When I’m not posting up here, it’s generally because I’m busy doing other things, but recently, because I’ve been following the war in Ukraine with horror. Doom scrolling, if you will, but I find it amazing that Putin thinks this was a good idea. I know that it is not the purpose of this blog to debate the war in Ukraine – but on the other hand, it is hard to sit and watch as the largest country in Europe gets ten levels of hell blown out of them. How well do we think a New Zealand city would last with a bombardment like that, to which of course we are sitting ducks, having virtually no Navy, definitely no Airforce, and just a demoralised Army with 105 LAV, only some of which are working, and almost none of them with guns. I don’t think we have any tanks any more, do we? In Ukraine, their housing is made of bricks and precast concrete and is just smashed to smithereens – whereas ours is not even as strong as that, and is literally made of sticks of timber and some fluffy insulation. We wouldn’t last long.

Bombed apartment blocks in Mariupol

We get Spam all the time here, usually, and mainly from pornographers, and for the last couple of years it has all come from Russia. Often in Russian, and from an email address with a made-up name, but domain name ending in .ru – fairly easily caught and got rid of, but still, it seems that for the last few years, the Spam always come from Russia. One of the first things I noticed when the invasion of Ukraine started was that overnight, the steady flow of Spam stopped. No more Russian porn trolls sitting in their mother’s basement sending rubbish out to the world – perhaps they were conscripted and are now out there fighting in a tank regiment somewhere near Odessa.

Massed ranks of pink-faced servicemen / servicewomen ?

Just this weekend though some Spam started to arrive again – all in Russian again, but not showing any sign of being a link to a porn website. It is really interesting – it appears to be genuinely from some Russians, about the war. And not at all what I expected – have a read of this, first in Russian and secondly in a crude translation:

Российское руководство хочет всплошь отправить имеющихся солдат на погибель девятого мая месяца в напрасной войне противу Украины. При всем том в российской армии теперь тьма тьмущая военных, которые обязательно не выполняют беззаконные указания, тем самым сберегая собственной персоне жизнь.

“The Russian leadership wants to completely send the existing soldiers to their death on the ninth of May in a futile war against Ukraine. For all that, in the Russian army, there is now a darkness that torments the military, who do not necessarily follow lawless instructions, thereby saving their own lives.”

I wasn’t expecting that. It continues on – here is another posted message:

Российские солдатики выискали метод, каким способом совсем не учавствовать в несправедливой войне противу Украинской стороны и таким образом сохраняли для себя жизнь. Они сегодня стали подсыпать в керосин песочек и БТР в конце всего этого отнюдь не заводились.

“The Russian soldiers found a way to not participate at all in the unjust war against the Ukrainian side and thus saved their lives. Today they began to pour sand into the kerosene and the armored personnel carrier at the end of all this did not start at all.”

Is this believable? Does it ring true? Have the trolls turned into sad patriotic caring philosophers all of a sudden? You be the judge. I’ll finish here with one more:

Отдельные русские солдатики ,как минимум, давно поняли, собственно что их в совокупности используют, как живой щит, устремляя на огонь Украинской армии. Разумея дикость этой, несправедливой, касательно Украинского государства, войны, русские солдаты всеобще принялись отпираться проливать свою кровь. Именно тем именно они берегут собственной персоне жизнь и совсем не производят незаконных указов, за которые рф довелось бы заплатить срамом и потом презрением общего свободного мира.

“Separate Russian soldiers, at least, have long understood that they are used in aggregate as a human shield, rushing to the fire of the Ukrainian army. Understanding the savagery of this, unfair, concerning the Ukrainian state, war, Russian soldiers generally began to refuse to shed their blood. It is precisely by this that they protect their own lives and do not at all issue illegal decrees, for which the Russian Federation would have had to pay with shame and then contempt for the common free world.”

