On Friday Vladimir Putin and Russia “annexed” four regions of Ukraine, based on the “referenda” that they had executed there over the previous weeks:
Together these regions account for about 18% of the territory of Ukraine.
Some of you may have heard that the war is not going particularly well for Mother Russia and Mr. Putin. It’s going so badly, in fact, that Putin has had to call up 300,000 “reservists” to bolster his troops.
That has caused thousands upon thousands of draft-age Russian men to head for the exits. In fact, estimates are that nortwards of 200,000 have arrived in places like Turkey, Kazakhstan and Georgia (the country). It’s a lot like all the Ukrainian families that fled Ukraine at the beginning of the war.
What are places like Turkey, Kazakhstan and Georgia going to do with all these young Russian men?
We’ll find out, I guess.
But in the meantime, you can do the math: 300,000 call-ups, 200,000 departures. This isn’t going to work out the way he had hoped for Vlad the Bad.
Russia, although it has by far the largest land mass, is only the 9th most populous country in the world. Indonesia, Pakistan, Nigeria, Brazil and Bangladesh all have populations larger than Mother Russia, never mind China and India. Or the United States. At 145 million, Russia only has about 44% of the population of the United States. Vast swaths of Russia are just like northern Canada, acres and acres of evergreen forests, where the bears outnumber the people.
Lions, tigers and bears, oh my!
Minus the lions and tigers.
But Putin — who clearly thought the invasion of Ukraine was going to be like Germany’s “Blitzkrieg” on Poland — is now seven months into a war that he guessed would be over in a week.
In the meantime, the Russians appear to have lost more men in those seven months than we lost in a decade in Vietnam. Hence the 300,000 “reservists.”
By declaring these four regions to be part of Russia now, Putin can threaten the rest of the world to defend “Russian territory” with nuclear arms.
This is now the 2nd time in the last half a decade that we’ve had a total madman in charge of a nuclear stockpile. Putin (unlike Trump) didn’t start out as a crazy person, but absolute power has clearly gone to his head.
One can only hope that there are Russian generals who — like their American counterparts — are unlikely to use a nuclear weapon when ordered to do so.
It does suggest that maybe we have to rethink this whole nuclear arsenals thing, because sooner or later crazy people are bound to get hold of them. Not excluding Kim Jong-un of North Korea, here, who would be crazy person #3.