Kamil Galeev Profile picture
Feb 25, 2022 45 tweets 17 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
Let's discuss Putin speech. He declared Ukrainians to be "Neonazis" and promised to "denazify" them. Indeed the "Nazi" character of Ukrainian statehood and identity has long been a central thesis of Russian propaganda. Let's discuss why and how it reflects ideology of Putinism🧵 Image
Why do we exist? Different Russian regimes gave different answers to this question. Bolshevik theocracy claimed to lead humanity to the earthly heaven of communism. Until 1960s they were serious about it. In 1960 Khruchev gave specific deadline: communism will be built by 1980 Image
Khruchev however was the last true believer at power. In 1964 he was deposed by Brezhnev who didn't care. Brezhnev abandoned the agenda of building communism by a specific deadline. "Developed socialism" would be good enough. So we kinda don't march to the earthly heaven anymore Image
That however created a problem of justification and legitimacy. If we aren't unironically building Communism, then why do we exist? What's our source of legitimacy? Brezhnev told: because we won the WWII. We saved humanity from the Nazism which is our greatest accomplishment ever Image
Brezhnev transferred the source of state legitimacy from the future to the past, changing the entire narrative. Previously sacrifices of Stalinism were justified as the path to Communism. But now we aren't really going anywhere. So now the sacrifice was necessary to win the War Image
As a result, Brezhnev started to massively build the cult of Great Victory. Immediately upon taking power, Brezhnev introduces Victory Marches on the Red Square every 9th of May - the date of the fall of Berlin. He makes it a ritual of the new state religion, justifying his rule Image
The Cult of Victory was made up to fill the hole left by the abandonment of Communism-building. If we can't say we are marching to the bright future (nobody believes), then we'll discuss our great accomplishments in the past. Brezhnev awarded himself with all kinds of WWII medals Image
The USSR became Russia, and the history repeated itself. In the 1990s Kremlin was claiming we are building the bright future and gonna become rich and developed like the West. By 2000 nobody believed in that future. So Putin again transferred the source of legitimacy to the past Image
As a result new, highly idiosyncratic ideology of Putinism emerged. It combined the respect to Stalinism (which achieved the Great Victory), the Russian Orthodox clericalism, the Russian ethnonationalism. It's often mocked as Russian Orthodox National-Communist Monarchism Image
Again, this led to a retrospective change in the narrative. Stalin became good cuz he restored the Russian Empire and won the war. But Stalin didn't want to restore the Russian empire, he was building Communism. And he didn't intend to wage this war, at least not like that Image
To start with, Stalin regarded *Germany* as his natural ally against the Versailles victors - UK and France. So he needed to pump Germany up, make it it stronger. Long before the rise of Hitler, Stalin had been building the German military might, which would then strike on Allies Image
After WWI Germany couldn't organise proper training for its military. So Stalin invited German officers to the USSR schools to get experience with high-tech armaments. For example Guderian, the future architect of German Blitzkrieg, learnt how to use tanks in Kazan Tank Academy Image
Consider a talk between Molotov and Kurt von Schleicher, a conservative Chancellor of Germany, in 1932. Schleicher complained about subversions by German Communists. Molotov responded:

- USSR won't mind if Germany treats their Communists as USSR is treating enemies of the people Image
Molotov-Ribbentrop pact wasn't an aberration. It was a geopolitical decision independent from who's in power in Berlin. Stalin was building German military power to unleash it on the Allies. He was totally ok with sacrificing German Communists, whether to Schleicher or to Hitler Image
So all the talks about this pact "delaying the war" are BS. Stalin didn't want to "delay the war". He wanted to accelerate it and to use Germany as his instrument for destroying the Versailles order. In 1939 Soviet and German forces crashed Poland together and paraded in Brest Image
Consider a caricature from the Soviet satyrical journal Krokodil:

- At this point we finish studying the history of the Polish state, children

In 1939 Soviet propaganda considered the WWII to be very good and very funny thing. Everything was going as planned Image
That's a caricature from the New Year Eve 1940-1941 on the German bombings of London:

- Gentlemen! Where's the nearest bomb shelter?

Once again, Soviet propaganda cheered the Nazis carpet bombings London. That was the Stalin's plan and everything was going according to the plan Image
What was Stalin hoping for? Most probably he miscalculated. Most probably he was planning for a long indecisive war between Germany against France and Britain like in WWI. Western Europe would be largely destroyed and then victorious Stalin would come and fuck everyone Image
Soviet poetry (=published state propaganda) translated exactly this agenda. Consider Kulchitsky's poem from 1941:

- Secret trains are already going to the borders. And the Communism is just as near as in 1919...

