The invasion will continue. I see no signs that Putin is about to relent.
The mounting number of dead and maimed, the growing destruction in Ukraine, will not stop him.
In his obstinacy – his unremitting cruelty – he is telling us that the West no longer matters to him.
He is counting on China for support. And on all those other countries that have chosen to side with them.
Putin’s actions are making clear the division in our world. On the one side China-Russia and their followers, on the other the West.
Meanwhile, shortages will worsen, inflation will increase while economic growth will likely decrease. For now.
But there’s always room for the unexpected.
Here’s Putin in his bunker on Sunday afternoon.
Just the day before he addressed a stadium filled with his supporters. He spoke to them for five minutes and reminded them of the absolute necessity of invading Ukraine. That nation was threatening all Russians. He was forced to act.
He is sitting at his desk. On the wall in front is an array of video monitors tracking the progress of the war. A bank of multi colored phones lies within easy reach.
On one of the screens the image of President Zelensky appears. It is a clip of Zelensky’s address to the British parliament a few days earlier. The audio is muted. Putin has replayed it several times already.
‘To be or not to be, he told them. What a joke. This man, this… nothing… that’s what he is, nothing at all, believes he can defy me. But I will squash him. No, not that… that’s too easy.
Instead, once I capture him, I will put him on trial for genocide against the Russian speaking people of Ukraine, and for being a Nazi. He says he’s Jewish, but I know he’s a Nazi.
How dare that man become a symbol of bravery while I, me, yes, Vladimir Putin, after all I’ve done, become a symbol of cruelty to the world. But it’s all disinformation. All of it. I am right, everyone else is wrong.
And I will kill, kill, kill until all of Ukraine is mine. Every corner of it.
Biden calls me a war criminal. What does he know.
I will join with China and together we’ll crush America.
But first… yes, first… I must have all of Ukraine, dead or alive. I don’t care.
My troops are now advancing again. And I’m firing more and more missiles, to destroy their towns and schools and hospitals. Everything that stands.
He wants to talk, says Zelensky. But there’s nothing to talk. I’ve already made it clear that I need total surrender. Everything.
And if he doesn’t surrender… if my army is not enough… then I’ll drop a bomb on Kyiv. A big, fat, nuclear bomb… and I’ll flatten that city. And I’ll demand an immediate unconditional surrender or I’ll drop a second nuclear bomb, on Lviv.
And Russians will love me… and the Chinese too… yes… they all will. And we’ll start all over again in Ukraine. Like the Japanese did. In fact, I’ll help write their new constitution’.
Meanwhile, in a suburb of St Petersburg, in the basement of an apartment building, a group of Russian officers have gathered in a secret meeting that is now drawing to a close.
There are seven officers gathered in a circle, facing each other. Three of them are women. The meeting was convened by officer Y7X – his code name – who now addresses the participants.
Officer Y7X – ‘His actions do not represent the essence of our country. We invaded on February 24th and we have not even seized Kyiv. Instead, we’re killing civilians, women and children. How are we going to explain this to our heirs? How will our nation explain it to history?
We are a strong and smart country. We were the first in space, we have made important contributions in the arts, in science, in industry, but under this man’s leadership we have come to worship weapons above all else and to lend support to dictators everywhere. We have lost our purpose’.
Officer Y9G – ‘It is the moment to act. We’re all conscious of what’s at stake. And the personal risks we run’.
Officer Y4M – ‘This may be the last time we see each other. But we have made our choices’.
Officer Y5Z – ‘We may yet prevent the use of chemical weapons or worse, of nuclear ones’.
Officer Y2Q – ‘The odds are against us succeeding, I believe we are all aware of that, and yet we know we must proceed. If we fail, we commit to not betraying each other’.
Officer Y8H – ‘Conscious as we are that, should we fail, the actions we are about to take may never be made public’.
Officer 76D – ‘And that neither our spouses nor our children will ever learn of them’.
Now officer Y7X stands and holding up his clenched fist says, ‘For Russia!’
They all stand and repeat in unison. ‘For Russia!’
Each officer embraces every other member of the group and one by one, with intervals of a few minutes, leave their location.
Oscar Valdes oscar.valdes.net, medium.com, anchor.fm, buzzsprout, apple and google podcasts