I get tired of answering the same things over and over to the same trolls or even new trolls let alone thoughtful and sensitive freelance journalists on Twitter who keep spouting the Kremlin line, deliberately, either cynically or out of true belief or ignorance.
I used to think that it was worth "talking over the shoulder" to even a paid Olgino cadre troll because there were "impressionable young minds" out there who might benefit from the facts and a good argument. But more and more, I don't know if that works, and in any event, I don't want to achieve this goal one tweet at a time.
Hence, my Chinese Menu of Replies to Kremlin Trolls -- which is really just a short version of a grander thing I want to do some day more generically about "Invalid Interlocutors" in general. So for now, here's my 20 points, and I'll just be using these numbers now most likely -- and you should make your own menu, too, and I'll link to yours:
1. Tank Rolls [Egg Rolls]
Yes, those are Russian tanks rolling into Ukraine and on the field of battle manned by separatists. No, the separatists didn't steal that T-72B1 or B3M tank from the Ukrainians in battle, it is not a "trophy". No, Ukraine doesn't manufacture them. No, it didn't even when it was part of the Soviet Union. No, Ukraine has not deployed these tanks in battle in southeastern Ukraine. No, Russia does not export these particular tanks to Ukraine or its neighbors now or has it in the future.
Seldom has any fighter shown a tank of this type after a battle as it was being "pinched"; it's generally only seen coming into Ukraine by the known routes from Russia in a convoy or before battles.
2. Noodles on Ears [Cold Sesame Noodles]
There are a number of big lies in this war told to foreigners who come as journalists, aid workers, fact-finding politicians:
-- Ukrainians deliberately shell civilians.
-- Ukrainians starve people and block aid.
-- Ukrainians are fascists.
The Ukrainian government is filled with pro-Moscow Russians, Yanukovych cadres, Party of Regions' supporters, outright Russian spies. Not a single one of these sources has ever been able to come up with a scintilla of proof that any Ukrainian unit of any kind deliberately, cynically and wantonly fired on civilians as a policy to achieve a goal either of terrorizing the population or any other motive.
In shelling the DNR, they have not pulled out the stops as the DNR itself has, with Russia's backing, and there is a simple way to prove this: look at the map.
Look at the map. Look at the map. Who gained territory? Pro-tip: not Kiev. We recommend also No. 6 on the menu!
There is no mass outbreak of polio despite claims that this could be expected or that vaccinations were blocked. In fact, the DNR blocks aid and has expelled foreign aid workers and even kidnapped and held them until forced to give them up, evidently by Moscow after prodding by the US. They've done the same thing with the OSCE workers.
Ukrainians did not vote a single ultrarightist party into parliament as a party -- neither Right Sector or Svaboda or any other group of this nature crossed the 5% threshold needed to come into the parliament as an organized party. Only handfuls -- less than 20 seats -- are held by some of the leaders of these factions and none of them have a significant vote or bloc. That's all she wrote. The end. The fat lady has sung. Ukrainians are not fascists as a nation, have no fascistic party in government, nor policy of fascistic practices. They have corruption and human rights violations like other post-Soviet states and like even liberal democratic states. Meanwhile, there is mounting evidence of the Kremlin's own fascism and encouragement of neo-Nazi movements at home and abroad.
3. Lied Kremlin [Fried Wonton]
There's been a number of whoppers told again and again:
- That the Russian language was suppressed and was a reason for warfare -- it never was, and a planned law to make Ukrainian the state language and not have bilingualism as a policy was never about oppression of Russian and was rescinded anyway; people speak Russian in Kiev, even; even commanders of battalions fighting for Kiev speak Russian. Total non-issue.
- That there is "genocide of the Russian people" -- no plan or intent or execution of such a notion has been indicated whatsoever, and in fact ethnic Russians and Russian speakers are also on the side of Kiev and fighting the separatists. The Kremlin's constant propaganda on this score and their opening of cases even under these charges have never produced a single fact. The preposterous charges against the Ukrainian pilot Nadiya Savchenko is evidence of how much good faith they have in actually researching their own claims: none.
