Will Russia invade Ukraine?
What will it do in Kazakhstan?

The answer also explains why Putin is the leader Russia thinks it needs, why the USSR collapsed, why it couldn't compete with the US, why it’s the biggest country in the world, & more.

It's due to Russia's dilemma:
Moscow is in the middle of the biggest plain in the world, the Eurasian Plain, that goes all the way to the Atlantic via France. It's been a highway for conquests since forever.

Very famously, from the east, for horse-mounted people like the Mongols
But the threat hasn't just come from the east. Also from the west. Most recently, Napoleon (who conquered Moscow all the way from France), and Hitler (who made it to 30km from Moscow).

There are no mountains to use as a defense in millions of km2.
So after Muscovy became a *vassal state of the Mongols*, it started doing the only thing it could do: grab as much land as it could around Moscow. The only land that was easy to grab was in the north & east, so that's where Muscovy went
It expanded 1st north and then east, all the way to the Pacific, way before it focused on Central Asia or Europe.

They did that because Siberia is basically empty.
And it is empty, you guessed it, because of climate.
Owning Siberia created a massive buffer that anybody would need to cross to attack, stretching supply lines and exposing them to insurrection and counter-offenses.

Muscovy was safe in the east.
But not the west or the south.
Problem: that's where powerful neighbors were
From the northwest, counter-clockwise:
Kingdom of Sweden
Austro-Hungarian Empire
Ottoman Empire
The Khanates (remnants of the Mongols)

Over 2 centuries, they conquered from them a massive buffer for Moscow
As Hitler showed, that was still not enough. The North European Plain is still a highway.

WW2 gave Russia (USSR) to go as far as it would ever go.
Moscow was finally safe.
This expansion comes at a cost: how do you control millions of km2 with so many ethnicities?

Siberia is easy.
Central Asia is harder.
Easter Europe is much harder.

So the more Russia expands, the more it needs to spend on controlling conquered peoples. On an authoritarian state
Here's the kicker: Russian land might promote expansion, but it's not rich.

The south & southwest are fertile (hence the population), but the north & east are too cold.
Not only that, but all the main rivers are south-north, which make it impossible to trade anything perishable w/ the west. No trade, no wealth.
• Moscow is in the middle of a massive plain with no defense. It needs to expand: buffer space is the only defense
• The + it expands, the + Russians conquer other ppl, the more they need $ for police & military control
• That's expensive & Russian land is poor
So here's Russia's Dilemma:
The tension between expansion for buffer land and contraction from a poor core that can’t finance an authoritarian state to control different ethnicities that don’t tolerate the expansion.
That's why Russia invaded Georgia when it talked about joining NATO: enemy at the southern border? No thx.

That's why Russia invaded Afghanistan 40y ago: it's at the border of the Eurasian plain, and was at risk of flipping to an enemy (Muslims or NATO)
That's why Ukraine, with 8 million ethnic Russians and in the middle of the Eurasian plain, is a core target for Russia, and why it freaks out when it talks about joining the EU or NATO.
That's why Russia can't tolerate an enemy in the south w/ Kazakhstan, home of 3m ethnic Russians, so it sends the military when there's trouble there.
Much more about all of this in this week's article:

Follow me here os subscribe to my newsletter to receive more. Follow-up on Russia coming next week.

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More from @tomaspueyo

2 Jan
Why Russia is the biggest country in the world is also why it had no chance against the US (even controlling for economic systems):

1. The US is naturally well defended.
Russia is completely exposed
2. The US has the best piece of real estate in the world, the Mississippi Basin: a massive, flat, fertile area.
Russia is frozen, and can only support agriculture in its southwest.
3. The Mississippi Basin has more navigable rivers than the rest of the world combined. Trade is easy and cheap, connected to the rest of the world.

Most Russian rivers flow from south to north, and freeze part of the year. You can't easily trade anything out of Siberia.
Read 5 tweets
1 Jan
Over 20 million people saw my tweets in 2021. That's crazy. Here are the ones you liked the most (and TLDRs of each):
1. Why Africa is the way it is: because of its latitude combined with winds and tectonic plates.
2. Why the Caribbean is the way it is: because of its history with Spain first, other European countries later, and the US now
Read 22 tweets
27 Dec 21
5pm. We dress up for the Christmas Eve dinner at our in-laws’. Anorak, mittens, wool hat, two masks.

5:30pm. Antigen test for all. Negative.

5:45pm. We take the elevator. The older kid sneezes. A chill down our fucking spine.

5:55pm. Another antigen test from our secret stash
We went to 27 pharmacies to gather them. Eat or be eaten.
Negative again

6:05. We made it to the car. This time, the older one coughs.

6:07. This time, antigens, eucalyptus, ivermectin, hydroxychloroquine, and an enema just in case.

He screams. He never does.

We google:
“COVID symptoms scream humor change”.
We think he might have cancer.
But no COVID, so back to the car.

6:50. We make it to the in-laws’.

6:57. We open all the windows of the house.

7:09. We start eating.

7:14. 25 degrees F

7:30. We all sneeze.
Read 11 tweets
21 Dec 21
Why you should you vaccinate your kids in 6 words:

Vaccines reduce myocarditis frequency and gravity

And then they reduce deaths, hospitalizations, chronic fatigue syndrome...

Here's a guide with all the details, and what to do if you're on the fence: 🧵
1. Why vaccines reduce frequency & gravity of myocarditis:
Because COVID gives PIMS (Pediatric Inflammatory Multisystem Syndrome) in 1 in 4k infections. 75% of the time that includes myocarditis, so 1 in 5k COVID infections in kids include myocarditis.
That is ~3x-30x more common than myocarditis from the vaccine, depending on your age and gender.

It's also much worse after COVID than after a vaccine. This is what the vaccine does to you:
Read 13 tweets
21 Dec 21
You're on the fence on whether to vaccinate your kid because you're scared of myocarditis? Here are 6 rules to reduce that risk:
1. No children below 12 have reported myocarditis. This is for 12-17 children
2. Females have 10x lower risk than males.
3. Most of the benefit of the vaccines comes with the 1st dose. Most of the myocarditis cost comes with the 2nd dose. Start with the 1st dose and then gather more data.
4. The main pbm comes with shots that are not spaced enough in time. Instead of 2 shots spaced by 2-3 weeks, try spacing them by 2-3 months
Read 6 tweets
15 Dec 21
I only see 2 ways out of COVID:
1. An endemic disease that kills a few hundreds of thousands/million of ppl every year
2. A disease eradicated through global vaccination campaigns

I fear there's no 3. A virus that becomes less lethal over time and blends in like a cold
Note that 1 and 3 are pretty similar. In both cases, the disease is endemic and kills a few people every year. The cold doesn't, but the flu does, at ~0.13% of the sick every year.

But what if it wasn't 0.13%? What if it was 0.4%? Would we accept that? It's the ≠ btw 1 and 3
The reason why think we can get to 3 is because that's what probably happened to the 1918 flu: it's H1N1, and after killing so many ppl, it ended up evolving to kill less so it could spread more.
Read 10 tweets

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