Patterico's Pontifications

2/15/2023

New Report: All Levels Of Russian Government Involved In Network of Camps Where Thousands of Ukrainian Children Have Been Held

Filed under: General — Dana @ 11:08 am



[guest post by Dana]

It’s disturbing to hear people, smart people, argue that the burden to end the war in Ukraine rests on President Zelensky: He needs to be willing to negotiate with Vladimir Putin. He needs to be willing to surrender the four regions annexed by Russia. He needs to give something in return to appease Putin. Strangely, there is usually silence from them when asked what makes them think that Putin is to be trusted and would abide by any peace plan. (I mean, don’t we already know that he is wholly untrustworthy and would never abide by any agreement that would curtail his insatiable thirst for power and an ever-expanding empire.) Oh, the naivete. And yet, I had it explained to me that the enforcers of any such deal would be us, the United States. As in if Russia acts in contradiction to a peace agreement (oh, say, by invading Ukraine again), U.S. troops would then be sent to the region… *Blinks* *Blinks again* And still, even when pointing out that Russia is committing genocide against the Ukrainian people, including thousands of children being abducted by Russian authorities and sent to camps inside Russia’s borders, it is seen as yet another reason why it is imperative that Zelensky be willing to negotiate with Putin and find some sort of compromise. In other words, Zelensky is the real problem here.

To my layman’s mind, it appears that there are four ways the war ends: 1) Russia voluntarily and wholly leaves Ukraine (and the four annexed territories), 2) Ukraine drives Russia out in defeat, 3) Ukraine surrenders to Russia, or 4) Ukraine is defeated and subsumed into Russia. I don’t believe Option 1 will ever happen. I believe Option 2 is the best and most effective option. As for Option 3, it would take a lot more pressure from Russia coupled with a lack of support from the West for Ukraine to ever surrender to the boot. Such is their immense resolve to fight against Russian domination, and fight against all odds. And as long as the Ukrainians are willing to fight against the invaders, I believe that we should support them in any way that we can. And obviously, Option 4 would be the worst possible outcome. And not just for Ukraine.

Yesterday, Secretary of State Blinken described in an interview with NPR the one necessary and highly unlikely condition that would need to be in place for there to be a “just” and “durable” peace in Ukraine:

“Vladimir Putin has to give up on his notion that Ukraine is not its own country, that it needs to be erased from the maps and subsumed into Russia. He’s already failed at that. But he seems to continue to believe that that’s what he’s trying to achieve. And unless he’s disabused of that notion, it’s hard to see how peace can really move forward.”

I think that one of the most harrowing parts of the war continues to be the abduction of thousands of Ukrainian children – from new babies to teenagers – in an effort to re-educate them and make them Russian. A just-released report confirms that all levels of Russia’s government are involved in this genocide:

The Russian government is operating an expansive network of dozens of camps where it has held thousands of Ukrainian children since the start of the war against Ukraine last year, according to a new report released Tuesday.

The report contains disturbing new details about the extent of Moscow’s efforts to relocate, re-educate, and sometimes militarily train or forcibly adopt out Ukrainian children – actions that constitute war crimes and could provide evidence that Russia’s actions amount to genocide, it said.

The report found that more than 6,000 children — ranging in age from mere months old to 17 – have been in Russian custody at some point during the course of the nearly year-long war, although the “total number of children is not known and is likely significantly higher than 6,000.”

It identified 43 facilities that are a part of the network, which “stretches from one end of Russia to the other,” including Russian-occupied Crimea, the “eastern Pacific Coast – closer to Alaska than it is to Moscow,” and Siberia, Raymond said.

“The primary purpose of the camps appears to be political reeducation,” he said, noting that at least 32 of the facilities identified in the report “appear to be engaged in systematic re-education efforts that expose children from Ukraine to Russia-centric academic, cultural, patriotic, and in two cases, specifically military education.”

We can then assume that somewhere in the neighborhood of 12,000 parents (obviously a general approximation, depending on whether either parent is still alive or was part of the children’s lives in the first place) have been or are currently experiencing an indescribable, never-ending anguish that must eat at them 24/7. An unbearable pain.