Savchenko did not kill any journalists' nor serve as a spotter to get them killed; they had the poor judgement to go to a separatist-held checkpoint, embedded with the separatists, without any protective gear, and when this checkpoint -- a legitimate target of war -- was shelled, and a shell didn't go off, they were killed by shrapnel. That's what happens in war zones when you spend time in objects that are targeted. Russia has produced zero evidence that any spotting or deliberate plan to kill journalists per se, as distinct from separatists; meanwhile the defense and provided ample details on how Savchenko was kidnapped.
- That Ukraine was going to join NATO and threaten Russia's security -- it was never in the EU Association Agreement, Ukraine trained with NATO before the war and Russia didn't complain; in 2008 at the Bucharest summit of NATO, at Germany's behest, Russia was placated and Ukraine did NOT start on a path to join NATO. This shows why placating Russia doesn't work.
4. Putin Platter [Pu Pu Platter]
- Putin is the cause of the war and bears the blame for every combatant and civilian death; he is the engineer of much of the turning points of the war, whether the decision to invade and annex Crimea or sponsor the takeover of a 100 administration buildings leading to the DNR and LNR thugocracy or various invasions and offensives such as Ilovaisk He has pulled on the separatists' strings at crucial times and also pulled on the West's strings (Iran, Syria) to gain compliance.
- There are no madcap boyars running amok in semiboyarshchina; these are cadres deployed to make planned things look like chaos; they are turned on hot and cold just as the fingers of Moscow squeeze on the map on and off to take over territory.
Did I mention that you should just look at a map of Ukraine?
- Because he has controlled and implemented the war, it is natural to sanction his top officials and oligarchs. This is not "hating Russia"; it is not "Russophibia"; it is not "Cold War thinking," it's just identifying where the problem for instigation of war originates, and acting appropriately to deter it.
- No one can understand why Russia threatens a veto of a tribunal of a war crime, the downing of MH17 by Russian-backed combatants in territory they controlled, when Russia claims also it has nothing to do with these fighters or their weapon, a Buk not in the working arsenal of the UAF. If they are as uninvolved as they say, why all the agida about the tribunal?
5. Steamed Duma [Steamed Dumplings]
- The Duma is irrelevant except for the purpose of creating both state TV shows (Mizulina) and also YouTube fan channels (Zhirinovsky). It doesn't matter whether they "gave" Putin the power to wage war and "took it away." They also receive draft laws from the Kremlin administration every week to rubber-stamp. The Kremlin is where the action is.
6. Poroshenko's Territory Slices [Roast Pork Slices]
- The biggest argument against all the Russian lies about this war is to look at the maps.
HEY YOU AMERICANS WHO DON'T STUDY GEOGRAPHY CAN YOU LOOK AT THE MAPS? HINT: UKRAINE IS NEXT TO, BUT NOT THE SAME AS, RUSSIA
Here's some time-lapse maps on YouTube where you really see the true terribleness of it.
Here's the first four months:
Here's April to June, 2015:
Combined Russians and separatists took first 500 square kilometers after the September Minsk "ceasefire" agreement, then have gone on to take about another 250 more since February and Debaltsevo. This is salami tactics, maybe it seems to some like the Ukrainians are to blame all along the way for defending their own territory and PS not being willing to overthrow their own constitutional order to create a fake "federative" state that really means handing over sections to Russia. But when you look at the map, well, it's hard to find a need to do anything else.
The UN General Assembly -- that same creature that has more politicized resolutions on Israel than any other country even with massive war casualties, i.e. Sudan or DRC; that same creature that can condemn the US at the drop of a hat for all kinds of things real or imagined; that creature upheld Ukraine's territorial territory and voted thereby to condemn the annexation of Crimea. Russia lost; even Russia's only allies voted directly against it or abstained, costing it votes.
