2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine (Part 3)

German pundits on television have been pressing conspiracy theories all morning here.

Theory one: the CIA was behind it all!

The “reporters” kept asking the same question to different guests. Most of those interviewed swatted it down immediately, but it was revealing how the private news channels kept trying to push the narrative, despite being told again and again that it’s highly, highly unlikely the CIA was behind this.

Theory two: it was a loyalty test run by Putin himself!

I think this is what the Russians are going to claim, that the Wagner Group was testing the loyalty of various organizations, and once they proved their loyalty the drill was ended. “Er, yeah, I mean to do that.”

Theory three: let Wagner redeploy to Belarus and ambush Ukraine from there!

This assumes it was all a feint, a way to get a massive buildup of troops loyal to Putin that can pretend not to be interested in attacking, and then sweep over the border. At best decapitate Ukraine, at worst tie up Ukrainian military by protecting the flank.

My personal take

is that two and three will be used internally by the Russian state to make it look like they aren’t all complete fuckups, but my gut tells me Prigozhin was rash, realized just how risky his course was turning out, and Luka jumped at the chance to have Prigozhin protect him personally—from Putin—and still look loyal.


How many steps below Swan Lake is Disaster Level Caviar?


Written before Prigozhin stood down:

It hit me we’re thinking of Prigozhin in the wrong way.

His actions have confused us these last 48 hours (and beyond) because we see him as the leader of a large mercenary body, fighting for pay (or freedom from jail) instead of what soldiers fight to defend (the state).

After some research, I’m now concluding he fits the definition of a modern day warlord, with these attributes:

Here are the characteristics of a warlord: · an individual with limited military skills, who is accountable to no one, who has no true ideology…

…who rules through patronage, who flourishes only when the central government is weak, and who further fragments the politics, the unified military action, and the economics of a central government.

There is no contribution to a nation’s power, only the individual’s.

If this definition fits Prigozhin, it also suggests that Russia is therefore a failed - although semi-functioning - quasi modern state.

We know Putin is a kleptocratic authoritarian, so this seems to fit.

Would be interested in what others think of this conclusion.



I got so drunk last night I can’t remember a thing.

I hope I haven’t done anything stupid!


The most acute catalyst to any change will be the impact this bizarre drama has on the Ukraine frontlines. It is impossible to imagine that a series of fluctuations in Russia’s military presence has not weakened defensive positions in the south and east – the very places where Ukraine is pushing forwards. The most optimistic assessment you could make is that Russian military morale must have felt a hiccup while watching its commander-in-chief and most prominent military figure engage in a 24-hour game of chicken. Would you genuinely give your life on the Russian front lines this weekend, given the mess you observe in the higher command?


To anyone who thinks this was a planned feint or loyalty test by Putin, I’m offering the great opportunity to buy the Kerch bridge.


Talking of bridges, confirmation that Ukraine has a foothold on the left (south) bank of the Dnipro, around the Antonivsky bridge near Kherson city.

Footage from the “Russian-controlled” left bank of the Dnieper river at the Antonovsky Bridge, shows a Russian BTR-82A firing and moving to pick up evacuating Russian soldiers from fire by Ukrainian forces. Earlier, Russian sources stated that Ukrainians gained a foothold at the Antonovsky Bridge with a group that is now approaching 100 fighters, forcing defending Russians to fall back. Dva Mayora: “Antonovsky bridge, our (left) bank of the Dnieper. Kherson region The enemy holds a small foothold on our bank for at least three days. The units of the Russian Armed Forces withdrew from the area, as the constant action of enemy artillery and SOF created a threat of encirclement of our forces. They retreated with combat, neighbouring units came to the rescue. As a result of the fighting, the Russian Armed Forces suffered losses.” Dva Mayora mentions that the group is continuously supplied with materiel and its size is increasing. High-speed boats are hard to intercept. EW equipment prevents Russian FPV drones from striking. Dva Mayora: https://t.me/dva_majors/19371

A more recent update is now convincingly requesting air support to assist in destroying the group. It appears as if a Telegram channel is the only way to do it as the situation is deteriorating rapidly. https://t.me/dva_majors/19388


Based on reports and visual confirmation, that map likely looks like this. There is a large contested area as this is flat lands and poorly accessible area without good access roads. I think Ukraine hasn’t brought in lots of personnel yet but there is a small bridgehead.


We’re talking about Russians here, so most who say they believe it will say so because they think that’s what you want to hear. And would take you up on the bridge offer because they think the FSB might be watching, so best play it safe.


Rybar suggests this video was taken before the mutiny. Another Russian channel posted on Friday that Shoigu was conducting an inspection in Belgorod.

Russian state news agency RIA reports that a source in the Prosecutor General’s Office told RIA Novosti confirmed to them that the criminal case against Prigozhin was indeed not terminated.

Rivnopil’ is liberated by Ukrainian forces.

This was stated by Deputy Minister of Defense Hanna Maliar.


“I didn’t expect the law against discrediting volunteer formations to eat my face,” sobs State Duma Deputy Chairman Vladislav Davankov.

1/ The Russian authorities appear to be regretting recently passing a law that makes criticism of the Wagner Group a criminal offence. Thousands of Russians, likely including Vladimir Putin himself, are now theoretically subject to criminal charges attracting years in jail.




Just don’t accept rubles as payment.


Lies No GIF


Stage Three propaganda: no-one believes him. It’s ridiculous on its face. But he can say whatever he wants and you have to at least pretend that it’s true or else you never know who will report you for a 3am wakeup call by the secret police.

The point is that he can say whatever he wants and you have to pretend you believe it. If he was saying plausible things, then you wouldn’t have to pretend, and what would be the point of that? Every time you pretend to believe another ridiculous thing is another time you have to accept that it doesn’t matter even a tiny little bit what you think, that you have no power whatsoever, and your best bet is to keep your head down and pray nobody ever notices you.

Stage Four propaganda is 1984 or North Korea. It is arrant, obvious nonsense, and you most definitely are expected to believe it. At that point it doesn’t matter what you think, because you think whatever you are told to.