As to whether an actual genocide is taking place, Prof. Timothy Snyder confirmed, even before the release of this report, that it was indeed happening. In an interview from December, he discussed the need to make sure that genocide fulfills all of the acts that are specified in the 1948 convention, and then focused on the issue of intent and the deportation of children:

So there are five things that must happen to constitute genocide in the normal sense, and every one of those five things stipulated is met by Russian activity. The one that gets overlooked a lot is number five, which is the deportation of children in an attempt of assimilating them. We remember the killing of populations and so on, but the Russians keep boasting about deporting Ukrainian children to assimilate them. So there’s that. There are the mass deportations, there are the filtration camps. There are the murders of local elites. And all those things are genocide, according to practice. But the interesting thing about this genocide is that the intention is so clear. Usually, the hard part in prosecuting genocide is not the actions, but proving intent. And what’s unusual in this case is that Russia keeps saying over and over again, in so many words, that they mean to commit genocide. And I think that puts everyone in the West in an embarrassing position because our default position is “Well they do terrible things, but how do we prove intent?” And this time, basically the Russians are overwhelming us with the evidence, as they do so often…

From the State Department, commenting on the new report:

“The fact that these are transfers and deportations of children is unconscionable by any standard. Russia must immediately halt forced transfers and deportations and return the children to their families or legal guardians. Russia must provide registration lists of Ukraine’s relocated and deported children and grant access for outside independent observers to related facilities within Russia-occupied areas of Ukraine and inside Russia itself.”

“Mounting evidence of Russia’s actions lays bare the Kremlin’s aims to deny and suppress Ukraine’s identity, history, and culture. The devastating impacts of Putin’s war on Ukraine’s children will be felt for generations. The United States will stand with Ukraine and pursue accountability for Russia’s appalling abuses for as long as it takes.”

As expected, Russia laughably pushed back on the accusations, and defended its actions as if they were something noble:

“We took notice of the absurd statements of State Department Spokesperson Ned Price, who had accused our country of ‘forced transfer and deportation of Ukrainian children’ to the territory of the Russian Federation,” the embassy said in a statement on Telegram.

“Russia accepted children who had been forced to flee with their families from the shelling and atrocities of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. We do our best to keep minors in families, and in case of absence or death of parents and relatives – to transfer orphans under guardianship. We ensure the protection of their lives and well-being.”

And so it goes…

–Dana

37 Responses to “New Report: All Levels Of Russian Government Involved In Network of Camps Where Thousands of Ukrainian Children Have Been Held”

  1. Hello.

    Dana (1225fc)

  2. I don’t think the war will end until Putin dies or is removed from power.

    Chad (97be9b)

  3. OT- R.I.P. Raquel Welch

    Buxom beauties never die; they just fade away…

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)

  4. I have a real issue, calling this bit of Russian kidnapping a “deportation”, mainly because deportations in the US involve illegal immigrants who have no right to be here and are sent of out of the US by law. Applying that same word to Ukrainian children can give a false impression, that there is some sort of justification that allows Ukrainian children to be forcibly removed from Ukraine and sent to Russian parts unknown.

    Also, words have meaning, and “deport” means to “expel (a foreigner) from a country, typically on the grounds of illegal status or for having committed a crime” (Oxford).

    These Ukrainian kids obviously belong in the country of their birth, so I would call what the Russians are doing kidnapping, or theft, or abduction, or stealing children from Ukraine, because that is Putin is doing, and it’s patently illegal under international law.

    BTW, I haven’t called what’s occurring in Ukraine a genocide, a la Dr. Snyder, but I do say it’s an attempted cultural genocide (akin to what Xi’s been doing to the Uighers) because, for the regions of Ukraine Putin has conquered, he has canceled Ukrainian language, history and culture. With these kidnappings–the literal stealing of kids–he’s also trying to wipe out their future.

    Paul Montagu (8f0dc7)

  5. Dana – Thanks so much for this post. You have said what very much needs to be said.

    Jim Miller (f29931)

  6. Paul Montagu,

    I agree re the use of “deportation,” which is why in the first para I referred to it as an “abduction” of the children. I also think calling it a “transfer” also whitewashes what is really happening. I suspect that State is straining to use non-inflammatory wording in an effort to not escalate things. Which is laughable, because it Putin who continues to escalate matters.

