Ukraine War Day #97: Severo-Donetsk Taken (Mostly)

Dear Readers:

This is not the first Internet-era war, but one would have to say, never before in human history have people had so many options to follow events and battles in such detail, almost in real time. Thanks to war correspondents, Telegraph, Twitter, youtube and its various clones, bloggers and even Tik-Tokkers. Those who have been following the daily grind, know that Allied (i.e., Russians, Chechens, DPR/LPR, etc.) forces captured the bulk of the city of Severo-Donetsk over this past weekend; mainly the residential portion. Ukrainian forces carried out a relatively orderly rout (leaving their equipment behind) westward to a more defensible line in the twin city of Lisichansk. Thanks to this, the residents of Severo-Donetsk did not have to undergo the agony of, say, Mariupol residents, watching their homes destroyed one by one.

Chechens Greeted As Friends

Reporter Anton Antonov recounts how a local resident named Marina was happy to see the Russian (mostly Chechen) troops arrive in her neighborhood: “I ran to tell all my neighbors that the LPR and Russians had arrived, and they all came tearing out of their houses and hugging each other, they couldn’t believe that our people had finally arrived.”

Kid on a scooter greets Chechen soldier.
You can’t fake that kind of smile.

This sounds like propaganda, but it is backed up if you go onto the Intel Slava Z site and watch some of the videos. You can see the local residents hanging out in their courtyards, chatting and drinking tea, and then some very nice and polite Chechen soldiers just wander by, speaking Russian in their distinct accent, asking if everybody is okay; do they need any supplies; and the residents react happily but calmly (not with fake euphoria) like they just saw some neighbors they hadn’t seen in a while: “Hi, great to see you!” And “Thanks so much for doing what you do!” etc. One old guy says earnestly, “Tell Ramzan I said thanks for defending us!” The bad news is that there is no electricity, no gas, and no water. I think if I were a resident there I might be just a little bit ticked at the Russians: “You bastards, why you had to shell my electricity? Now I can’t make my morning coffee…” There is also no cellphone service. According to Marina, most of the 100,000 some residents evacuated before the battle started, leaving only an estimated 10-12,000, including herself. They will have to tough it out until power and services are restored.

One might note here the very fruitful military relationship that has developed over the years between Russians and Chechens. The two peoples have learned a lot from each other. The Chechens have become masters of urban warfare (some of these tactics they learned in Grozny, back in the day when they were fighting against Russians); and have taught the Russians a lot of these skills, which were sorely needed int his conflict. In return, the Russians, thanks to their experience in Syria, have become masters of the hybrid warfare — fighting with one hand, while delivering humanitarian aid with the other. The Chechens have learned the importance of evacuating and feeding civilians, in the process of trying to keep the battlefield clear. They have learned that war doesn’t just involve violent combat between men, there is also a time when a big manly soldier is tasked with bringing diapers and feminine hygiene products to the local residents!

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11 Responses to Ukraine War Day #97: Severo-Donetsk Taken (Mostly)

  1. colliemum says:

    Thanks, yalensis, as always.
    There’s one point I’d like to make. it’s something which i find increasingly upsetting. Yes, as yous ay: we can ‘follow’ this war in all its horror and also see the humanity of the Russian and Chechens’ side. But alas, there are too many videos – and I find this more and more disturbing! – where the video makers and video providers add some ‘hard rock’ or other music to their videos, making the whole thing look increasingly like some distant video game, some entertainment.
    This then contributes to the growing callousness in people’s feelings and in the way they comment (not on here and not you, yalensis!).
    This also means it’s so easy to forget that real, actual people suffer and die and have suffered and died, and it means especially that the civilians, who’ve been bearing so much, for so long, are disregarded because there are no videos documenting that, with or without rock music.


    • Cortes says:

      Well said. I close down any videos with those rock soundtracks. I also dislike intensely any other musical accompaniment, even the softest.


      • yalensis says:

        Amen to both of you. It is one thing to show the news, even dark and horrible stuff. But people should still show respect, especially to the wounded and dead. This is not a video game. Real people on both sides are suffering and dying, and that’s not okay.


    • Bukko Boomeranger says:

      There’s always the “mute” button. I agree about not liking the death metal soundtracks. Too rah-rah, emotionally glorifying killing. I rarely watch them because I don’t like to see people die. In my medical career, I’ve seen that enough in real life. (In medical or hospice settings, not as graphic as the war porn that’s on so many war vids.) It indicates a sickness in the soul to geeek out over such stuff.


  2. et Al says:

    The only thing I can think of ‘value’ to add is that all this will be ignored by the Pork Pie News Networks in much the same way the liberation of Aleppo and the saving of the largish christian armenian community, particularly the joyus occasion of their first Christmas not under western backed/sponsored/look the other way salafi-jihadi control and the erection of a giant christmas tree.

