Russia has wrought ‘a wall of lies, a sea of blood, and a swamp of corpses’

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Ukrainian forces celebrate the liberation of Lyman. Note the quality and fit of their gear.

On Russian TV, a guest claimed that Russia would need at least two months to regain the initiative. You see, Ukraine had begun its mobilization at the start of the war, he explained, so Russia was just lagging behind schedule. 

That is all laughable nonsense. Ukraine spent six to seven months equipping those reserves with Western gear (see picture above) and upgraded Soviet armor, and training them to effectively use those systems, oftentimes by American, Canadian, British, and other NATO professionals. Even back in March, Ukraine steadfastly maintained that those reserves wouldn’t be ready until late August or September, and they were right. The timeline was always “six months to get up to speed.” 

Russia doesn’t have modern equipment to equip these new call-ups. They don’t have competent military trainers to teach them proper tactics. Their existing doctrine is crap and has been systematically losing them the war. They don’t have experienced officers or NCOs to guide these fresh recruits under fire, and the ones they originally had sucked anyway. And two months is not enough time to put together a competent force, even if they had that much time to prepare. In reality, the fresh meat is sent to the front 0-2 weeks after mobilization. 

Yet mobilization itself has proven such a clusterfuck that even propagandists on state TV can’t ignore it. As pro-Russian Telegram powerhouse Rybar noted, stories of rank incompetence are now flooding Telegram. 

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Russian mobiks, location unspecified, recording an address to the public, saying they were abandoned, they are all sick, they were given weapons which are not registered anywhere, they have to buy their food, and there are mentally unstable people among them. pic.twitter.com/bfqrqduPv1

— Dmitri (@wartranslated) October 5, 2022

Conditions are so abysmal for many that they’re dying before even shipping to Ukraine. 

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Some mobilized Russians died even before getting to the frontlines, circumstances are unclear.

Some might die of frostbite because they were left to spend the night in the field 600 km away from home.

Those who voice their criticism are detained.

📹: @CurrentTimeTv pic.twitter.com/jDYECk7HBK

— Anton Gerashchenko (@Gerashchenko_en) October 5, 2022

While the mobilization burden is supposed to be shared equitably among all Russian regions, in reality, the more docile a region, the more men are rounded up. 

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2/ Each region is supposed to mobilise 1% of its total reserve, but according to Verstka up to 3-4% are to be mobilised in some regions. A Kremlin source quoted by Verstka says, “It depends on which region – protest or non-protest.”

— ChrisO (@ChrisO_wiki) October 5, 2022

That’s an interesting thread, so I encourage you to read it. But officials also prefer mobilizing from small villages, where they can eliminate any threat of protest by taking all the men at once, and no one seems to care much about recruiting healthy and fit men—it’s easier to grab those who are easiest to find. 

Meanwhile, continuing a running theme, no one should expect to actually get paid.

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1/ Mobilised men from Omsk are complaining that they are not being paid. The regional authorities have admitted they do not have enough money to pay them, according to reports. (Thanks to @altryne for the automatic translation) https://t.co/pMvFU0a6bR

— ChrisO (@ChrisO_wiki) October 5, 2022

Not getting paid is a feature, not a bug, of this Russian system. Why pay up front if many won’t be returning? If they have families and owe them cash, they can pretend their loved ones are “missing in action,” so nothing has to be paid out. It’s a reason Russia has never shown any interest in retrieving the bodies of their fallen. It would require them to pay out survivor benefits.

In this particular case, “The regional governor, Alexander Burkov, says he has a 12 billion ruble budget deficit: ‘We still don’t understand what we are going to pay salaries with. And, of course, this problem [with the lack of funds for lump sum payments] is very painful …’” If you’re wondering why the regional governor and not the Russian Ministry of Defense is paying for these mobilizations, the answer is because Moscow exists to bleed its provinces dry. It’s hard to pay for luxury yachts and dachas if the Muscovite and St. Petersburg elite actually have to bear the full costs of their war. 

Thing is, this clusterfuck of a mobilization is impossible to ignore or propagandize away.