Russian servicemen ride military vehicles during the Victory Day military parade at Red Square in central Moscow on May 9, 2022. – Russia celebrates the 77th anniversary of the victory over Nazi Germany during World War II. (Photo by Alexander NEMENOV / AFP) (Photo by ALEXANDER NEMENOV/AFP via Getty Images)

You may also, like me, be wondering about the continued banging on by Putin about all the “Nazis” in the Ukraine. I though it was maybe just rhetoric, but they honestly really do believe there are many Nazis in Ukraine. Apparently even the Azovstal steel mill they are getting bombed to pieces in, is a key far-right nationalist stronghold. I have a friend in Slovakia who receives the Russian-controlled media and they echo this belief that Nazi are an active force within Ukraine. I have no idea, and it seems a little unlikely, but then again, who knew there were Jew-hating white supremacist Nazis in Charlottesville until President Rump permitted them to crawl out from the shadows? The issues with Nazis in Ukraine goes back a lot further than that though, with the blame seemingly being laid fairly on the shoulders of one guy named Stepan Bandera. Put simply, “Bandera was an antisemite, fascist and Nazi collaborator”, born in 1909 in what was then part of the Austria-Hungary empire and poisoned/killed by the KGB in 1959. He is still commemorated today – fresh flowers on his grave in Munich every year – and his ghost still rules the debate in the Ukraine to this day. Wikipedia notes that Ukrainian Nationalists like Bandera “saw Russians as well as Poles as the chief enemy with Jews playing a secondary role” – which shows the complex mixed up situation is quite possibly still playing out today. Bandera’s organisation killed many thousands of Jews, but eventually he was arrested by the Gestapo, despite him being a mini-Hitler himself. Although he sounds like a thoroughly horrible and odious little creep, sentenced to death from both the Russians and the Ukraine (puppet-state of Russia) and put in a concentration camp himself by the Germans, he is seen as one of the main proponents for a free nation state of Ukraine, having put into writing the Proclamation of a Ukrainian Statehood back in 1941. So, yes, he was a Nazi in the true sense of the word – a National Socialist – and the Ukraine government has not put a stop to any of his commemoration. They even issued a stamp with his name and photo on it in 2009, and in 2014 thousands marched in Kyiv to commemorate his 105th birthday. So, yes, by Putin’s standards, there is an active Nazi movement in Ukraine, even though it seems that most Ukrainians view Bandera in the same disliked status as Stalin (yes, I understand) and Gorbachev (who I thought was a great bloke). Russia-Ukrainian politics are a complex beast.

Victory Day Parade in Moscow, today.

In the mean time, while writing that, I’ve been listening to the live translated words of Putin at the Moscow Victory Parade – no flyover apparently “because of the weather” but I think we could probably happily read between the lines and understand that he really can’t spare the Airforce from its bombing of Ukraine right now, and also that maybe the flyover might look a little threadbare? Putin’s main gripe seems to be that the West was arming Ukraine and that was too close to his border – both of which are correct statements. Ukraine were also moving towards applying for NATO membership – although of course Putin’s actions have badly back-fired now and any friendship other countries had for him and his regime have evaporated over the last 65 days. It’s only his oil that the West wants / needs – Germany especially, as they have already closed down their nuclear power stations, relying just on solar, wind power, coal and burning oil and gas. He was claiming that he felt bullied into having to go in and save all the Russians in the Donbas:

Old blokes with more medals than they can shake their stick at.

“I address the servicemen of Donbas,” Putin said in the speech. “You are fighting for the motherland, for its future, so that lessons of World War Two are not forgotten,” he said, adding, “there is no place in history for the punitive divisions of Nazis…. “We bow our heads in the memory of our comrades in arms who died in the just struggle for Russia,”

just now…

Look – I’m no expert in Russia or Ukraine, although I know people from each country, and I do not profess to know anything really about the war – my friend in Slovakia tells me I am an idiot for believing the lies of the Western media, but will not accept the possibility that they too are getting fed lies from the other side. But I just thought that you might like to know a little more about this tragic, wasteful, puzzling, and ultimately totally pointless war. Normal transmission about architecture in Wellington will get resumed shortly….

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