Here's how the bald-faced Kremlin lie works:
a. Russians/separatists advance on X town, say, Pervomaisk (the one near Popasnaya).
b. Ukrainians fight back to retain their territory.
c. Russian/separatist media scream about shelling of civilians and suffering of civilians killed or wounded, real or imagined, with houses damaged.
d. Unable to fight back with "progressive world community" pressuring on one hand, citizens on another and unable to win against a superior neighbour, Ukraine yields.
e. Russia/separatists take over yet another town. In whose hands in Pervomaisk today? Yes, the LNR (Lugank People's Republic). Look at the map. That's how it works.
f. Lather, rinse, repeat.
7. Lugansk OGA Bomb Drop [Egg Drop Soup]
- Yes, the Ukrainian army dropped a bomb from a plane on the Lugansk Regional State Administration Building (OGA) in June of last year, and yes they killed civilians including a woman who died a torturous death with her legs blown off, lying on the sidewalk pleading for help, and yes, I've seen the video many times, thank you, and no, my including of this or any other death in this parody doesn't mean disrespect for this woman or her family; your continued exploitation of her visible death is that disrespect, and you should stop that.
The death of any civilian in this war is wrong. There is nothing to indicate that the Ukrainians deliberately targeted civilians in this or other cases, real or imagined.
- Did you realize that the Lugansk OGA is a legitimate target of war? Yes, it is. War isn't illegal; war is allowed by the UN charter, but it has rules. A country may defend itself; it may shoot at targets such as buildings that armed insurgents have occupied.
Don't want to be killed in this war? Don't hang around targets -- like checkpoints and administrative buildings of armed insurgents.
Yes, you can be killed in the seeming safety and privacy of your own little cottage, too, but that's because armed insurgents keep trying to take over territory -- not defend themselves, but take over territory which hey, they succeeded in doing.
If rebels overrun its police and administration buildings and puts Russian colonels like Strelkov or Bezler in charge, those buildings become targets of war.
- What happened before this, did you admit that? First, Russians -- yes from Russia -- and separatists overran the border guard post, killing Ukrainian border guards. They took over the border base - and the border, hell0. That's why ever since, they have been able to keep sending in tanks (hundreds) and troops (20,000, by OSCE's total admitted today); there's no border. So the OGA bombing didn't come out of thin air, wasn't a deliberate attack on civilians, and wasn't a war crime. It was a tragedy.
And BTW, it was due to that tragedy and another in Snezhnoye, where Ukraine bombed an apartment building in which 11 people died -- not long before the separatists shot down a civilian airline and killed 298 people (people forget this sequence of events!) that Ukraine hasn't waged an air war.
What preceded that apartment bombing in Snezhnoye? Oh, yes, right. First separatists came in on tanks and took over the town completely, putting armor in all the main public squares. And then shot down Ukrainian planes. So yes, Ukraine fights back, but no, there is no evidence that Kiev deliberately targeted civilians in an apartment building.
Nor Stanitsa Luganskaya, which is where separatists also took over the police station and checkpoints right next to people's homes, heedless that yes, they are legitimate targets and those people can then be struck.
Let me think. Were the separatists in Stanitsa Luganskaya protecting the Russian language which was in danger of eradication?
Note that this is not like the Korean War; it's not like Vietnam War; it's not like Libyan War. Why? Because there are no airplanes, it's all on the ground. This is because the Russians kept knocking Ukrainian planes out of the sky - and did so before the big battle at the Donetsk Airport in May 2014 where more than 40 died, most of them Russians.
Say, why are you using the tragic public death of the Lugansk woman to try to win a fight on Twitter? You don't have facts? These aren't facts you are presenting; they are war pornography. There is absolutely no evidence that the Kiev authorities deliberately planned to kill this woman or others who went to look at the list of separatists missing or dead posted at the OGA or to solve their considerable problems that have ensued since the takeover of this Soviet-like partisan force.
