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To see a list of previous articles, enter “Ukraine” in the Search Box on the upper right, on The Trenchant Observer web site, and you will see a list in chronological order.
1) Mikhail Zygar, “Noch einer von Putins endlosen Kriegen, die in Vergessenheit geraten; Eine schreckliche Erkenntnis – nach 100 Tagen haben wir uns schon fast an den Krieg in der Ukraine gewöhnt. Noch eine kurze Weile, und viele werden ihn ganz vergessen haben, Der spiegel, den 5. Juni 2022 (13.08 Uhr);
2) Robyn Dixon, “As war drags on, weary Russians yearn for a return to normal life; They feel frustrated, depressed and no more able to change their bleak situation than change the weather, Washington Post, June 5, 2022 (1:00 a.m. EDT);
3) Javier G. Cuesta, “Las sanciones, una bomba de relojería capaz de descabalgar la economía rusa a partir del verano; Si no llega a un acuerdo que rebaje el castigo occidental, Moscú se enfrenta a una progresiva desindustrialización que irá mermando poco a poco sus niveles de riqueza y empleo, alertan los analistas,” El País, el 4 de junio 2022 (23:40 EDT);
4) “Ukraine War, May 29, 2022: Western resolve weakening, as Russia is winning; Public attention is waning,” The Trenchant Observer, May 29, 2022;
As we observed here on May 29, Western resolve appears to be weakening as public attention is waning, in the U.S., France and other European countries though not in Eastern Europe.
The war is getting old. NATO countries seem to have settled into a pattern of living with the “normalcy” of the war, which has not yet disrupted daily life greatly.
The initial sense of horror and outrage at the Russians’ brutality and systematic war crimes against civilians has given way to a kind of resignation, and a growing desire for an end to the war so people can get back to their normal lives.
Zygar, a long-time Russian journalist now living in Berlin, writes that life is still pretty normal for the middle class and the elite in Moscow, according to his friends who he tries to maintain contact with. His report must be taken with a grain of salt, however, because he left Russia shortly after the invasion and the information he gets from friends could be affected by concerns over surveillance.
Dixon, reporting from Riga, Latvia, paints a somewhat different picture in the Washington Post. She quotes people of varying views. Marina, 57, is a languge teacher who misses the life she had before. Dixon quotes her as follows,
Marina acknowledged that few Russians are opposed to the war and most are finding a way to “get by somehow.” But she added: “This ‘somehow’ is becoming boring. Most people got tired of it. I want to travel. Others want to be able to plan. We want to get back to our ordinary lives.”
Dixon quotes Denis Volkov of the independent polling agency Levada-Center:
(H)e said the latest polling for April showed almost half of Russians unconditionally support the war and about 30 percent support it with reservations, with 19 percent opposed. Many in focus groups saw it as an existential confrontation with the West, not Ukraine.“ People explain that a significant part of the world is against us and it’s only Putin who hopes to hold onto Russia, otherwise we would be eaten up completely. To them it is Russia that is defending itself,” he said.
Many reporters cite these polls from the “independent” Lavada Center, despite the fact that in an authoritarian state like Russia they are absolutely meaningless. No one in their right mind is going to tell a pollster, even meeting in person, what they really think about Putin or the war in Ukraine.
It is little short of shocking that a paper like the Washington Post continues to cite such poll results in its articles.
Cuesta puts these indivual opinions in context, citing experts and numbers in analyzing the impact of sanctions on Russia’s economy and its citizens. He reports that estimates are that the GDP will shrink between 8% and 30% this year, while inflation is expected to be 18-20%.
Because of lack of access to Western technology, Russia will undergo a process of de-industrialization, producing products of lower quality with older technology, Russian experts say. While unthinkable only months ago, Russia is now reportedly considering withdrawal from the World Trade Organization (WTO).
Russia had two to three months of reserves for parts and other inputs for manufacturing. These have now been exhausted. The impact of the economic sanctions is expected to hit hard in the third quarter, experts say.
Meanwhile, as the Ukraine war recedes in our consciousness, it continues in reality with no letup in sight.
Currently, Russia appears to be winning the battle in the Donbas, and has unchecked power to bomb and conduct missile attacks on Ukrainian cities at will.
NATO and the U.S. proceed on the assumption that by furnishing weapons to Ukraine they can avoid both direct engagement with Russian forces and the defeat of Ukraine.
Whether that assumption continues to hold, as Russia makes further advances on the ground and continues to shell civilian targets in cities as if it were shooting fish in a barrel, remains to be seen.
With the U.S. and NATO countries withholding weapons that might enable Ukraine to defend itself by attacking bases inside Russia from which missiles are being fired, and conditioning the transfer of long-range weapons to Ukraine on pledges they won’t be fired against targets in Russia, Ukraine is in effect defending itself with one hand tied behind its back.
Biden is so afraid of Putin that Putin feels empowered to threaten to fire missiles against more targets throughout Ukraine if the U.S. delivers longer-range artillery and MLRS rocket systems.
Think about that for a minute.
Putin clearly has established “escalation dominance”.
Biden, by publicly reassuring Putin NATO won’t cross Putin’s “red lines”, such as not attacking targets in Russia, has assumed a defensive posture in which the initiative will always be on Putin’s side.
Think of it.
Putin has invaded Ukraine in violation of the U.N. Charter and international law, is committing horrendous war crimes by shelling and firing missiles at civilian targets and cities in Ukraine, and is dictating to the U.S. and NATO what weapons and measures they can provide and Ukraine can use in exercise of the rights of individual and collective self-defense under international law and Article 51 of the U.N. Charter.
In the meantime, officials in NATO countries are showing divisions, as their populations are becoming bored and paying less attention to the war.
Forgetting how all their individual pilgrimages to Moscow to beg Putin not to invade Ukraine worked out, simply providing him with detailed information on their divisions, the prima donnas are now at it again, seeking to find some way to end the hostilities through their own individual initiatives.
One cannot imagine a worse way to try to negotiate with Putin.
What the West needs to do is to reel in all of these would-be peacemakers, and to talk to Putin in a single voice, in close coordination with Ukraine.
Meanwhile, citizens in the United States and other countries are losing interest in the war.
To prepare them for the future challenges and sacrifices that will come, if appeasement is to be avoided, strong leaders are needed.
Where they will come from is anyone’s guess.
The Trenchant Observer
Only force can stop Putin
“Ukraine War, April 5, 2022 (II): Force must be used to stop Putin,” The Trenchant Observer, April 5, 2922 .