    As long as we try to save Putin from embarrassment or provoking him, it will only embolden him.

    Dana (1225fc)

  7. Thanks, Jim Miller.

    Dana (1225fc)

  8. “Heads, Pikes, Walls”

    –Tyrion Lannister

    Kevin M (1ea396)

  9. I suspect that State is straining to use non-inflammatory wording in an effort to not escalate things.

    We often negotiate against ourselves. When we don’t, people like Blinken castigate us for being rigid. We should break relations.

    Kevin M (1ea396)

  10. Alabama solves prison overcrowding by putting inmate in freezer forgets to take him out and he freezes to death! (DU)

    asset (ec44c7)

  11. Report: Russia Has Deployed 97% of Army in Ukraine but Is Struggling to Advance

    The U.K. said Russia has deployed nearly its entire army in Ukraine, increasing pressure along the front line in the east of the country but falling short of a breakthrough.

    Ukrainian officials have warned of a renewed Russian onslaught to coincide with the first anniversary of Moscow’s invasion next week. But some Western officials say the offensive is unlikely to be one single event. Russian forces have redoubled attacks along the front lines in eastern Ukraine in recent weeks, eking out gains after a series of reversals last year.

    “We now estimate 97% of the whole Russian army is in Ukraine,” U.K. Defense Secretary Ben Wallace told the British Broadcasting Corp.’s “Today” show on Wednesday.

    Russian forces were trying to advance on all fronts, he said, adding: “We haven’t actually seen this massing of a single force to punch through in a big offensive. We’ve just seen an effort to advance, and that has come at a huge cost to the Russian army.”

    Maybe Japan should reclaim those Kuril Islands about now.

    Kevin M (1ea396)

  12. Alabama solves prison overcrowding by putting inmate in freezer forgets to take him out and he freezes to death! (DU)

    Tell me that you don’t actually believe this.

    Kevin M (1ea396)

  13. Strangely, there is usually silence from them when asked what makes them think that Putin is to be trusted and would abide by any peace plan.

    It’s not strange. If they didn’t assume away that problem, they’d have nothing to say.

    To my layman’s mind, it appears that there are four ways the war ends: 1) Russia voluntarily and wholly leaves Ukraine (and the four annexed territories),

    There are other issues besides territory. I assume you means that that withdrawal is negotiated. If that is negotiated, Ukraine doesn’t have t keep all its territory. This is what
    those people who want to place the onus on Ukraine are proposing, It should be something like the withdrawal of of Germany from France in 1871. France had to give up Alsace and Lorriane and pay money to Germany. But they forget one or two things. Bismarck said that the most significant fact of the 19th century was that England and the United States spoke the same language. In other words, England would not allow Germany to keep France and they could not defeat England because of the United States. So Germany had to call a halt to its war of conquest. Something that was forgotten by 1914.

    In the case of the current war there are also the missing children (which Russia even now releases when they are claimed) and he sanctions.

    2) Ukraine drives Russia out in defeat,

    Maybe what you could get is a ceasefire then. There are other issues besides territory.

    3) Ukraine surrenders to Russia,

    NATO will not allow that.

    or 4) Ukraine is defeated and subsumed into Russia.

    How is 4 different than 3?

    I don’t believe Option 1 will ever happen. I believe Option 2 is the best and most effective option.

    Only if Russia, at that point, agrees to a ceasefire.

    Sammy Finkelman (02a146)

  14. I suspect that State is straining to use non-inflammatory wording in an effort to not escalate things.

    Dana, I remember when the Obama administration initially called Putin’s invasion of the Crimean peninsula an “uncontested arrival”, which didn’t help the situation one bit.
    These State Department diplomats should know better, because “deportations” is flat-out dishonest description. Maybe they should be more interested in the truth than in disturbing their tender feelings or fearing “escalation”, which is a silly trope.
    For that reason, I’m glad you used “abducted”, which is what happened.

