ES. Vienna, April 22, 2022
Putin’s “technical” operation in Ukraine has entered the territory of Dante’s Inferno, or of a huge psychiatric clinic. The Russian defence minister Sergei Shoigu, now back from his mysterious disappearance, was told by Putin (firmly gripping an unusually short table) that the “operation” had achieved success, and that the devasted city of Mariupol, now mostly rubble, “liberated”.
Announcing this decision to his silent video audience of one (Shoigu), Putin said that the Russian troops should refrain from risking their own safety by storming or crawling around in the Azovstal plant, ordering them to besiege it instead, “so that not even a fly can escape.”
- Full roundup of developments during Day 57 in the Guardian, London – including Putin’s refusal to agree on a four-day Easter ceasefire.
Meanwhile, the Russian Orthodox Church is increasingly divided about the war, despite the obdurate loyalty to Putin of 75-year-old Patriarch Kirill. The issue of the church’s part in endorsing – even encouraging – the massacres is the focus of numerous reports and serious analysis. So too is Putin’s devotion to the nationalist philosopher, Ivan Ilyin (1883 – 1954), a devotee of Mussolini and Hitler who in exile in 1933 published a book praising National Socialism. His malign influence has been explored most thoroughly by the historian Prof Tim Snyder, author of the influential The Road to Unfreedom (publ. 2018, when it was described as “a good wake up call”, though at the time it was not much heeded).
Ilyn’s tailor-made form of Russian “Christian fascism” appears to have fascinated Putin for years – he even had the Russian state buy up Ilyin’s papers from Michigan State University in 2006, and attended the huge funeral a few days ago of the nationalist MP Vladimir Zhironivsky.
- Guardian 22/04/22 Round-up of developments Day 57 of war
- CNN 22/04/22: US sending additional $800m military aid including classified “Phoenix Ghost.”
- Channel 4 UK 21/04/22 How Putin’s grand plan unravelled
- MSBC 21/04/22 Looted iPods allow owners to track movements of Russian troops
- CNN 20/04/22 Former CIA Russia director – Putin wants to be ‘czar of 21st century’
- MSNBC 19/04/22 Ukraine has leaked personal information of Russian troops & spies
- FT 19/04/22 : Kremlin’s ‘holy war’ against Ukraine
- Literary Hub 27/01/22 Podcast incl NYT Moscow bureau chief on eve of Ukraine invasion