Category: Ukraine

    Links: Russo-Ukrainian War

    Here are some worthwhile articles related to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. No paywalls – all links lead to freely available texts.

    Under Cover of War: The Kremlin’s Fascist Project" by Nancy Ries, Today’s Totalitarianism, August 2022.

    The war is a profound turning point, ending any pretense of “soft” authoritarianism with its modicum of space for resistance. The Kremlin’s fascist project may not succeed in the end, but it is crucial to see its effects within Russia as a fundamental component of the 2022 attack on Ukraine…. The Kremlin structures its war-making machine in ways that deliberately produce atrocity…. [And on TV, there is] a “pedagogy” of exterminist consciousness and practice, a key tool of the fascist project unfolding within and beyond Russia.

    In Ukraine, I saw the greatest threat to the Russian world isn’t the west – it’s Putin" by Timothy Garton Ash, The Guardian, December 17, 2022.

    The Kremlin’s imperial war has made its own culture and language a common enemy for people across its former empire.

    “The Skill Involved in Zelensky’s Congressional Address” by James Fallows, Breaking the News, December 23, 2022.

    The words of the speech were ‘left brain,’ with careful writerly eloquence. The in-person performance was ‘right brain,’ with emotional power beyond the words. The combination was remarkable.

    “Special Issue: Weaponizing History in the Russo-Ukrainian War,” edited by Beatrice de Graaf and Lien Verpoest, Journal of Applied History, December 2022.


    Drawing in black, white, and red. Child in center with broken pieces of their former life around them, Russian rockets sticking tail-first out of the ground, each marked with a big Z and a rashist message. Captions: 'Stolen Childhood' and 'Stop Rashism'

    Art by @neivanmade on Instagram. The term "rashism" is what Ukrainians call Russian fascism.

    Death Wish for Their Soldiers

    I can’t shake these lines from Stasik’s “Lullaby for the Enemy” about Ukraine’s Donbas:

    You wanted this land
    Now mix with it
    You are my land now
    Sleep, sleep, sleep . . .

    I’m guessing that “earth” would be another translation option.

    More than a Euphemism

    Perhaps Putin’s phrase “special military operation” should be seen as something more insidious than a euphemism for war. At the very least, it is consistent with Russia’s genocidal aims and practices in Ukraine.

    If we take the Clausewitzian metaphor of war as a duel somewhat literally, the Russian invasion of Ukraine becomes a struggle between two equals, two entities with the same dignity, the same right to exist. After all, duels have traditionally been fought between two parties capable of giving satisfaction for a perceived injury by one to the other’s honor. An officer could duel another officer, but not a sergeant, a lowly conscript, or a civilian occupying a more modest social position.

    By calling its invasion a “special military operation,” Russia denies Ukraine’s worthiness and sovereignty. It casts Ukraine and Ukrainians as other, fundamentally inferior, or devoid of honor, so to speak. Rejecting Ukrainian statehood outright, the term “special military operation” facilitates what the talking heads in Russia discuss openly on state TV: genocide, the elimination of Ukrainian culture, ethnicity, and language.

    At the same time, the term “special military operation” renders Ukrainian resistance illegitimate in Russian eyes. Thus, Russia brands the soldiers who defended Mariupol to the end “terrorists.” And its leaders become apoplectic when Ukraine dares to fire on targets inside Russia and Russian-occupied Crimea.

    Given the logic of Russia’s rhetoric and violence, the problem with “special military operation” becomes one not only of euphemism hiding war from Russians. The euphemism also creates space for, even favors, genocidal rhetoric and policy.