    Paul Montagu (8f0dc7)

  15. OT- A word or two on Raquel… had the great privilege, albeit brief, of meeting Ms. Welch in the 1980s at CBS when she graced our offices for a meeting on production development of an exercise video- which were all the rage among attractive celebrities of that era. Not only was she as stunningly beautiful in real life as projected on film and television, but she was disarmingly gracious and witty with a keen business savvy. She was quite a lady.

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)

  16. DCSCA,

    Can we stick to the subject of the post, please? It’s an important issue, and I hate to see the thread hijacked. You too, asset. I just noticed your comment.

    Dana (1225fc)

  17. There is a 5th possibility: Putin is removed from office — by death, a coup, a revolution, or whatever — and his successor withdraws and makes peace.

    In my opinion, the chances of those two things happening are small, but more than 1 percent. Consult your local Russian specialist for a more informed estimate.

    Jim Miller (f29931)

  18. Jim Miller,

    Commenter Chad at 2 mentioned something similar, but I think that whoever follows Putin will be cut out of the same thuggish cloth. Someone from within the system who is already prepped and experienced in the Kremlin expectations. Also, I am not reading about any real protests happening in Russia. If someone were to assassinate Putin, it would seem like they’d be a rival Kremlin-type, not anyone with any real ideological differences. Just more of the same. As for the people at large, they seem to be lining up behind Putin and a Russian victory. Maybe too they long ago surrendered to the boot. The Iranian women said, with regard to how long the protests have gone on, and about their bravery in light of a possible death sentence: “Now our anger is greater than our fear.”

    Dana (1225fc)

  19. Dana,

    I would add that many Russians who don’t like the war have left the country. When the unhappy leave, who is going to protest?

    norcal (7345e5)

  20. That too, norcal.

    Dana (1225fc)

  21. Dana – Well, there are surprises in history. I have a copy of Colin McEvedy’s Penguin Atlas of Recent History (Europe Since 1815), first published in 1982. Near the end, he says:

    What had been greeted as peace quickly changed into an era of ‘Cold War’. And so it has continued for the last thirty years. Stalin’s successors ahve tried to appear less cold-blooded than he, but under pressure — as hwen the Hugarians tried to leave the Soviet camp in 1956 or, twelve years later, when the Czechs tried to liberalize their regime — they have reacted every bit as ruthlessly. The ideological gulf remains unbridged: there has been detente but no rapprochement.

    Whether this situation is comfortable or not, it is certainly stable. (p. 89)

    (Emphasis added.)

    And then suddenly it wasn’t stable.

    (I bought a copy of his 2002 edition mostly to see if he would admit to have been wrong in the earlier edition. He didn’t.

    Despite that, I would recommend his historical atlases to anyone who wants to see broad outlines of the vast areas he covers.

    Jim Miller (f29931)

  22. Alabama solves prison overcrowding by putting inmate in freezer forgets to take him out and he freezes to death! (DU)

    Tell me that you don’t actually believe this.

    Kevin M (1ea396) — 2/15/2023 @ 1:20 pm


    Alabama man froze to death in jail after officers put him in freezer as possible ‘punishment,’ lawsuit alleges

    The physician who examined (Anthony) Mitchell wrote the following: “I am not sure what circumstances the patient was held in incarceration but it is difficult to understand a rectal temperature of 72° F (22° centigrade) while someone is incarcerated in jail. The cause of his hypothermia is not clear. It is possible he had a underlying medical condition resulting in hypothermia. I do not know if he could have been exposed to a cold environment. I do believe that hypothermia was the ultimate cause of his death.”

    I guess anything is possible.

    Rip Murdock (d2a2a8)

  23. Sorry, I didn’t mean to continue the thread hijacking.

    Rip Murdock (d2a2a8)

  24. Here is the Yale report, Russia’s Systematic Program for the Re-education and Adoption of Ukraine’s Children.

    Rip Murdock (d2a2a8)

  25. From the geographic location of the camps on the map in the report, it’s very hard to see how children in the Magadan oblast could or would ever be reunited with their families:

    The furthest camp this investigation identifies is in Magadan oblast in Russia’s Far East near the Pacific Ocean, approximately 3,900 miles from Ukraine’s border with the Russian Federation. The camp in Magadan is roughly three times closer to the United States than it is to the border of Ukraine.