This building was targeted because a) Russia overrun the Ukrainian border and has held it since b) Russian-backed separatists held this building and took over Lugansk and environs with it and Ukraine wished to seize back control of their territory.
They get to to that; it is Ukraine, not Russia. The UAF serves a legitimate, democratically elected president, unlike Putin.
Note: If Russia hadn't overrun the border, taken over a border post and killed border guards and taken over the OGA building, Ukraine wouldn't have had to do any shelling whatsoever, and that woman would be alive today.
What was the reason Russia ran the border again? Russian language oppressed, was it? Ukraine joining NATO, was it?
8. One Ton "Humanitarian" Aid [Wonton Soup]
- No one knows what is in these trucks because they are not inspected. No, the Red Cross does not endorse these trucks and never did. No, Russia does not allow inspection of each truck, as even Canada would demand of America, with appropriate paperwork, etc. So fighters can and do come on these runs as we know from their own testimony, and it is possible some war supplies and weapons also come in -- we just don't know.
No, the Moscow Red Cross head never admitted this, it was a distortion by a Ukrainian news site, and yet he never followed up on his own concern that a militarized organization -- the Emergencies Ministry -- and not a civilian body -- the Moscow Red Cross -- was handling these convoys.
If some aid gets to ordinary people, that's great, but a lot of it is stolen, too, or resold by the separatists. No, it is not true that Ukraine "blocks aid" or that Right Sector "blocks aid"; one incident on one day where Right Sector/Aidar Battalion blocked a truck of the philanthropy supported by oligarch Rinat Akhmetov's isn't "blocking aid" and "starving the Donbass" -- don't be fucking ridiculous.
Why was this truck blocked on this one day? Or maybe another truck blocked on another day? Because they felt it was feeding the separatists' directly with cigarettes, etc. in fact took another route, and while that "drama" was happening -- hyped by Amnesty and the press -- in fact Russia was sending yet another huge truck load of aid that didn't get stopped by anybody, and wouldn't, as they control the border!
The separatists' own propaganda videos showing ample aid being distributed at the Donbass arena lets us know that Aidar didn't starve the Donbass. Generally, the separatists make people go hungry by causing war.
Thousands of Russian churches, civic groups, army veterans' groups etc are providing aid for this war. It is a seamless continuum for them to aid starving old ladies and babies along with armed militants, they make no distinction.
9. Crimea Mine [Roast Pork Gat Yat Mein]
- If there was such popular will for the annexation to Russia, why were there no demonstrations on the street or NGOs or any kind of significant public movement in Crimea (or Donbass) until February 2014, where even then such demonstrations were orchestrated by Russia? Why was force needed if everybody was so willing? Why did Ukrainians and Crimean Tatars have to be forced out of this workers' vacation paradise if it was all so peaceful?
- What has happened since the annexation is as bad as the annexation itself -- if there is nothing to hide, nothing wrong, and there is all this popular will, why did all the press have to be shut down? Why Crimean Tatar TV?
10. Roast Donetsk [Roast Duck]
- What exactly did the separatists need the Donetsk Airport so badly for that they had to destroy the airport and kill many soldiers and people living near it? Would that be to militarily control territory? But hey, we thought this was a local self-management exercise and a cross-border sister-city collaboration like they have in Europe? What was this for? It's not true you "fed Kiev" as Kiev has fed this 11% of the population and has even been paying its electricity bills, whatever it's rust-belt manufacturing output was -- which is now damaged by the DNR's shelling anyway. Why was the "problem solved" by destroying this multi-million recently-renovated airport and what could possibly justify such a loss of life?
- Yes, the separatists "shoot at themselves." This has got to be one of the lamest Kremlin troll arguments on two legs that they have "no reason" to "shoot at themselves." Please.
