“Trusting the Plan” in the Russian World Is Life Threatening

Until the moment that Kherson withdrawal was suddenly announced on Russian state TV last week, the official line was that Russia would defend the city forever, but that residents should evacuate anyway due to some business with the nearby dam.

Well, what if you were someone who wasn’t worried about the dam, but you were satisfied that the Russian military would defend Kherson until the end of times as you were being actively told? In that case, you probably stayed.

And then you ended up like this:

Like this:

Or like this:

Or like this:

And these are just the cases publicized by the SBU or captured by Western media.

To be a Russian and to swallow official state truths “vaccination will be voluntary”, “war is unthinkable”, “mobilization is not on the agenda”, “we’re staying in Kherson forever” can be literally life-threatening. Critical thinking and distrust of the government is a skill that in the Russian World can be critical just to bare survival.

It is also quite absurd that for the longest time Moscow couldn’t articulate to the people what the war was for or aboutand then when it finally seemed to have figured out something moderately convincing and inspiring it lasted all of five seconds. — That’s how long it took for anyone who bought into it to the west side of the Dnieper to be unceremoniously stabbed in the back.

On September 30th Putin announced Kherson was now Russia and threw a big party in Moscow. 40 days later Russia was pulling out.

Great powers do have the tendency to ultimately betray the locals who take their side in a difficult and messy conflict. But that usually happens after 10 or 15 years of fighting. Putin’s Russia did it after 6 weeks. It was a jet-powered stab in the back.

People of Donbass started the war as second-class citizens of the Russian World, subject to a general mobilization while Russia wouldn’t even contribute serving conscripts to the joint war. The annexation to Russia was supposed to start slowly changing that, equalize their rights within the Russkiy Mir. Indeed at least Donbass students are now ordered demobilized since they’re exempt from partial mobilization in Russia.

But for pro-Russian Khersonians the annexation just further exposed how expendable they really were. They were told that they were formally Russia. And then they were told that this didn’t matter, that their piece of Russia alone the Russian military would not defend. Worse, they didn’t even get a honest, non-BS warning to get the hell out. They were lied to until the very last minute.

“We believe in our army and our victory” — Kherson

Rybar reporting on November 10:

As a result, according to the available information, there are about 70-100 thousand residents left in the city. But after the withdrawal of Russian troops was officially announced in the evening of November 9, many people began to evacuate.

Boats and ferries to the left bank from Kherson still operate, but they cannot deal with the flow of people wishing to evacuate. People are crossing by boat, private citizens charge 500 UAH ($13) per person, saving lives. There is a pontoon crossing, but it has a small capacity.

Authorities have announced that boats will operate until November 11, that is, tomorrow. [In fact there were no boats as the Ukrainians entered the next day.]

It can be assumed that Ukrainian armed forces will enter the city in the next few days (according to some reports, Ukrainian troops have already reached Chornobaivka, and recon groups are already in Kherson city). Not all of those who wished to evacuate will be able to do so.

How did this happen? For a long time, Russian authorities were proving that they’d come to Kherson for good, and would not leave. Even before November 9, there were contradictory statements about the readiness to fight for the city to the end. And now, we are where we are.

Many of those who are now trying to leave Kherson risk dying if they stay. This includes the members of commissions that organized the referendum, whose info was handed to Ukrainian authorities. They face up to 15 years in prison or simply death via “filtration measures”.

The ever-trusty “Putin guarantee”
“Kherson — Russian city”
Comments (13)
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  • Blackledge

    Excellent essay.

    It brings to mind the hundreds of thousands of Russians who fled mobilization for an uncertain life abroad. Why would anyone risk life or limb fighting on behalf of the Kremlin if they had some/any other option?

    • Estragon

      It’s amazing what an own goal this has turned out to be:

      1st, Putin wanted to prevent NATO from encroaching on Russia. Now, he’s going to get an over 1000km new border with NATO when Finland joins, and with Sweden, that will turn the Baltic into a NATO lake. 2nd, he wanted to “protect the people of Donbas.” The people of Donbas are now worse off than ever before. And 3rd, he wanted to prevent Ukraine becoming “a new anti-Russia.” Ukraine is now more anti-Russian than it’s ever been.

