Ukraine War Day #22

Dear Readers:

Yesterday I saw this very interesting videoblog by Yury Podolyaka, Ukrainian pundit and battlefield expert who is emerging as one of the most popular pro-Russian analysts of this war. Yury has been doing this since 2014, he is said to be one of the few bloggers who got the Azerbaijani-Armenia war right from the very beginning. He is a straight-talker and a straight-shooter. He doesn’t pull any punches, and he doesn’t sugarcoat. In this piece, he delves into deeper issues than just who took what town yesterday. Here he shares some interesting thoughts and prognostications. His words ring true within me, because I myself suffered from some of those same illusions, which he is now forthrightly discarding. Perhaps replacing them with another set of illusions, but I’ll get into that…


  • The title translates as “What is in store for the Ukraine is not only De-Nazification, but also De-Oligarchization, and Nationalizations” [in the meaning of nationalizing property].
  • Yury shares some biographical information about himself. He belonged to a loosely “anti-fascist” movement of pre-war Ukraine. Both before and after the 2014 coup he and like-minded friends used to do a lot of talking and thinking about how things might change for the better. They became good friends and loyal comrades. He and fellow blogger Mikhail Onufrienko became acquainted in 2014 and became really good chums.
  • Knowing very well a lot of people in “pro-Russian” cities like Kharkov, Dnepropetrovsk, Zaporozhie, etc., when these comrades were brainstorming among themselves, they used to postulate various types of scenarios, how to resist the Maidan government. This was all secret and conspiratorial. Yury feels like he can divulge these secrets now, because IT IS ALL COMPLETELY MOOT at this point!
  • For example, they fantasized that Russia might be able to make secret deals with various elites and oligarchs from the Southeast part of the country. Who would promise to hand their cities over the moment that Russian troops entered.
  • On the very first day of this war, 24 February 2022, some of those illusions were still in play, obviously on the Russian side. Because the Russian leaders made a huge mistake: They trusted some people in Kharkov, Russian soldiers cut off the city and tried to go in too soon, thinking to establish an early bridgehead. They had been led to believe that the city leaders would welcome Russian soldiers with flowers and declare a Peoples Republic of Kharkov. Instead, the Kharkov authorities took the side of the existing Maidan regime, and stabbed the Russians in the back, thus resulting in a large number of Russian losses on that very first day of the war. The Russian army learned a bitter lesson that day: There are no shortcuts. And nor can you trust any of the Ukrainians who stayed in power after 2014. [2 minutes in]
  • They should have listened to Yury’s chum, Mikhail Onufrienko, who has been making this point consistently ever since 2015: “Do not trust ANY of the self-proclaimed pro-Russian Ukrainian government officials.” These guys were birthed by the same system which birthed the Ukrainian Nationalists. They all feed from the same trough. These parasites have been feeding off the Ukrainian land and people for years, in perfect harmony with each other, but some pretending to have slightly different thoughts and opinions, and waving slightly different flags. But jointly working together in complete harmony to rape and rob the Ukrainian people. [3 minutes in]
  • Yury mockingly recalls how, for years, the same people would appear over and over again on the Ukrainian talk-shows, blathering how they needed to do something about “the problem of the oligarchs”, yada yada. They would declare that these oligarchs were all “pro-Russian”, and this is how they brainwashed people into believing that the oligarch problem was caused by Russians, not Ukrainians. And yet, these so-called “pro-Russian” oligarchs have all, to a man, rallied around the existing Ukrainian regime!
  • Admittedly, there is little point in rehashing all of this, because none of it really matters any more. That was all in the past, and is moot. We are turning a new page, what shall we write on this page?
  • Yury cannot even state to what degree he is grateful to these oligarchic clowns for finally revealing their true essence. Because now it might be possible to actually get rid of them, once and for all. [4 minutes in]
  • None of those old agreements or ties mean anything any more. After we win this war, Yury says, which we surely will, then we will finally have the freedom to build a brand new Ukraine without them, without the oligarchs. Without the so-called “elites”, they will be shoved out once and for all. They made their choice, because they believed that Ukraine would win the war. By doing so, by making this choice, they have untied our hands once and for all.
  • Which gives true hope that a new Ukraine can be reborn. Not only will it be free of Nazis (de-Nazification), but also free of Oligarchs (de-Oligarchization).
Young Siegfried shatters Grandpa’s Spear, thus introducing the New Order.
  • The third pillar of this new Ukraine will be Nationalization (of the properly of the oligarchs). Which means a return to socialism. This is the bit where I think that Yury, as a fine representative of “Soviet manhood”, may be indulging in a different set of illusions. If he believes that Putin’s aim is to restore the Soviet Union and socialism. Granted, this is the dream of many Donbass people, who still paint the hammer and sickle emblem on their tanks. Maybe they are still unaware that Putin is a capitalist to the marrow of his bones and has stated “de-Communization” as one of his goals in the Ukrainian campaign. But, whatever, we’ll just have to wait and see what happens.
  • In any case, Yury ends his post on a high note, calling for the construction of a New Ukraine and the building of a fair and just society “of a new type”. Granted, this is going to be a very tough job, given all the destruction of war. “And yet these mistakes of the past have granted us a very unique chance to build a new future. And I will personally devote every ounce of strength that is within me, so that we, as representatives of the new Ukraine, shall utilize this opportunity for the good of our people.”