Like Ukrainian forces, separatists accidentally kill civilians when they return fire. Separatists also attract fire when they do things like fire Grads from apartment building complexes. If they are firing at what they claim is a Ukrainian position repeatedly (as in the apartment complex today) is this really self defense? No, it's territorial takeover. That's why the separatists have Debaltsevo and 500 kilometers plus of territory! They don't just "defend themselves" as the "evil junta" shoots at them; they keep encroaching outward, shooting as they go, and taking more territory. Like the DAP. And like even part of Avdeyevka.
- Yes, there is evidence that the separatists recklessly shoot near civilian areas because they are cynical and don't care. They may plan this to pin on the Ukrainians, but in fact that's not the reason for most of these incidents. The separatists have powerful weapons and positions to the east of Donetsk, for example, where they shot at the airport but also at Avdeyevka; this sometimes went astray, or hit certain regions of Donetsk because they didn't care. That this was the case is verifiable from various shelling incidents where there is no way the shells could have come from Ukrainian positions at Pesky, Avdeyevka or the DAP, but came from the separatists own positions.
Why do Kievsky and Kuibyshevsky districts keep getting shelled at? There's one reason: because not content with grabbing Donetsk and the Donetsk Airport, the separatists want to take over the suburbs of Avdeyevka and Pesky, too. There isn't any other reason. The end.
11. No Mariupol [Chicken +with Snow Peas]
- Yes, both Russian and the separatists want to take over Mariupol; did you forget that they killed more than 30 people last January by firing Grads on Mariupol from Shirokino? Yes, Mariupol is part of the "land bridge" to Crimea. That never went away, because we still live on planet earth.
Yes, that Shirokino, which the separatists took over, and ensured now remains in a flattened state with wrecked buildings mainly devoid of people. That OSCE made them leave along with the UAF is a fiction because they pulled back a few miles and have the capacity to keep shelling it and do keep shelling it.
- The idea that the separatists won't take Mariupol or won't attempt it now doesn't mean they don't have long-term eyes on it. And it's immaterial whether there is evidence of a build-up to do this particular task; Russians could take over other cities that could put Mariupol in a pincer or just cause havoc while they take over more little towns between Donetsk and Mariupol. Again, watch the map, not Kremlin.ru or TASS or RIA Novosti.
12. US Mercenaries [Beef with Mixed Vegetables]
- There are no US mercenaries fighting in Ukraine. None. No, the American citizen killed fighting for Dnipro Battalion wasn't a mercenary, he was a Ukrainian=American who had lived in Ukraine for 12 years and joined as a volunteer. No, the man working as a de-miner filmed by Russian TV in Mariupol is not American, not a mercenary, and not any kind of combatant and was lied about by Russian propaganda TV. No, there are no fields strewn with black Americans who died in combat; there was an Indian student arrested and tortured by the DNR.
- No, there is no Blackwater. Did you realize they changed their name to US Training Center in 2009, and to "Academi" in 2011 by new owners, after being sold? Is your propaganda as out of date as your information?
- Again, there is absolutely no evidence of any Americans fighting for the UAF. This is a war where everyone has a camera phone out and there are hundreds of thousands of videos, VK pages, Instagram photos etc. and if there was anything like this, it would get out.
- Do you ever wonder why there are so many thousands of photos of Russian tanks only from Russia, and Russians only from Russia, made even by those Russians themselves on Facebook? Tanks, tanks, tanks! Even British pro-Kremlin reporter Graham Wilson shows us Russian tanks unwittingly in his filsm.
And not a single one of such a thing involving Americans or American weapons.
The only thing we see are Soviet-style fake plants of this story in Vzglyad, a pro-Kremlin propaganda site and other Kremlin assets. The only American we see fighting now is a Texan fighting with Givi in the DNR.
