linked article about how “the global South” is pathetically subservient to the Russians when the Russians are openly hoping they’ll starve. As I keep saying, you can only blame “colonialism” for so long. If you are still in deep shit 200 years after achieving independence, it’s not the empire’s fault. You might just be a deadbeat.
Snyder understands the region like almost nobody else. If only he concentrated on what he knows and avoided trying to analyze US politics, he’d be priceless. Well, nobody is perfect.