Category Archives: Ukraine

For My Russian Readers

If the map in the right column is to be believed, I have eight recent Russian readers (representing under 0.2% of the total recent audience). As I understand Twitter is blocked in Russia, I’ve taken the liberty of hosting a copy of a video originally posted by this Tweet (crediting @ZelenskyyUa) [Warning: graphic scenes]:

Feel free to share.

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A Number I Can Grasp

The US is planning to send $13.6 billion in aid to Ukraine, about half of it military.

I like to divide federal spending by the number of US households (c. 130 million in 2021) to help me grasp what it means.

So that $13.6bn becomes $104.62 per US household. Of course that’s just an average as federal tax incidence is not uniform. Personally I’m happy to pitch in, but it’s easy for me to say that.

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Accountability, Perhaps

Accountability has rarely been a key feature of US politics (see, e.g. Kissinger, Henry), at least not in a sensible way (see, e.g. “Who Lost China?”).

But Priorities USA is trying to gin up some accountability with this pair of new videos:

There’s Off the Hook:

And there’s the even more blunt Chosen a Side :

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This Could Explain a Lot

Cathederal of Kyivan Cave Monastery

Dormition Cathedral of the Kyivan Cave Monastery. Kyiv, Ukraine — the holy site most coveted by the Russian Orthodox Church’s Ukrainian Branch

© 2017 Skelanard, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.

If, as multiple sources report, Russian President Putin has fallen under the spell of Rasputin Patriarch Kirill, the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, then perhaps a major motivation for the invasion is that the Russian Orthodox Church wishes to displace the growing Ukrainian Orthodox Church, which only achieved (or, if you prefer regained) its independence in 2019. As the NYT explains,

If Russia wins, the Ukrainian church is unlikely to survive inside Ukraine.

Prizes in the struggle include holy sites such as the Monastery of the Caves, a sprawling complex of churches in Kyiv overlooking the Dnieper River, whose golden onion domes were glistening in the sun on a recent afternoon as artillery shells exploded across the capital. In the caves, in grottos, lie the remains of the earliest saints of Slavic Orthodoxy, control over which would symbolize pre-eminence in this branch of Christianity.

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Good Tax Policy (Ukraine Edition)

Yours tax-free if you can get it out of the mud.

Bloomburg’s Matt Levine points us to the latest Ukrainian tax announcement: Feel free to capture Russian tanks tax-free:

Ukraine’s National Agency for the Protection against Corruption (NAPC) has declared that captured Russian tanks and other equipment are not subject to declaration.

“Have you captured a Russian tank or armored personnel carrier and are worried about how to declare it? Keep calm and continue to defend the Motherland! There is no need to declare the captured Russian tanks and other equipment, because the cost of this … does not exceed 100 living wages (UAH 248,100),” NAPC’s press service said.

Also, there is no need in this case to submit reports of significant changes in property status within 10 days.

“Speaking by the letter of the law, combat trophies are not subject to reflection in the declaration for the following reasons: they were acquired not as a result of the conclusion of any type of transaction, but in connection with the full-scale aggression of the Russian Federation on February 24, 2022 against the independent and sovereign Ukrainian state as a continuation the insidious attack of the Russian Federation on Ukraine launched in 2014. Thanks to the courage and victory of the defenders of the Ukrainian state, enemy military equipment usually comes to you already destroyed and disabled, which makes it impossible to evaluate it in accordance with the law On the valuation of property, property rights and professional valuation activities in Ukraine. Therefore, it is also impossible to find out how much such property costs,” the NACP said.

Wouldn’t want to discourage capturing tanks, would we?

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Wait for It

Hashish with Putin’s picture captured in northeast Syria in 2022 (via Middle east Eye)

Given the nature of the propaganda war around the real and tragic war in Ukraine, and given especially the bizzaro nature of President Putin’s televised ‘live’ (but really on tape) pre-war meeting with his nervous and bemused Security Council, I’ve been thinking it was only a matter of time before someone tried spreading a rumor that Putin had syphilis or something.

I was close: Comes now China Talk, a podcast and newsletter by Jordan Schneider, who describes himself as a China tech analyst at The Rhodium Group, host of Lawfare’s ChinaTalk Podcast, and a fellow at the Center for a New American Security.

The latest edition features Chris Miller, an Associate Professor at the Fletcher School at Tufts. While talking with Prof. Miller, Schneider says this,

Jordan Schneider: It wouldn’t surprise anyone right now if Putin was on drugs. No doctor is going to say he should cut back a little bit if Putin asks for sleeping pills.

…. Putin’s starting a world war apparently because the entire nation is ruled by drug addicts.

It would not surprise me at all if we end up finding out five or 10 years later that this is the case.


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