    If there has been one thing consistent of all our (west’s) wars of choice in the last few decades in the Middle East, Christian minorities have been very bady hit as a consequence, not that anyone cares. But then again, at least in u-Rope we are post-Christian to a significant degree (save births, deaths batisms whatever and funerals).

    Vis the Chechens, it yet again shows that Russia power does not seek to humilitate its enemies in defeat (at least until now). Being beaten is a lesson enough. The wars of Chechnya were awful, but massive amounts of money were spent on rebuilding it since and being intelligent enough to set out guidelines but not interfer too much shows the kind of subtlety the west has not practiced for a very long time.


    • yalensis says:

      Thanks, Al. Yes, the friendship between Russia and Chechnya is an amazing lesson in the fact that past enemies can become friends and allies.
      It also helps that many Chechens (like Ramzan himself, and his father) were smart enough to figure out that they were being played by the Americans and their NATO shaitani (=”demons”). Would that some Ukrainians might wise up and figure that out as well, but it is not very likely, I fear.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Lex says:

    Even assuming some level of propaganda, the Chechens have a certain something. I’ve read that many in the Muslim world look at Chechens in Ukraine as what the term jihad (in a military sense) is supposed to mean. I dig it, having watched them go from a firefight to carrying kids to safety and seem like both are the most natural thing in the world.

    The US clearly thought (may still think) that Russia will get an insurgency. It might still. But I’d guess that US planners used US experience in Iraq and Afghanistan. Neither are good models because in Ukraine every Allied soldier can speak directly with every Ukrainian civilian. And both can read the subtleties of the other’s behavior, hear it in their voices. Moreover, neither is relying on translators who may have their own motives, sponsors or failings. If you get bad vibes from the translator, can you build trust with the armed man communicating through the translator? Counter insurgency is primarily a trust issue.

    That russia is running a humanitarian operation as big as the military one is both impressive and should be considered when discussing the pace. They’re already demolishing buildings in Mariupol. It appears that in addition to the emergency services people there are large numbers of the construction management and skilled trades types. A tent city is being built for them, something like 1000 people. Getting right to that means that there will be jobs for locals (I assume). And for all the things you could say about Soviet brutalism in residential construction, all that concrete can be ground up near by and used to make more concrete apartment buildings this year. This sort of action is also counter insurgency.


  4. peter moritz says:

    The picture on the homefront looks a bit different and shows who the real winners will be in all likelihood, according to Helmer:

    “The terms of pain relief and life insurance which the oligarchs are discussing with Putin are different. The oligarchs want to be compensated for what they have lost offshore with an even larger stock of assets onshore, including takeover of exiting foreign companies and privatization of state assets; low-interest Central Bank finance; import substitution and labour subsidies; tax holidays; postponement of ecological compliance; deregulation; amnesty for past crimes, immunity from prosecution for future ones.

    Secret though the details of their agreement are – must be in time of war – the new shape of the oligarchs’ wealth can begin to be gauged from an initial inventory. As for the new policy pact directing it, it is easier to say what it is not — it bears no resemblance to the recommendations for nationalization, state planning, ban on foreign investment in hostile states, a high ruble rate to protect against imports, and de-dollarization for exports, which have been proposed by the former Kremlin economic adviser, Sergei Glazyev.”
    Contrast that with the criticism by Glazyev and the group around him:
    “According to Delyagin and Savchenko, the war economy requires “a basically new form of public ownership of the means of production, the principles of which are an economy without oligarchs; justice instead of exploitation; prosperity instead of poverty; development instead of stagnation. This can be done if the employees of enterprises become co-workers, that is, they will receive a part of the enterprise, plus profit in dividends. The share of the authorized capital that can become the property of the employees of the labour collective should be determined – preferably at least 30% and not more than 70%.”
    This is what Glazyev has called the “labour collective” approach.

    “Such a model,” Delyagin proposes, “does not necessarily represent the economy of [Soviet] socialism; there is even no restriction on the rights of an entrepreneur — the owner can retain a large stake and enjoy great influence.” However, Delyagin concedes there is powerful opposition. “The Russian leadership which has reappointed Ms. Nabiullina to the post of chairman of the Bank of Russia shows it is unlikely that the elite are looking for any change in the status quo.”


    • yalensis says:

      Thanks for the link, peter. Helmer is always right on the money (little pun intended!)
      Yeah, count me among those who were not thrilled to see Nabiullina reappointed, but it shows for sure which side Putin is on, in his very guts: on the side of big finance capital! This war may have shaken some things loose though, hopefully. I am personally rooting for the more “socialistic” or at least “public property” voices which are starting to rear their heads. And once the Donbass is reabsorbed, there will be that many more voters who want the more Soviet way of doing things. The beauty of it there, is that all the oligarchs in the Donbass were pro-Ukrainian, so they’re vamoose!


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