Patterico's Pontifications


About Putin’s Mobilization: Two Russians Who Fled Forced Military Service Now Seek Asylum In The U.S.

Filed under: General — Dana @ 3:52 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Per Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s office, the two men arrived on Tuesday after landing on a beach near a small community of about 600 people on St. Lawrence Island:

[A] spokesperson for [Sen. Lisa] Murkowski, said… that the office has been in communication with the U.S. Coast Guard and Customs and Border Protection and that “the Russian nationals reported that they fled one of the coastal communities on the east coast of Russia to avoid compulsory military service.”

ICE officials are currently holding the two Russian nationals… The individuals were transported to Anchorage for vetting and screening after DHS was alerted of their arrival by local officials.

Putin’s mobilization has caused a mass exodus of Russian men desperate to avoid death sentences conscription. Post-Soviet Central Asia is a go-to for many, especially Kyrgystan:

Since Putin’s announcement of Russia’s first military mobilization since World War II on Sept. 21, hundreds of thousands of Russian men have left the country to avoid being drafted to fight in Ukraine…With airfares skyrocketing, Russian men have been rushing to Russia’s southern border, since they can enter Kazakhstan visa-free with only their internal passports—a mandatory ID issued to all citizens—in hand, sometimes moving farther south to Kyrgyzstan, which has the same policy. That’s a lifeline for the estimated 70 percent of Russian citizens who are not in possession of a passport for international travel.

According to Kazakh officials, more than 100,000 Russian citizens, and possibly as many as 200,000, have crossed over into Kazakhstan since the start of mobilization, many of whom have continued farther south into neighboring Kyrgyzstan.

That is more than Putin’s original invasion force in Ukraine.

I also want to point out a troubling but fascinating piece over at The Bulwark by Natalia Antonova, who writes about the Russian death cult and the role that apathy plays in it:

…I have watched videos of hooded Russians throwing Molotov cocktails at enlistment offices since Vladimir Putin’s bizarre “partial mobilization” began. These people act in stark contrast to the Russians who have meekly sent their sons and husbands off to fight Putin’s illegal, barbaric war. It’s impossible to know the scale of actual resistance within Russia, although it is probably bigger than what we can quantify right now, because much of it is necessarily quiet.

This isn’t to say that I console myself with the myth of a horde of “good Russians” who will soon fix their screwed-up country. The Russian death cult is vast and strong. It will take much more than toppling Putin—or arranging a heart attack for him—to undo decades of repression and learned apathy. This is not my doomerism speaking, it’s just common sense.

When we think of the Russian “death cult,” we usually think of the people actively supporting war, hatred, and international isolation. But passivity—the act of doing nothing—is also an important part of this cult.

Resisting mobilization in Russia is hard, but not impossible. One of the worst potential outcomes, if you don’t get too loudly political in an enlistment center (a good way to wind up being tortured), is a prison term—a not very long one, and you’ll probably get stuck with a lot of like-minded people. The idea of not even trying to resist when the life of a husband and father is on the line is bizarre, but apathy is a heavy blanket, and just like a blanket, it can be a strange comfort. If you can convince yourself that nothing depends on you, then you don’t have to take responsibility.

Finally, Antonova explains why Ukraine can’t stop fighting, even as Putin threatens to use nuclear weapons:

Those who want Ukraine to stop fighting because Putin might use nuclear weapons don’t understand what it’s like to have a murderer’s hand at your throat. Clearly, that’s why Putin wants his threats heard: He is not just blackmailing Ukraine with his arsenal but the entire world, and expects those with less immediately at stake to be easier to persuade. Giving in to this blackmail would be like backing away from the strangler, letting him do what he will.


Have You Always Been Who You Are Today?

Filed under: General — Dana @ 2:28 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Asking the questions that most of us have thought about:

I have few memories of being four—a fact I find disconcerting now that I’m the father of a four-year-old. My son and I have great times together; lately, we’ve been building Lego versions of familiar places (the coffee shop, the bathroom) and perfecting the “flipperoo,” a move in which I hold his hands while he somersaults backward from my shoulders to the ground. But how much of our joyous life will he remember? What I recall from when I was four are the red-painted nails of a mean babysitter; the brushed-silver stereo in my parents’ apartment; a particular orange-carpeted hallway; some houseplants in the sun; and a glimpse of my father’s face, perhaps smuggled into memory from a photograph. These disconnected images don’t knit together into a picture of a life. They also fail to illuminate any inner reality. I have no memories of my own feelings, thoughts, or personality; I’m told that I was a cheerful, talkative child given to long dinner-table speeches, but don’t remember being so. My son, who is happy and voluble, is so much fun to be around that I sometimes mourn, on his behalf, his future inability to remember himself.

If we could see our childish selves more clearly, we might have a better sense of the course and the character of our lives. Are we the same people at four that we will be at twenty-four, forty-four, or seventy-four? Or will we change substantially through time? Is the fix already in, or will our stories have surprising twists and turns?

Read the whole thing as the author presents arguments from a number of researchers and writers who look at whether we are who we have always been who we are or is it through life’s journeys that we become who we are today. Dividers or continuers…

And I appreciated this poem titled The Ideal by James Fenton. It feels like a sigh of relief to me:

A self is a self.
It is not a screen.
A person should respect
What he has been.

This is my past
Which I shall not discard.
This is the ideal.
This is hard.

Read the whole thing.


People Who Won’t Honor Elections Should Not Be Given Power

Filed under: General — Dana @ 7:56 am

[guest post by Dana]

During an event at Arizona State University yesterday, Rep. Liz Cheney warned against voting in election deniers. She was referring to Kari Lake, who is running for governor of the state, and Mark Finchem, who is running for secretary of state:

From Cheney:

“If you care about our democracy and you care about the survival of our republic, then … we cannot give people power who have told us that they will not honor elections.”

Lake, who is currently in a statistical tie with her rival, Katie Hobbs, the secretary of state, has publicly said on any number of occasions, that she would not have certified Joe Biden’s victory in Arizona. Specifically: “He lost the election, and he shouldn’t be in the White House.”

If elected, Finchem would be responsible for ensuring a fair election process, including “oversee[ing] voter registration and participation and certifies election equipment, candidates and results…” He was an organizer of “Stop the Steal,” and believed that the election results in Arizona should be overturned.

Both Lake and Finchem have been endorsed by Trump. And both have asserted, without evidence, that there is the possibility that the midterms will be impacted by fraud. Unless they win, of course.

Do you agree with Cheney that putting election deniers in key positions of government will have an adverse impact on our nation? This is in light of the fact that the majority of Republicans running for office in 2022 are election deniers. The Washington Post puts the number at 299. I’m guessing that if you had no problem with Herschel Walker’s lies and hypocrisy on yesterday’s thread, you will have no problem with candidates who still deny the 2020 election outcome for the very same reason: No matter how bad a Republican candidate might be, winning and gaining power for the GOP and keeping it from Democrats is what is most important. (Which, when you think about it, is sort of funny because it was that same ends-justifies-the-means thinking that gave us Trump.) But is there any tipping point where you could see yourself saying “no” to the Republican candidate because they are just that bad – even if it meant that a Democrat might win?


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