26 hours into the war
Things are very quiet at 7:15 this Friday morning. No aircraft, no cars on the street I can hear, I don't hear the trains running. Of course no construction on the new metro bridge through our neighborhood. We still have light, telephones and Internet.
Oksana spent the day glued to the news. Most people can't stay away from in times of crisis. In my life the same thing is happened on the day Kennedy was assassinated, the day Princess Diana died and 911. I went shopping in the morning, inflated the tires on my bike because I think I will need it, and worked out on the exercise machine. I got a call from Gary in London about 7 o'clock bringing me fully up to date.
Oksana and Eddie had mentioned during the day that there were Russian helicopters on Air Force bases around Kyiv, and shooting from helicopters in Kharkiv and Mariupol. Helicopters are easy to take out with man-carried missiles. The fact that they were able to operate with impunity told the story. With no worries about aerial attack, the Russian tanks could simply advance along roads. They progressed amazingly quickly.
People from around the country reported them in front of their houses, across the street and so on. Russia possesses a great many. They weren't shooting at anything, just making sure that everybody knew they were there.
Gary told me that Ukrainian troops had surrendered in large numbers. Another friend Gary here in Ukraine called to say that Pres. Zelensky was offering to give a weapon to any man of any age willing to step up and defend the country. That sounds like desperation – like the Germans giving guns to sub teen boys in the last days of World War II. He and I agreed that you wouldn't want to use one if you got it, and you wouldn't want to be on the list of people that had them. We're keeping our heads down.
My opinion has been that Russia could conquer Ukraine easily. How easily, I was off by an order of magnitude. Judging from the quiet, it is all over after 24 hours.
What comes next? There is speculation about Russia's further targets. Word is that they sent armored columns down in Western Ukraine to cut off the retreat of the (super patriots fascists, right wing) who have been a constant thorn in Russia's side since Soviet days and were the backbone of the Ukrainian fighting forces in Donbass. That would be consistent with Putin's claim that they are going to "de-nazify" Ukraine.
There is also speculation that Russia wants to shut down the 11 United States sponsored biowarfare labs here in Ukraine. I've been reading quite a bit about them the last couple of months. The indications are that they are doing the same sort of work as Fort Dietrich and Wuhan. Some report that there have been outbreaks of strange diseases here in Ukraine. See dailyexpоse dot uk. At any rate, Ukraine has no need for such facilities.
The big question is what kind of government we will have. The answer is, whatever kind Russia wants. Russia will minimize its long-term problems to the extent that it is a popular government. Within the last month American sources of floated lists of people that the Russians might install. I thought it was fantasy. Perhaps not. The Yanukovych era pols listed would not be well received. Not that anybody's going to ask me, but I think that Putin would do well to keep Zelensky. He seems to be a pretty practical sort, 70% voted for him in the election, and without backbiting from the oligarchs he might be effective.
Putin's takeover of the Donbass and Crimea was a disaster for the economies of both. The fact that people lost their livelihoods made the Russians unpopular. I don't see anything terribly political about the major industrial sectors here in Ukraine. I hope that IT outsourcing and agriculture can proceed unimpeded.
The Russophiles here point to a cultural stability, perhaps illusory. Putin at least pays lip service to Christianity and traditional values. I would expect the Orthodox Church to continue to be strong, although maybe the Ukrainian branch will be pressured to rejoin the Russian branch. Such a move would seem to affect the church hierarchy a whole lot more than the ordinary worshipers. Orthodox Christianity, like Roman Catholicism in Latin America, is a rather passive affair. You just go to the church to listen to the music, repeat the memorized prayers, and listen to an occasional short sermon.
Oksana and I have gotten to know our neighbors pretty well over the last couple of years. She told me yesterday that they had formed a Viber group to stay in touch easily. Uncertain times such as these give rise to looting, home invasions and the like. I'm glad that we are off the beaten path and know each other. I have never subscribed to any of the private security outfits operating around here. I'm going to keep my eyes and ears open – that might be worth the money.
That's the news – or lack thereof – from Lake WeBeGone, where the strong men are glad that there are other strong men around, the good looking women can turn to useful domestic undertakings such as the vegetable gardens, and the children need to be kept busy with learning. We don't know what kind of world they will be entering, but they had better not go in ignorant.