Meanwhile, Back In Kherson

Returning to this story about Kherson. Which sort of contradicts Yury’s hopes, since the old authorities are still in power, despite full Russian occupation of the Oblast. (I just read yesterday that the Mayor and his second-banana dutifully joined the new “Committee for Public Safety” that the Russians set up to govern Kherson for the time being.)

Kherson has a colorful and interesting history. Recall that this was the very first base for the Russian fleet in the Black Sea (1778), founded by Catherine the Great after Russia’s victory in the Russia-Turkey War. It all started with a wharf and a fortress, then a city grew up around them. The city was given the Greek name Chersonese from the Greek word “Χερσόνησος” which means peninsula. The founding of Kherson preceded Sebastopol by 10 years.

Prince Grigory Potemkin

The first Governor of Kherson was appointed Prince Grigory Potemkin. Potemkin hired Ivan Abramovich Hannibal to build the city and fortress. Ivan was the eldest son of Peter the Great’s famous “Hannibal the Moor”, and thus was Pushkin great-uncle. Towards the end of the 18th century Alexander Suvorov managed the project to reinforce the city. It was around that same time that the shipbuilders at the wharf launched their first vessel of the Black Sea fleet, a ship called “Catherine’s Glory”.

Somewhat later, a new wharf was built in the city of Nikolaev, which diminished the importance of Kherson. Nonetheless, Kherson remained important as an industrial and trade hub for Novorossiya. It was around this same time that Odessa was also established by the Duc de Richelieu. Kherson became a major exporter of wine, and Russian landowners were encouraged to settle here and build estates. In Gogol’s novel “Dead Souls”, one of Chichikov’s schemes involved resettling his fictitious serfs in this region. The actual settlers were, in the main, ethnic Russian landowners along with their real serfs. By the end of the 19th century the population of Kherson looked something like, 30% ethnic Great Russians, with the rest being Jews, Ukrainians, and “Little Russians”.

During the Civil War, Ukrainian Nationalist forces such as Skoropadsky and Petliura, were never able to gain any traction here. In the 1930’s Kherson’s importance decreased as it became just a regional center of the Nikolaev Oblast.

[to be continued]

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6 Responses to Ukraine War Day #22

  1. Pingback: Journée de la guerre en Ukraine #22 – brunobertez

  2. Stephen T Johnson says:

    Yuri’s commentary has certainly been very helpful to me. It’ll be very interesting to see how the political phase of the settlement plays out – It’s clear that the old Ukraine will no longer be there, but who knows what will emerge in its’ place ? I hadn’t realized Kherson was part of the Greek project, I’d always assumed all those place names were _pol of some kind.
    In unrelated news, so glad to see everyone get out of the Mariupol theater.


    • yalensis says:

      Stephen, yes that was a relief, I was really worried about those people in the theater. Westie press (I saw something on MSNBC earlier today) is still reporting that Russians killed ’em all because they saw the words “Children” painted on the side of the theater. Russians just don’t like children, as soon as they see a child, they try to bomb it.

      Yeah, Kherson was a Greek city, the whole of Crimea was colonized by Greeks back in the day, if I am not mistaken. There were Turks as well, and Tatars, and just about everybody.
      It’s part of the cosmopolitan charm of the region. I have never been to the Crimea, I hope to go someday and visit all those Greek places and maybe archaeological sites, I’m really fascinated by that sort of thing.


  3. yalensis says:

    OMG, I just saw that pingback (above). I can’t believe somebody actually translated me into French. I feel very flattered!


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