- Kyiv – Even the statues are leaving. For decades, the stone and bronze busts of Fyodor Ushakov and Alexander Suvorov, a pair of 18th-century Russian commanders, looked over the centre of Kherson, a city in Ukraine’s south. In late October, under the cover of darkness, they disappeared, presumably carried off by the Russian troops who have occupied the city since March. The living are on the move, too. The puppet authorities installed by the Russians are evacuating thousands of the city’s remaining residents across the Dnieper river, deeper into Russian-controlled territory. Some Russian officers are following in their footsteps. They are not packing light. Ukrainian officials say cash has been removed from the vaults of Promsvyazbank, the biggest Russian bank in the city. Looting has become common.
Category: The Economist
John Roberts has voiced concern: “Simply because people disagree with an opinion is not a basis for questioning the legitimacy of the court.”
It is all a bit passive-aggressive. It is also somewhat insulting to the intelligence of Americans who feel they are past the stage when the parents must spell out to each other the words they hope will not be understood. What the judges are talking about, when they talk about the court’s legitimacy, is whether the court is acting like just another political branch of government. And everyone knows the answer: of course it is. When Mitch McConnell, then Senate majority leader, refused for 294 days to grant even a hearing to President Barack Obama’s last pick for the court, calculating that doing so might help elect a Republican who would choose someone else, he did not protect anyone’s legitimacy. He advanced ideas of jurisprudence that, by happy coincidence, matched his political objectives. He got what he wanted — not just once, as it turned out, but three times, locking in the conservative majority. Can Americans really be expected to pretend that was not a political act, with a political outcome?
Mr. Putin has reportedly insisted that his generals hold Kherson city at all costs. Ukraine has been exploiting this stubbornness by destroying bridges and so pinning Russian troops down in what appear to be indefensible positions with their backs against the Dnieper river. The Russian forces there are now in danger of encirclement with no obvious way to retreat. Surrender may be their only option.
- In an unpopular decision in June, the Supreme Court rescinded a constitutional right to abortion. Since then Mr. Biden’s net approval rating has risen by nine percentage points. The Democrats’ margin has improved by two points in polls asking which party should control Congress.
- In almost every close Senate race this year, Democrats are receiving more in-state donations than their opponents. J. D. Vance (Ohio) has yet to hit $500,000 in contributions, even when including those from outside Ohio. His Democratic competitor, Tim Ryan, is nearing $20m, a third of which is from Ohio. Looking at the in-state donors for which records are available, Mark Kelly (Arizona) has collected $5.2m to his opponent’s $500,000, and Mehmet Oz (Pennsylvania) has $700,000 against Mr. Fetterman’s $4.8m. With polls and fundamental factors favouring Mr. Kelly and Mr. Fetterman, the model puts their chances of victory at 88%.
Self will still post, though no more joining photo challenges, as WordPress informed her that she had exceeded her storage limit by 120%. This is a really, really long-lasting blog: when she started it, son was still in Cal Poly/San Luis Obispo. She doesn’t want to do what she did last year: She coughed up $300 just so WordPress wouldn’t keep threatening to take her blog down. This year, she paid $96 for the “premium” plan which just means she gets to keep her blog. But she’s not a business; who knows how much longer she’ll be able to keep this up.
Her quote of the day is from the latest issue of The Economist:
In the years to come, NATO armed forces will queue at the door of Ukraine’s general staff to learn from the commanders who halted the Russian army’s march on Kyiv and Odessa and inflicted more than 60,000 casualties in six months of war.— Leaders, the economist, 20 august 2022
Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.
Wowee! What a Fun Foto Challenge. Thanks, Cee Neuner!
I love Cee’s gallery. I decided to copy her movement: from “wide view” to “micro”
Self has such enormous respect for Reznikov. He was Defense Minister for only four months when Russia invaded. He expected “to busy himself with bureaucratic reforms.” Instead, on Feb. 24, he kissed his wife goodbye and went to work. For the next three weeks, he and his core team of advisers “moved around secret sites in the capital: One of the most uncomfortable things was waking up each morning in a new bed.”
No one expected Ukraine to survive. But those canny Ukrainians: in early February, they had already begun secretly moving military units out from their permanent bases. They “hid their air-defence systems and attack aircraft, replacing them with mock-ups.” They rapidly “enacted a new law on territorial defense to arm 100,000 civilians in three days.” Which means they never, not once, entertained the idea of surrendering. All of which would have been clear to Putin or to anyone who’d been paying attention.
Because of this level of preparation, Volodymyr Zelensky made his decision to stay in Kiev. He did not run and form a government in exile. And “with every victory on the battlefield, Western governments began to believe that Ukraine actually had a chance of winning.”
Four months of war. In February, Zelensky had no idea about the kind of wartime leader he would be. Talk about rising to the challenge! He became the leader Ukraine needed.
The Ukrainian people have shown such tremendous courage. “In some areas, Russian forces have ten times Ukraine’s firepower.” Ukraine has lost some territory (Severodonetsk), but whatever gains Russia has made have had to be ground out, inch by inch.
Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.
Recommended by The Economist.
From the Preface:
- Even though books like Anne Frank’s Diary or Eugen Kogon’s SS-State disrupted the process of repression, it was only with the Auschwitz trials beginning in 1963 that many Germans began to reckon with the crimes that had been committed in their name.
It is Harald Jahner’s first book.
Never even heard of the book SS-State! Must look up Eugen Kogon.
I read your article on the situation in Narva, a town in Estonia close to the border with Russia (“Who’s next?” 5 February). Today’s 80% ethnic Russian majority is not the result of a “legacy” of Narva belonging to the Russian empire and then to the Soviet Union. In fact, at the end of the 1930s the overwhelming majority of Narva’s inhabitants were ethnically Estonian. The demographic change was made first in 1944 by Soviet carpet bombing that destroyed 95% of buildings and forced survivors to flee. The Soviets then did not allow Estonian citizens to return to their hometown, which had become part of a new Soviet military uranium mining complex.
Native Estonians were not considered trustworthy to live in that area. They were replaced by people resettled from the Soviet Union. Today’s Russian majority was created by local ethnic cleansing.