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Top Russian propagandist Vladimir Solovyov is quite upset with how Putin’s “partial mobilization” is going and everything the supposed “superpower” is lacking. So much in this video, just watch. It fits right in with what I described in my latest article⤵️https://t.co/bgYMYZma24 pic.twitter.com/qk3qiUdkm3

— Julia Davis (@JuliaDavisNews) September 27, 2022

Even Vladimir Putin had to admit that “In the course of this mobilization, many questions are coming up, and all mistakes must be corrected and prevented from happening in the future.” Earlier today, Putin signed a decree that made “corrections” to the mobilization drive, including exempting students. As far as I could tell, none of those corrections included paying them, feeding them, or properly housing them. Certainly, there is no correction possible that would forge these poor saps into any kind of fighting force. They are doomed to serve as speed bumps to future Ukrainian advances, sacrificed to the god HIMARS.

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Russian state media has become a study of contrasts, a fight between something resembling the truth, and those insisting this is an existential fight for Russia’s very existence. Take a look at this guy:

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Russian MP Andrei Kartapolov, a former army general, says the Defence Ministry needs to stop lying in its daily updates on the war

“People are far from stupid. They can see that they’re not being told the truth” pic.twitter.com/xxz5hsp1gU

— Francis Scarr (@francis_scarr) October 5, 2022

He may be right that the Russian people aren’t stupid. There’s a reason why those with means got the hell out of Dodge. But they are certainly docile, because they’re taking the lies in stride. Heck, like #MAGA, they may prefer those lies, like the ones from this guy: 

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Crying Russian propagandist accused those who don’t want to die in Russia’s war of being “a zero, decay and garbage.” Despondent, he wept live on-air, urging others to join the battle, but didn’t express any desire to do so himself. More in my article ⤵️https://t.co/uhCtxy8Tz4 pic.twitter.com/s6u99PSAHO

— Julia Davis (@JuliaDavisNews) October 5, 2022

Meanwhile, Russia’s most popular TV and radio host, Vladimir Solovyov, has been in a deep funk all week.

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Top pro-Kremlin propagandist is despondent because of Russia’s defeats in Ukraine. He refuses to be cheered up even by Elon Musk’s insertion into the timeline of propaganda. Solovyov advocates for the restoration of the death penalty, because people refuse to shoot themselves. pic.twitter.com/sR7cpoAexU

— Julia Davis (@JuliaDavisNews) October 4, 2022

“Not so long ago we were stationed near Kyiv,“ Solovyov said. “and now we’re trying to straight up the frontline? Bravo.” Putin’s problem is that no one feels threatened by NATO (not even him, given how he emptied out Russian bases near Finland), or by Ukraine, or thinks their existence is in any way threatened by the West. They may love the talk about a “multi-polar world” in which Russia is a great power, but they were happy with their McDonalds and Nike stores. This? This is no longer their fight. 

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There was a story circulating that Russian torturers had pulled a Nazi and extracted gold teeth from civilian victims. The gruesome story was farfetched from the beginning. We didn’t touch it here at Daily Kos because, quite frankly, it didn’t seem logical that there were that many people with gold teeth in a single Ukrainian town. The math was off. 

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EXCLUSIVE @BILD: We spoke to local dentist Sergey in the village about this horror-photo: „The teeth look like the ones from my cabinet, my house was looted by russians. They come from people that I treated all these years. I took these teeth out.“ Story: https://t.co/nnIjHzvilN pic.twitter.com/c9S7X4XTnJ

— Paul Ronzheimer (@ronzheimer) October 5, 2022

That was literally one dentist’s lifetime of work. Weird to hold on those teeth, but people are weird. There are plenty of real Russian terrors to address, and no reason to invent new ones. At the very least, extraordinary claims require real evidence.  

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Speaking of being skeptical, this is both very cool, and very suspect. 