Translation: We created chaos and gonna use it to win and conquer Image
But Soviet-trained German military crushed the Allies in no time. While the Soviet military who taught them were slaughtered during the Great Purge 1937-1938, like the main advocate of tanks Tukhachevsky. 3/5 marshals, 58/62 corpse commanders executed. Soviet army was destroyed Image
Stalin expected that Hitler might attack. But he believed that Soviet army was strong enough to repel them quickly. On paper he had much more tanks, guns, planes. So when Hitler did attack on June 22, 1941, Stalin was calm. He ordered his troops to beat them off and counterattack Image
For a few days he believed the plan is working. And you know why? Nobody dared to tell him it's not. So he was calm and content, everything working perfectly. Only on June 29, a week after the war started he learnt that Minsk has fallen. That meant the road on Moscow is open Image
How was it possible? Minsk was covered by the strongest army USSR had, the Western Front, administered by the Belarus Military District. Stalin called the People's Commissariat (=Ministry) of Defence and asked what is the situation on the Western Front. They couldn't say anything Image
Stalin was alarmed. He ordered Molotov, Malenkov, Beriya and Mikoyan to get into car and they all drove to the Comissariat. Stalin told to connect him with the Belarus Military District. Zhukov told there's no connection. And Stalin realised the Western Army doesn't exist anymore Image
He yelled at Zhukov so hard, that Zhukov ran out to another room and wept. When Politburo members left the Comissariat, Stalin told:

- Lenin left us the great state and we wasted it

Ленин нам оставил великое государство, а мы его просрали

Stalin left to his dacha alone Image
Politburo members divided. Voznesensky said that if Stalin doesn't care , then Molotov should lead the state. Molotov refused. They all went to Stalin's dacha. Stalin looked very badly and asked why did they come. Mikoyan thought - Stalin feared that they came to arrest him Image
Molotov said they must form a Defence Committee to run the country. And Stalin should lead it:

- Ok - said Stalin. He looked surprised

On July 6 chief of Soviet military intelligence general-lieutenant Golikov departed to London to discuss coordination of efforts in this war Image
Thus the USSR allied with the US and the UK. USA organised lend lease: enormous military help in food, in fuel, in vehicles, in armament. They supplied Soviet Army for the entire war. Otherwise USSR would lose, its supply chains being disrupted by the German advance Image
In the course of the war the narrative changed again. Now nobody would admit that the USSR wanted the war, that it built up the German military machine as an ice-breaker against the West. No, the USSR was peaceful, consistently anti-Nazi, the force of light against the darkness Image
It was a lie but a convenient lie. The alliance would be diffucult if Western powers admitted the truth: that the Soviets were purposefully building up the German military machine and de facto allied with Hitler in 1939-1931 dividing Eastern Europe together. So the West bought it Image
That's how a myth of the anti-Nazi USSR was borne. It was recognised by the West which didn't want to question the role of its allies in building up the Nazi military machine. After belief in Communism died, it became a legitimising myth of the Soviet state, inherited by Russia Image
It didn't only legitimise every single regime in Kremlin which was saint and holy because Soviets defeated the Nazis (whose military they built up). It also became a universal tool of Russian imperialism, a weapon against any Eastern Europeans resisting the encroachment of Moscow Image
In the most extreme case it takes the form of the narrative about "traitorous ethnicities" народы-предатели. Many ethnicities were accused of collaborating with Nazis and deported en masse from their homeland to wastelands of Siberia and Kazakhstan. Mortality was enormous Image
Let's examine this narrative by checking the timeline. The ethnic-based deportations and massacres started long before the war. In 1936 Ukrainian Poles were deported to Kazakstan en masse. In 1937 - Far Eastern Koreans. In 1938 - Chinese Image
Consider the Great Purge of 1937-1938. 111 071 "spies" were executed within the Polish operation, 41 898 during the Germans one , 5439 during Romanian. Huge number of Finns, Latvians, Ingermanlands and others were included into shooting lists simply for being minorities Image
The USSR was already conducting huge ethnic cleansings before the war, before any collaboration with the Nazis could even start. The war didn't really change anything - it allowed Soviets to carry on but now with a perfect excuse. We're cleansing minorities because they're Nazi Image
Does it mean there was no collaboration? There was, and it was massive. Stalin's regime was widely hated, and many saw the war as a chance to overthrow it. Btw ethnic Russians joined Nazis the most massively. Pro-German Russian Liberation Army had more than a million soldiers Image
Russian Liberation army used tradition symbolics of Russian Empire, like the red-blue-white tricolour which Russia uses now. In 1945 these flags were thrown to the Red Square together with swastikas. That's why old Soviet veterans viewed new Russian flag as "Nazi", Vlasov's flag Image
The "anti-Nazi" narrative of Russian authorities is simply a weapon against those Eastern Europeans who wouldn't submit to their will. Russia points to "pro-Nazi" symbolics in Eastern Europe. Meanwhile, according to the same logic Russia uses the Nazi flag and symbols Image
Grim truth is that Nazis found *some* support pretty much everywhere they came. In all Europe there were people who would join Naxis. Reasons varied: survival, career, revenge. Many minority nationalists, e.g. Slovak ones, felt discriminated and hoped to achieve independence Image
Consistent "anti-Nazi" struggle as understood by Moscow, when entire ethnicities are forever tainted and accursed because some of their members joined Nazis many decades ago, would require ethnic cleansing, well, of entire Europe. Including Russia itself Image
Of course Russia wouldn't do it consistently. It would rather use it as a weapon to silence any foreign opposition to its domination. If you don't submit and surrender to Putin, that proves you are Nazi. That's some real reductio ad Hitlerum scaled up Image
Why Russia uses it? First, because it's compatible with Russian foundation myth that rulers in Kremlin are saint because once they defeated the Nazi Germany. Ofc they won't tell that it was Kremlin that built up Nazi military might and allied with them on the early stages of WWII Image
Some Russians know what BS it is. There's a joke:

