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As I noted yesterday, I spent some time listening to Vladimir’s speech and digesting it. To be honest, I also was looking for/waiting for some other things I suspected might be coming.
Meantime, it was also amusing to watch some of the very predictable coverage of the speech. The alarmists/click-baiters fastened onto his comment about this being the most dangerous decade since the end of WWII, predictably. More on that topic in a moment. Those who missed a lot of message and context referred to the speech as “boring” or “deluded.”
On the surface, the speech was predicable, plodding in some respects though it appeared Vladimir went off-script in a few places (interesting in it’s own right) based on the translator’s reactions. On the surface, yet another recitation of the justifications for Russkiy Mir and the subsequent invasion. I’d say that at least 95% of the canned speech was aimed at the internal audience, though if it reached useful idiots abroad, great. I’d say less than 5% was aimed at the non-Russian audience.
From an outside viewpoint, the majority of the speech could be described as delusional. In fact, after a couple of points, I noted on social media that I could have sworn that I saw his nose grow. Yet, in terms of his intended audience, it was not delusional though it might be aimed in part at encouraging delusion on their part.
Between it and the parts of the Q&A I got to hear, the speech was a reminder of all that led to the creation of Russkiy Mir. Russia has always faced enemies, Russia and the Russian people have been done wrong time and time again, with outsiders (particularly the west and noticeably emphasized in the speech was Great Britain) treating both like Crystal Gale was done in so many of her songs. Russia has always been the victim, never the aggressor. Vladimir, that offspring of the working class, scion and defender of the Church, faith, and all that is good and right (note all the discussion of transgenderism, wokeness, and related), has been elevated not merely to defend Russia but to save and advance it.
Keep in mind the memetics of this (as well as the work of Gramsci and the huge amount of Gramscian damage in the West). Russia is a very different culture from our own. Always has been. To better understand that and the historical roots of same, please read Kamil Galeev on Twitter or the Threadreader App. Keep in mind that within that culture there is an ongoing fight between those who are Slavophile versus those who feel Russia should look to the West and adopt Western ideals. Right now, the Slavophile element is in control, and the last full leader of the Western view (such as he was), Gorbachev, is now dead and buried.
Logic and reason have a place in Russia, but not the pride of place it (allegedly) has here in the West. Mythology, if you will, can and does matter more in swaying public opinion. Just look at the recent assassination of the daughter of “Putin’s brain” or philosopher. That it was most likely (IMO) an FSB operation that really was intended to get him and her, but just getting her worked too within the politics of the day. Yet, it immediately became the tale of the virtuous Russian maiden, slain by treachery and deceit by a vile female Ukrainian Nazi. Full state funeral to emphasize the tale. How did it work? Outside of Russia, only a few useful idiots bought in. Inside Russia? Not as well as they would have liked. Reality, in the form of casualties and costs, limited the effect of the myth.
Which brings us back to the speech and the Q&A. Note how Vladimir started the speech, with discussion on ecology which he emphasized by noting that many might be surprised he started with it. That was something aimed at internal and external audiences, and many missed it. Instead of the normal lashing out at the West, Vladimir talked the need to conserve, preserve, and improve the environment large, and called out the small as well. In the entire speech, look at what was not said, not just what was said and in what order. The subtext to the speech was intended for several audiences, and I hope they were paying attention.
Ignoring some of the expected and predictable memetics, I will say Vladimir was not wrong about this being the most dangerous decade since WWII. We are entering a period that has the potential to make the Cuban Missile Crisis and other close calls of the Cold War look like child’s play. The old order, and old major powers, are failing. The Ukraine has ended Russia’s hold on the status of major military power, and exposed the rotten core within. China’s desperation may yet lead it to try to invade Taiwan, but even as it prepares to do so, it too is stumbling. In the West, the so-called rule of experts that hit its peak after WWII is falling. Anyone who thinks any power, or those who have wielded power for so long, are going to give that up easily and willfully is deluded. Given nuclear weapons and more, I’d say the case can be made that we are entering the most dangerous decade in the known history of humanity. It is not going to be a fun or easy ride, no matter what.
Again, note what he didn’t say in the speech. There was effectively no bluff, no threats, even almost an avoidance of direct talk of the war. It was not truly brought up until the Q&A. Now that got interesting, and again much of this was aimed internal, not external (save to useful idiots). The idea that Vladimir and Russia have NEVER threatened use, only hinted, was part of a well-laid campaign. Note how he brought up the threats from the British, which is going to play well in some quarters. The Slavophile dislike of the Brits showed through, just as it has throughout the invasion. Worth noting that they’ve gone after Great Britain more than they have the U.S. by a good margin. Leaving aside the hapless Truss, Vladimir was almost gentle in pointing out the threats of Biden. Which, given that the demented meat puppet and his incompetent Regency have chewed their shoes with their feet still in them almost continuously, is something.
Not sure what it says that I laughed along with Vladimir at the Khruschev comparison, but again note what wasn’t said along with what was said. No direct threats, though he invited all to read Russian doctrine on nukes. An emphasis on the threats incoming. The dirty bomb and nuclear plant discussions were interesting. Much wasn’t said, and how it wasn’t said was interesting indeed.
Which is why I was unsurprised to read this. Is it an opening? Maybe. Between the speech and a variety of reports I suspect that if a graceful way can be found to take the nuclear serpent off the table, though not out of the room, there would be interest in so doing. The question is if what it would take to do so is something everyone would be willing to do. It also depends on various leaders having the sense and counsel to realize an opening is there and not suffer the usual hoof and mouth disease.
Are we in any way, shape, or form out of the woods? Fuck no! At best we might have an opening to start discussing finding a way out of the woods. Are the Russians continuing with their pathetic (by outside standards) attempts at maskirova via dirty bomb? Yes. The fact that no one outside of Russia is really buying it doesn’t matter, that is aimed internal far more than external. Is the use of nukes, chemical, and other still a part of Russian doctrine, the same doctrine Vladimir invited one and all to read? Yes. Which means it is still very much on the table.
The key on all for now is the Donbas. Vladimir made that very plain yesterday. From historical claims on up, the Donbas now is at the heart of the issue. Which is why I say that what Vladimir wants may not be acceptable to all. What is needed for “peace” was made very clear by Vladimir yesterday. Which means that on the one hand we may have an opening to standing down the nuclear viper, and conversely we are in even greater danger than before. Now we know for sure the physical location of the schwerpunkt, and have a better idea of the philosophical schwerpunkts in play.
And yes, despite yesterday’s speech I still think that if Vladimir can’t have the Donbas (and the whole Ukraine), he’s perfectly willing to ensure no one can. Formally, for all he seems to have provided an opening, no option was truly removed from the table.
Before I close, be sure to watch his hands and legs during the speech. Telling. It seemed to take more out of him that he wanted to let on. Excellent make up job, even better than normal. Hmmmm.
Between this and the diesel situation (along with others) here, if you can, redouble your preparations, particularly food. Please hit my fundraiser so I can pay bills and do so as well. Stock up, hunker down, and let’s pray for the best.
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