Ukraine has an “I want to live” project—a hotline promoted on Telegram and a website that encourages Russians to surrender to Ukrainian forces. Ukraine claims thousands have contacted the hotline to get further information on how to quit the war. The video above is supposedly one of those pre-arranged surrenders: The infantry fighting vehicle approaches with its gun pointed to the sky, a pair of white trousers serving as the surrender flag. Well-equipped, well-trained Ukrainian soldiers conduct a professional sweep and restrain the Russians. (In the past, Russians have ambushed Ukrainians by pretending to surrender.) 

This video is sweeping across Telegram, encouraging Russians to follow suit. But … is this real, or staged theater? A debate is raging across the internet, yet it doesn’t really matter. As propaganda, it’s A+ material. Meanwhile, I am starting to believe reports of mass Russian surrenders. There are a seemingly endless number of POW videos circulating online (here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here, for starters. There are literally dozens of such videos). This is my favorite: 

If you wonder why so many Russians are surrendering, look at this guy. He looks like he hasn’t eaten in days, and that whatever else might happen to him, he’ll at least be able to eat something. (Also, to come full circle, he was also never paid.)

If you’re wondering what the rules are about showing POWs like this, the Geneva Convention prohibits torture, medical experimentation, acts of violence, insults, and public curiosity. One of the videos I linked above show Ukrainians kicking a Russian POW, apparently mocking him for asking for something (what, I don’t know). That’s a war crime. How about the one where the Ukrainians are singing a patriotic song as Russians are lined up against a wall? Is that “insults”? Maybe. What about the poor guy eating his shawarma, with pictures of his wife in his wallet: Is that subjecting him to “public curiosity”? According to the International Red Cross, “public curiosity” is defined as any image that is publicly identifiable and doesn’t protect the prisoners’ “human dignity.” In the video above, they literally show his passport. 

I consider publishing and linking to this videos to be fair game because 1) they are not meant to demean them or rob them of their human dignity. In fact, I am more sympathetic to these Russians because of these videos. Most have no interest in being in Ukraine, and I’m relieved they didn’t lose their lives; 2) It illustrates a real facet of the war—there are lots of POWs despite Russian denials; 3) It shows that for the most part, Ukraine is treating them well, which will hopefully encourage more such surrenders. There’s currently a horrific video, a couple of days old, of Azerbaijani forces murdering a couple dozen Armenian prisoners of war. It’s important to highlight that this isn’t that war. And in the case of the mistreated Russian POW, it is imperative that we understand that Ukraine isn’t perfect, and that it must strive for that perfection if it hopes to encourage more such surrenders. 

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This is nerve-wracking: 

We see one destroyed Humvee in the video. Charging through a wall of Russian artillery is unfathomable bravery. Having to suffer through something like that when on the retreat has to be even worse: 

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1/ There’s dissatisfaction about Colonel General Gennady Zhidko being reappointed to command Russia’s Eastern Military District. One Telegram writer complains he and others created “a wall of lies … a sea of blood and a swamp of corpses”. Translation below (h/t @RALee85). ⬇️

— ChrisO (@ChrisO_wiki) October 5, 2022

I’m less interested in the in-the-weeds information about this colonel general, and more interested in the description: “A wall of lies, a sea of blood, and a swamp of corpses.” I’m stealing that for the title of this story. 

Thursday, Oct 6, 2022 · 12:25:38 AM +00:00

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kos

Oh this is getting interesting. 

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Interestingly, earlier today in Moscow police detained an employee of Prigozhin’s media group Patriot Aleksey Slobodenyuk who runs a network of telegram channels known for attacking Shoigu, Volodin and others. So a hot war among Russia’s elite is very much a reality at this point pic.twitter.com/rmAqDrPWE3

— Tadeusz Giczan (@TadeuszGiczan) October 5, 2022

Prigozhin is the CEO of Wagner mercenaries. I’ve seen the theory that the mobilized video with the train in the background was staged by Wagner to embarrass the Russian ministry of defense and Shoigu, specifically. It’s nowhere near conclusive—some Wagner patches among the troops. I’d have to know how popular Wagner is with the general population so that they might be “army surplus” style gear or swag fans would wear. Also, these soldiers got uniforms from somewhere. Could there be Wagner castoffs or surplus among them? But still, it’s quite curious. 





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