The Psychology of an Isolated Russia | The New Yorker

“So this is the thing about authoritarian regimes. They’re terrible at everything. They can’t feed their people. They can’t provide security for their people … they only have to be good at one thing to survive. The suppression of alternatives. If they can deny political alternatives, if they can force all opposition into exile or prison, they can survive no matter how incompetent, no matter how corrupt, no matter how terrible they are.”

Addressing Putin’s Nuclear Threat: Thinking Like the Cold War KGB Officer That He Was

The unfortunate reality is that Putin can’t be stopped without significant costs, but allowing him to normalize the use of weapons of mass destruction would start the inevitable clock to a direct and possibly catastrophic US-Russian conflict. It is a strategy that could require yet further investment of American blood and treasure today in requiring Putin to face consequences designed to prevent a full-scale war and potential nuclear escalation, but costs that are necessary to preserve international peace and security in the long term.

Black Mirror for real

Yesterday morning kamikaze drones were attacking Kyiv. Sounds like the Terminator for real. Robotic death machines swarming into a city. I am sure there was a Black Mirror episode like this. But this is not a TV show. This is Kyiv and what Russia is doing, with Iran’s help, is pure evil. How many of these death drones are there? I assume they can just keep on making them. It is all insane. I understand that the Ukrainian military shot down about 80% of these flying nightmares.

“It’s 2022 and a member of the UN Security Council is launching waves of kamikaze drones at civilians in a European capital city.”

This modern story of good VS evil is playing out right in front of the eyes of the world. When will the pain be enough for the West to step up in the biggest possible way they can and help Ukraine put an end to the devil. How many people need to die before this happens? If Ukraine falls, which I do not believe will happen, then what kind of a world are we living in. A different world than we all knew. If Russia gets away with this nightmare then the world as we know it has become rotten to the point where nowhere will be cosy anymore. The stakes could not be higher. Ukraine is fighting for the world. Sadly, I don’t think most actually get this.

This clip below is from 2019. Leaving the Trump shit aside, America’s relationship with Ukraine is paramount.

“We could benefit from the experience of Ukrainians, not the other way round.”

“A free and prosperous Ukraine is important to the security of the Ukrainian people, the United States of America, and the rest of the world.”

Duke Nukem

Duke Nukem was a famous video game from way back then. It is no longer. I was never a gamer so my knowledge of gaming, and also, my grasp of Russia, are minimal. I don’t really care to know Russia. I was there 20 years ago once and visited its two main cities. It was a different time and Russia was a mystery to most. And now, they are a terrorist organization. I do know a fair amount about Ukraine though. It is a very different country to Russia despite the ignorance in the world about these two nations.

Putin will arrive at the the same place as this old game. He will be cancelled at some point. And the sooner the better.

My recent time in Kyiv

I had been writing this blog piece below over the past few weeks. Just reflecting and thinking. And also, simply dreaming. About being back in Kyiv and not having to wonder any more about when the war will end. I was going to put this blog piece out this week and then this morning Kyiv and other cities in Ukraine were attacked and it is very scary and incredibly sad. Makes this blog piece now all feel rather unreal, but this is the Kyiv I know and love. I believe Ukraine will heal and get stronger and be better than ever. The West needs to help Ukraine more. Russia is a pure terrorist state and if they get away with this war they will not stop. Further, their acts of evil will spur on North Korea and every other dictatorship. There is way more at stake here than just Ukraine. I am amazed how complacent the free world actually is. Help Ukraine now. No one is asking the West to send in soldiers or risk their lives, but the least they can do is give Ukraine what it needs to win this war. Ukraine is fighting for Europe and the democratic world.

Ukraine is not firing missiles at cities in Russia and killing innocent people there. But Russia does this constantly, and yet, they are a member of United Nations Security Council. I really don’t get it. I don’t get any of this. I don’t get why Mr. Zelensky has to beg for help. The West should be embracing Ukraine. They are doing the world’s dirty work.

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Last month I was in Kyiv. The journey to get there from George in South Africa was long and intense, but was worth it. Kyiv is a magical city. A well kept secret in the world. It was good to be back at the Nest and to see some of our friends. I got a bunch of important stuff sorted out and walked the streets as much as I could. I believe we will back in Kyiv by the time this coming winter ends.

