In the news today, from Ukrinform, Canada announces it will seize, and pursue the forfeiture of $26M belonging to the oligarch Abramovich. Canada is the first G7 country to pursue such a measure, and if approved, the assets will be given to Ukraine as part of their reconstruction compensation. Then they would only be short about about $999,974,000,000 according to recent estimates.

From the same site, there are numerous references to the meeting of Putin and Lukashenko in Belarus yesterday.  US and German monitors- and I am sure many other countries- are following the developments, but all indications from the Belarussian government are that the country “wants no part in Putin’s war”. With that said, Russia does have airfields in Belarus cleared for their use, has troops in the country, and has suggested working together against US and western sanctions.  There is also a report on the visit on Aljazeera.

I have just started reading Vladislav Zubok’s history of the Soviet collapse, aptly named “Collapse: The Fall of the Soviet Union.” The overall history is well know to everyone, or should be. The more unknown aspects such as the infighting, paranoia, ideological attacks, as well as the economic aspects and countless attempts at reform, creation of new governments, and in the end the chances that were had and lost because of fear, greed, and ignorance are disturbing. I can only summarise so much of the 500 pages, and suggest it be added to the reading list of anyone who wants to understand the historic and enduring disfunctionality of Russia/the USSR/the Russian Federation.  You can purchase Zubok’s Collapse at Yale University Press. Here is a book review from the London School of Economics.

There is one quote from the book that I must include. From the Russian philosopher Alexander Zinoviev, exiled from the USSR in the 1970’s, “You can create one thousand political parties in the Soviet Union, and all of them would degenerate into political mafias.” That fairly sums up Russia, no matter what it calls itself.

Russian combat losses as of today, from Ukrinform. The 100,000 deaths threshold is just a day or two away:

Russian combat losses in Ukraine as of 20 December, 2022

Russian combat losses as of 20 December, 2022



Where to begin this post… with so many thoughts bouncing around inside my head? How about the title, which somehow seems incorrect. Maybe so, but what is the “Russian Federation” but a rebranded Soviet Union, continuing the policies of Lenin and Stalin and repeating again and again the rhetoric almost word for word, along with the policies of the former Soviet Union. Rebranded, and more dangerous.

One piece of data is enough for today. During the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan in the 1980’s they lost near 15,000 troops to that war. In ten years- that is 3,650 days. As of today in Ukraine, after 242 days there are nearly 67,500 dead Russian troops.  The pathological despot that claims to be the leader of Russia seems to think that his country has an endless supply of canon fodder, in keeping with Russian history.  Another delusion of the madman.  A breaking point will come, and Putin’s throne will be upended.

Russian war dead as of 23 OCT 2022.

Russian war dead and material losses as of 23 OCT 2022.


Another day of war in Ukraine, and there is death on both sides. We must remember that this war is on two fronts: in Ukraine, on the ground, and in Russia, against Putin and his mafia state. Ukrainian soldiers and civilians stand strong, and have sworn to fight to the end. Meanwhile in Russia the war is just getting started. There are of course Russians who side against the war, against Putin, and against his authoritarian system. But there is not enough dissent- it needs to grow, and it must happen across the ranks, from the top down, and through the entire society- meaning in the government, the military, and the populace. The people of Russia must take a stand. While they have a history of living in fear, compliance, and resignation, the time has passed for that. The best way to characterise what will not work is to quote Solzhenitsyn, from The Gulag Archipelago:

Someday our descendants will describe our several generations as generations of driveling do-nothings. First we submissively allowed them to massacre us by the millions, and then with devoted concern we tended the murderers in their prosperous old age.

Moving on, according to a 28 March, 2022 article in Foreign Affairs entitled How the West Can Weaken Putin by Stephen E. Biegun and David J. Kramer, some 200,000 Russian troops have been deployed to Ukraine which amounts to about 70% of their available ground forces. The same article cites a NATO estimate that some 40,000 Russians have been killed, captured, wounded, or are missing. Those are high numbers, no matter how you look at them. I cannot help but wonder if the Russian people know about these figures, and if they do (which is unlikely) what do they think about them?

On a positive note, I have noticed recently in many of the articles I read that there has been a shift from speaking about if Putin will be removed, to just how and when he will fall.  No more “if.”


Russian combat losses as of 20 April, 2022

Russian combat losses as of 20 April, 2022