Near noon Sunday in California’s Central Valley — even out here on the Left Coast, Ukraine is just a click or scroll away from the continuing horror of war. Vlad Putin and his boys are shown doing a bang-up job of displaying monster characteristics despite propaganda to the contrary back in Mother Russia.
Control of the lies:
"As Ukrainians deal with the devastation of the Russian attacks in their homeland, many are also encountering a confounding & almost surreal backlash from family members in Russia, who refuse to believe that Russian soldiers could bomb innocent people."
— Dan Lamothe (@DanLamothe) March 6, 2022
News curtain per The New York Times, updated this afternoon:
As Ukrainians deal with the devastation of the Russian attacks in their homeland, many are also encountering a confounding and almost surreal backlash from family members in Russia, who refuse to believe that Russian soldiers could bomb innocent people, or even that a war is taking place at all.
These relatives have essentially bought into the official Kremlin position: that President Vladimir V. Putin’s army is conducting a limited “special military operation” with the honorable mission of “de-Nazifying” Ukraine.
Mr. Putin has referred to the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelensky, a native Russian speaker with a Jewish background, as a “drug-addled Nazi” in his attempts to justify the invasion.
Those narratives are emerging amid a wave of disinformation emanating from the Russian state as the Kremlin moves to clamp down on independent news reporting while shaping the messages most Russians are receiving.
An estimated 11 million people in Russia have Ukrainian relatives. Many Ukrainian citizens are ethnic Russians, and those living in the southern and eastern parts of the country largely speak Russian as their native language.
Russian television channels do not show the bombardment of Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital, and its suburbs, or the devastating attacks on Kharkiv, Mariupol, Chernihiv and other Ukrainian cities.
They also do not show the peaceful resistance evident in places like Kherson, a major city in the south that Russian troops captured several days ago, and certainly not the protests against the war that have cropped up across Russia.
Instead they focus on the Russian military’s successes, without discussing the casualties among Russian soldiers. Many state television correspondents are embedded in eastern Ukraine, and not in the cities being pummeled by missiles and mortars.
Recent news reports made no mention of the 40-mile-long Russian convoy on a roadway north of Kyiv.
Misha Katsiurin, a Ukrainian restaurateur, concluded with a nutshell analysis:
“They are our relatives, they’re the closest people we have, and this is not about them,” he said.
“I am not angry at my father — I am angry at the Kremlin. I’m angry about the Russian propaganda. I’m not angry at these people. I understand that I cannot blame them in this situation.”
He said he thought about cutting his father off but decided that was the wrong response.
“The easiest thing to do would be to say, ‘OK, now I don’t have a father,’” he said. “But I believe that I need to do this because it is my father.”
He said that if everyone worked to explain the truth to their families, the narrative could change. After a post on Instagram complaining about his father’s disbelief went viral, he launched a website, papapover.com, which means “Papa, believe,” with instructions for Ukrainians about how to speak to their family members about the war.
“There are 11 million Russians who have relatives in Ukraine,” he said.
“With 11 million people, everything can happen — from revolution to at least some resistance.”
A reality head-punch when it comes — eventually somewhere down the line it will come — will be devastatingly horrible for a shitload of people. Including Vlad.
Just one, small example of this reality:
WARNING: GRAPHIC IMAGES: Today I witnessed Russian troops deliberately targeting civilians fleeing for their lives from the village of Irpin. At least three members of a family of four were killed in front of me. @nytimes https://t.co/lR0a5FRpXX
— lynsey addario (@lynseyaddario) March 6, 2022
Again the NYT this morning — hard reading. A taste:
As the mortars got closer to the stream of civilians, people ran, pulling children, trying to find a safe spot. But there was nothing to hide behind.
A shell landed in the street, sending up a cloud of concrete dust and leaving one family — a mother, a father, a teenage son and a daughter who appeared about 8 years old — sprawled on the ground.
Soldiers rushed to help, but the woman and children were dead.
The father still had a pulse but was unconscious and severely wounded.
Their luggage, a blue roller suitcase and some backpacks, was scattered about, along with a green carrying case for a small dog that was barking.
Along with the carnage, nowhere of an end in sight for this murderous shit, either.
Despite it all, once again here we are…
(Illustration out front: Salvador Dalí’s ‘Galatea of the Spheres,’ found here).