There were many things I made notes of during this time. Things that were different. Stuff that I noticed. And of course, things that were the same. Like the spirit of the people and the love of the city. One thing that was still pretty similar was the traffic in the city center. But what I did not see were sports cars and bling mobiles. There were still enough Mercedes cars and Range Rovers, and mostly in the colour black, but nothing more exotic than that. I was told that either the nouveau riche with the flashy wheels all went abroad or they are simply too embarrassed to drive such cars now all things being considered. I would say about 1 out of 5 shops have closed and that the city was running at about 50% capacity. That is my gut feeling. I was told that a few months ago it felt like a ghost town so I was very encouraged to feel the buzz of the city while I was there. Life goes on.

Most of our favourite restaurants are still open and many of them were pretty busy. Not packed, but not quiet either. When I chatted to some of the waiters at JZL they told me it is not full like it used to be but that business was ok. Not great, but not a disaster. I took some new friends from CBS there for a bite one Sunday as well as an afternoon Kyiv tour, and it was a fantastic meal and a fun tour. Also, there are a bunch of new places that have opened up. Kyiv never stops amazing me.

There was an infectious positivity and optimism when I was there. You felt it everywhere you went. And there was an incredible consciousnesses and respect for those who were at the front, fighting the war. No one in Kyiv is taking anything for granted.

I had a brilliant cheeseburger in Lviv on route to Kyiv at a placed called Epic Cheeseburger. It was seriously off the charts good, and the place was rocking. When I told my friend Anton in Kyiv about this he said “we are living every day like it could be the last”. We both smiled and laughed. It was a kinda nervous laugh. There is war on the go, and things are far from normal, and yet, people find humour in everything in Ukraine, and life not only goes on, but it goes on like it does in Israel, with spirit and passion. I am back in South Africa now and I miss Kyiv.

At night you can see a noticeable difference. When you look out the window you don’t see any cars on the road after 11 pm and all the city lights are off all the time. The kitsch neon signs and high-tech high-rise building advertising that are a part of the Kyiv evening landscape are not lighting up the sky at present. They will be back on again I know, and will light up the sky like before. It is a unique city and the kitschness just somehow all works.

The exciting energy is Kyiv is hard to describe in words. And now, in the past few weeks, there is increased bravado, and razor sharp humour, unity like never before, innovation, and a whole lot more. One very important point: no one behaves like victims. A country at war, invaded by its insane neighbour, for no reason, and a nation that is positive and optimistic. Yes, there is a lot of pain still to come, but Ukraine will win this war, and they will rebuild. I miss the positive energy. Back in SA there is a negative vibe and there is no war here.

Here are some pics I took in the city center. These are some of the iconic historical places that make Kyiv what it is. And now, they have decommissioned war machines as an added attraction. Dark and haunting, and in some strange way, empowering. Life does go on indeed.

Some bridges are meant to be burned

The Internet has gone wild since the sun came up today with the memes and comments. Whoever would have thought that burning a bridge would get such an excited response. The news of the damaged Crimean bridge has everyone cheering in Ukraine, and here in Fancourt. Just incredible. The Bunster got in on the action too.

The Kerch bridge bombing this morning is HUGE. And Ukraine is a social media superpower. Within hours of the Crimean bridge attack, quality jokes are everywhere.

Male rage, lethargic politicians and compassion – new SA doccie ‘57’ unravels the complexities of crime

“The doccie confronts topics head-on and explores why male rage is so prevalent in South Africa, issues relating to patriarchy, the unemployment rate, poverty, and, of course, gender-based violence.

South Africa’s past, including apartheid and colonialism, is also focused on. So too are the country’s politicians who seem to lack the will to effectively fight crime. (State Capture, touched on in 57, clearly has something to do with that.)

Critical questions are asked. For example, if the government could act so swiftly when Covid numbers started spiking – enforcing lockdowns and getting vaccination stations up and running – why can’t it do the same when it comes to tackling different kinds of crime?

Clearly government is capable of driving processes affecting all residents – as demonstrated with its response to Covid – but in terms of crime, it seems to be at a loss.

Another issue 57 focuses on is policing, or, as is so often the case, the lack thereof. The topics it explores are heavy, but these are presented conversationally, so the subject matter doesn’t bog down the documentary or slow its pace.

While leaving one feeling overwhelmed at just how extensive crime is in this country, 57 manages to inspire hope.”