      Not to even mention the reputational damage caused by broken promises and shambolic military performance.

      • Blackledge

        It hadn’t occurred to me, the “own goal” aspect” but, as we are here on the eve of the World Cup, the phrase is apt. I need to remember that one.

        I confess to being in the pro-Russia camp from the outset, and I further admit that I fell for the tall tales told by RT, Russian MoD, “War Gonzo,” Dmitry Orlov, and many others. Now I see that it was Marko who was right from the start, and I was dead wrong. Misinformed and wrong.

        Seeing how the Kremlin carelessly sacrifices its own soldiers and Donbas civilians to Moloch as it has, seeing how Russian leaders in the liberated areas have been systematically assassinated one by one since 2014, and seeing the crass stupidity of the online Russian shills who assail any and every objective truth that doesn’t fit with their “muh based Putin” horse manure, I have lost all respect for Russia and for Russians. “Fool me once.”

        Thanks for the reply.

        • peterinanz

          “….it was Marko who was right from the start…”
          Up to a point. An important point, that is.
          He is still unable to see the necessity of regime change in Kremlin if one wishes to see any positive outcome of this debacle turning into tragedy for ordinary Russians.
          And even that is simply a first, little, step. Reforming that rotten society would be the real task.
          Don’t see it happening anytime soon.

  • Abraham Lincoln

    Why don’t you just put a Mossad logo on this website to make it official pro empire??

    • Dianthus

      Because he is much wiser then any Mossadie-clown out there 🙂

    • James the Second

      How ironic you use the name Abraham Lincoln, the centralizing and usurper champion and arguably the father of the American empire, the empire you accuse the author of this blog for supporting.

  • YakovKedmi

    Because Grand-Protector V.V., the scroundrel in the Kremlin, meant every word when he wrote:
    “I am confident that true sovereignty of Ukraine is possible only in partnership with Russia. Our spiritual, human and civilizational ties formed for centuries and have their origins in the same sources, they have been hardened by common trials, achievements and victories. Our kinship has been transmitted from generation to generation. It is in the hearts and the memory of people living in modern Russia and Ukraine, in the blood ties that unite millions of our families. Together we have always been and will be many times stronger and more successful. For we are one people.”
    —Actually, he only meant it where he wrote that Ukraine and the people in it, may only exist if it is under the firm control of the government in Moscow; as was the attitude of Grand Peter, Grand Katarina, Grand Suvorov, Grand Kaganovich.

    Ukrainian propaganda made an effort to track down who the left behind, abandoned Luhansk soldiers were:
    Turns out, the vocal ones in the video had been fighting against the Ukrainian Army since 2014. In September the Russians showed them Russian brotherly love and attachment.

    If the Swamp Creatures of Moskva treat the friendly Slavs in such fashion, what may sceptical Slavs expect ?

    A mockery of Margarita Simonyan, using fake subtitles:
    But is it really that far from what lurks in the heart of Margarita ? How does she really feel about Slavs not living in Moscow ?

  • James the Second

    “Critical thinking and distrust of the government is a skill that in ̶t̶h̶e̶ ̶R̶u̶s̶s̶i̶a̶n̶ ̶w̶o̶r̶l̶d̶ every corner of this world can be critical just to bare survival.”

  • The seventh column

    Very wise lesson, excelent warning.

  • VJCB

    Oh Russia Russia.. how could you? Are you mimicking the USA who beat a path out of Saigon in 75′ and left their Vietnamese ‘helpers’ to their fate? How wrong we were to think you were the last bastion of peace in a recklessly crumbling world.

  • emmanuelozon

    “Believing a word that comes out of the Kremlin could interfere with your bare survival.”

    Change “Kremlin” to Washington and what do you get?

  • The seventh column

    a true masterpiece.
    rolo we miss you, come back to life for russia’s sake.