- No, the US is not arming Ukraine. Humvee gifts or MREs or bullet-proof vests are non-lethal aid, which is no secret. There are no arms coming to Ukraine via some other country. If there were, we'd see them on the battlefield. The thousands of Russians, including numerous GRU agents would have spotted and tweeted them by now, even if nobody else did!
Specialities of the House
13. Col. Strelkov's Chicken [Gen. Tso's Chicken]
- The fact that this Russian citizen who admits he was in the FSB and is also said by the EU to have been in the GRU was leading the troops until July of last year lets us know this isn't a civil war but Russian-backed separatism. The fact that he was pushed aside doesn't mean the separatists have run amok or that Putin can't control them. He sent Russians in to do the job in August in Ilovaisk and many of them were killed. He sent more Russians in to Debaltsevo. It doesn't matter if the soldiers found are contractors and have their passports with them as evidence of that status. A contracted soldier is still given orders by central Russian military command and deployed in Ukraine to wage war that leads to taking of territory.
- Strelkov did in fact authorize the VKontakte group to use his name and banner and issue his statements; indeed they issued one such authorized Strelkov report two hours before the downing of MH17 on July 17, 2014. He never disavowed this massive (currently 450,000 people) group that is a major fund-raiser and recruiter for separatists. Two notices went up on this group July 17, 2014 about downing what they thought was a Ukrainian cargo plane. Both were removed.
But it's not true that these were not authorized by Strelkov. The notices were taken from a hidden forum, Antikvariat.ru which Strelkov moderates closely and posts too frequently -- and which the moderator of this trusted VKontakte group could see -- you can't invoke the authenticity of Antikvariat and then forget to acknowledge that point. Furthermore, my research shows posts were removed from that forum, including what may well have been his first report of the downing of the plane -- and in any event he knew about these posts as he posted once and hour throughout the day and was a frequent reader and poster of this forum. It doesn't matter if he has personal social media accounts or not; he has this, and on this forum is where the news of the bragging occurred and was suspiciously removed from both this forum and VK.
-- It's not true that Russia burns, betrays, and kills operatives like Strelkov when they are finished using him. He's been in the Chechen, Bosnian, and Abkhazian wars and was involved in Transnistria as were other DNR leaders. Such people are kept for the next round and he continues to influence social media and the legion of ultranationalists that support the war.
14. No Masha Gaidar [Mu Shu Pancakes]
-- It doesn't matter if Masha Gaidar thinks Crimea was rightfully returned to Russia even if she later said it was done wrongfully. She's not being asked to run negotiations to return Crimea; she's being asked to help run Odessa, a strategic region rife with corruption as it is a sea port through which Russia sends masses of its arms for sale, which the separatists keep attacking with terrorist attacks (and here the term "terrorist" is appropriate where it is not with their conventional warfare in other settings). Masha has experience as a deputy to the government of Kirov; she is the daughter of a famous economist, Yegor Gaidar.
-- No, Masha is not an agent of the US, a tool of Western imperialism or anything except an opposition figure who rightfully criticized Putin. While it would be ideal if Poroshenko let think thanks and NGOs produce visions and consulting for his administration in the more sophisticated way of the West rather than actually putting foreigners in his administration, he's in a war for his very country and he's doing it his way, inviting known critics and even enemies of Putin to help fortify his rear which is weak in the area of corruption and management.
- Say, I know another foreign country that has sent hordes of advisors over to its neighbor to attempt to create a new country and whose nationals even serve in such high office as prime minister, commanders of troops and many other kind of officials, let alone governor of a region or deputy to a governor. Just sayin!
There is no international law violated here as it isn't against the UN covenants to go and advise foreign governments in a think tank or even as a government employee.
I never heard Russia complain when a Turkish citizen assumed a high-ranking position in Turkmen national security nor when Dmitry Trenin who works for whomever he works for becoming an influential figure in Washington at Carnegie. Nothing to see here, move along.
15. Russia [Happy Family]
- It is not Russophobic (if the term indeed has any meaning) to criticize Russia.