    Dana (1225fc)

  26. This was a favorite pastime of Stalin’s — dealing with ethnic unrest by disbursing the ethnic population throughout the USSR.

    Kevin M (1ea396)

  27. Those poor kids. It wouldn’t surprise me if the Russians mess with the records so that even at the end of the war, most of the children can’t be returned to their parents.

    Nic (896fdf)

  28. @28 war is hell. Some here say thoughts and prayers like they say about mass shootings ;but its none of our business what happens to the children. It was the ruusian army that finally liberated auschwitz and the american army dachau and belsen not thoughts and prayers. The best way to help the children is aid ukraine so they can defeat russia otherwise the children will begone for ever.

    asset (77101c)

  29. Incidentally,Dana, I appreciate your comments about sticking to topics. Perhaps you should institute a policy of deleting OT comments on some topics, like this one?

    On the other hand, it hasn’t been awful since your request.

    I know it is much easier for me to follow comments that stay on topic. And there are other posts that can be a free for all, if Patterico wishes.

    Best wishes.

    Simon Jester (c8876d)

  30. And you can delete my own comment!

    Simon Jester (c8876d)

  31. @28 war is hell. Some here say thoughts and prayers like they say about mass shootings ;but its none of our business what happens to the children. It was the ruusian army that finally liberated auschwitz and the american army dachau and belsen not thoughts and prayers. The best way to help the children is aid ukraine so they can defeat russia otherwise the children will begone for ever.

    asset (77101c) — 2/15/2023 @ 9:47 pm

    https://www.history.com/topics/world-war-ii/molotov-ribbentrop-pact#:~:text=The%20Molotov%2DRibbentrop%20Pact%20was,for%20the%20next%2010%20years.

    Russia wasn’t the hero of WWII; they were simply one of the survivors in debt to the USA. Without 1930s Russia, who knows how much better the world would be.

    Those poor kids. It wouldn’t surprise me if the Russians mess with the records so that even at the end of the war, most of the children can’t be returned to their parents.

    Nic (896fdf) — 2/15/2023 @ 9:26 pm

    Yes if you think about the long-game here, this is a major disruption for Ukraine’s future in 10-20 years. Hopefully there is some genetic testing solution, but the primary solution is to change the regime in Russia. Obviously a dangerous and tall order, but I can’t see how it’s as dangerous as what’s going on right now.

    Good, but depressing post, Dana.

    Dustin (a87c64)

  32. I think that so many people I read and hear seem to blur very clear lines depending upon their own political biases. I remember very clearly how everyone was told to think that the “Russians love their children, too” as Gordon Sumner sang it.

    There were also pundits and journalists who refused to see Great Stalin’s perfidies.

    I suppose that “To see what is in front of one’s nose needs a constant struggle”, to quote another very, very relevant pundit.

    Russia has always done Russia. Just like China.

    Sure America has its shortcomings. But we aren’t like those two.

    Thank you again for this post, Dana.

    Simon Jester (c8876d)

  33. Sure America has its shortcomings. But we aren’t like those two.

    Yes.

    It’s become less fashionable to recognize this, but we simply aren’t on the same moral level as those governments. We certainly have shortcomings, and I think the internet is being used effectively to undermine our sense of national pride, but it’s our advantage (and the world’s hope).

    Dustin (a87c64)

  34. It’s interesting, Dustin. On campus, faculty and students rail about, say, our immigration policy, and how we treat immigrants. When I was younger and thought I could have my own opinion, I would ask if we should adopt identical policies as, say, Mexico’s. They quite literally could not say that Mexico’s policies were bad.

    I think it important to recognize awful behavior and policies, regardless of where they are. Like the two nations I mentioned.

    Simon Jester (0d54cc)

  35. Russia is also doing the double tap attack (a second explosion targeted at first responders) earlier done by Russia is Syria. This sort of thing was previously a tactic of terrorist groups.”

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-russian-double-strike-that-killed-a-u-s-medic-in-ukraine-they-had-us-in-sight-442cd058

    Sammy Finkelman (1d0cae)

  36. Here is — assuming the translation is correct, and is properly sourced — another troubling description of Putin’s evil plans.

    Jim Miller (f29931)


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