- You do not "hate Russians" if you criticize Putin's war.
- I am personally not "a Russophobe" if I have two children who are half Russian by my Russian ex-husband, Russian in-laws, and Russian friends; speak, read and write Russian fluently; spent my whole like studying Russia and translating Russia; read Russian literature and press avidly.
- Sanctions are rightly put in place to punish bad behavior in the interconnected international arena. They are not there to demolish competitors in business or to establish a "uniplolar world."
Say, about that "unipolar world."
What country can't stop a war in which hundreds of thousands of civilians have been killed? What country can't stop a war in which "only" 6,500 people have been killed? What country can't stop the annexation of other countries' territories?
Hint: Not Russia.
16. Poroshenko Done Wrong [Egg Foo Young]
- Poroshenko should not have to divest himself of his companies or wealth to serve in public office. This is a strange Soviet socialist idea that shouldn't have been imposed on him. No Western president or leader has had to do this.
-- Poroshenko has actually dealt with corruption in ways far outstripping the Greeks, getting rid of a powerful regional governor, gotten rid of the SBU and other officials, removing police and security instantly after the Right Sector shot and killed a security guard and wounded police and civilians in Mukachevo in a tangled mess of corruption and patronage and contraband.
17. Buryats in Donbass [Mongolian Chicken]
- Yes there are a number of highly visible Buryats fighting in Ukraine. Actually, most of the videos and pictures are of the same guy. The most famous Buryat was severely burned and gave the lie to the notion that there were "no" Russian citizens. Contractors are ordered and deployed. They aren't volunteers. Who ordered these Buryat non-volunteers into Ukraine?
18. Aleksandr Zakharchenko [Curry Shrimp]
- None of you ever make groups fanning Zakharchenko; you almost never feature him on TV or the news unless he makes a dramatic threat on Mariupol; we don't know what he did in his "fight club" all those years; he's supposed to be the indigenous leader of this not-Russian-invasion, yet...not even a t-shirt.
19. Motorola Givi [Moo Goo Gai Pan]
- Meanwhile, these two clowns were massively injected into mainstream state media and "Novorossiya" resources for months on end in every conceivable sit-com variation.
Yet now, when Strelkov says they've been fired as actors and don't even seem to be in the theater of battle, none of you have a word to say. I mean, not word one.
20. Russian-backed Separatists [Sweet and Sour Pork]
Once you ponder the previous two entries, you'll have to explain this one.
- No, there is no civil war. Before the takeover of Crimea and more than a 100 buildings in the Donbass, there were no terrorist attacks with a message of separatism; there were no mass demonstrations; there were not even any NGOs. The DNR flag showing up at Seliger a year before the "little green men" is interesting, but not a significant mass movement.
- No, there is no indigenous uprising. It was created and launched in the Kremlin. It's a hybrid war. But that doesn't mean there aren't real local fighters who think they are defending their homeland and their family, especially that one guy who is shown over and over again on Novorossiya TV. Sure there are. But where they before February 2014? Nowhere. And why are there so few of them? In fact, more have fled to Russia as refugees than have taken up arms to defend their homeland. Why? The leadership is constantly fretting about this and shaming people -- starting with a fighter who appears to be Givi in Lugansk (er, what was this fellow from Ilovaisk doing in Lugansk anyway?) and on through Strelkov's every message -- that the men are pussies and hiding behind the women on refugee buses.
If things are so swell in the DNR, why all these refugees? The separatists took over the DAP, yet the problems remained and the refugees kept fleeing.
- There is now a massive body of data showing Russian presence in Ukraine; Cargo 200 (dead bodies returning to the motherland from the battlefield) is only the most obvious grim reminder. Anyone who reads the daily OSCE SMM reports can't miss their reports of constant infusions of armor and people in areas where they are in training bases or staging areas.
What does this fortune cookie say?