- Every true patriot knows that Russian history started in 1941. And only traitors lie that it started in 1939

It reflects that WWII is a foundation myth of Russian regime and that Kremlin lies about its true role in the war Image
Second reason is that the West first bought this convenient lie, in order not to question the origins of Nazi military might, and continues buying it. Persisting in feel-good-lies is emotionally easy. But it will cost a heavy price that the West is only starting to pay. End of🧵 Image

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More from @kamilkazani

May 27
New Industrial Power + New Industrial Power

is structurally different from:

New Industrial Power + Old Industrial Power

Russia and China are too similar in too many important respects. They share too many chokepoints (though to a different degree). They're kinda the same
If Russia was looking for alternatives to Western Europe, it would look at Japan - the old industrial power. If Japan was politically problematic (as it is), it would look at Taiwan and South Korea, new industrial powers on the very advanced stages of their learning process
Read 4 tweets
May 27
As I said previously, there is a difference between the:

a) argumentative space
b) real space

You can "reorganise and be self-sufficient" in the former, but not in the latter. In reality, the option of "self-sufficiency" just doesn't exist
The USSR was never "self-sufficient". The initial Stalinist industrialisation was planned and managed by Americans, and based on the import of American + to the lesser extent German equipment.

1920-1930s - US + Germany
WIth the start of the Cold War, America semi-excluded itself from the Soviet market. So it was monopolised by the Western Europe. E.g. in the 1970s Western Europe counted for like 90% of Soviet imports, Western Germany alone counting for 45%

1950-1970s - Germany + Rest of Europe
Read 6 tweets
May 22
Opposition Trap

On Twitter, you see not dumb people falling into the Grilling Trap

There are two problems with grilling

1. It gives you cheap dopamine -> very addictive

2. It destroys your brain

In this regard Grilling Trap is just a particular case of the Opposition Trap🧵
Grilling is a social game taking place in the argumentative space. Now the thing about the argumentative space is that it is not identical to the real space. A true zealot of course, believes that his own argumentative space is (more or less) identical to the real space

It's not
There is always a gap between what makes a good argument and what makes a good decision. It may be wider or narrower, depending on circumstances, but it always exists

Making a decision =/= justifying a decision

First is optimised for the real space, second for the argumentative
Read 16 tweets
May 9
Some context for the WWII

Soviet war machine was not created autarkically. It was built by the American businesses through the 1920 - early 1930s. Detroit-based Albert Kahn Associates company was a key organiser of the Soviet military industrial buildup

👇old but relevant🧵
The thing about Soviet military buildup is not that they imported stuff. That's pretty obvious. The thing is that they outsourced the planning. When we are discussing the Stalinist planned economy, we should keep in mind that the planning was done in the US Image
Albert Kahn Associates was the most important *planner* of Soviet industrialisation. They were not alone though. It was conducted by the joint efforts of the US industrialists

"On the way to automobilize the USSR": Henry Ford signing a contract to built a GAZ automative plant Image
Read 5 tweets
May 5
Why Russia is running out of shells?

Whereas the Wagner's shell hunger is real, ascribing it to the ill intentions of bureaucracy may be somewhat simplistic. It reflects the peculiar structure and the peculiar history of the Russian military manufacturing base

(not a 🧵) Image
What you should know of the Russian military industry:

1. After 1991 the output collapsed, often by few orders of magnitude
2. In Putin's era it bounced back, but not to the Cold War era levels
3. Both the collapse and the revival affected various types of weaponry unevenly
It would not be *too* much of a simplification to present the demand on the new weaponry in the following way:

Demand = State Defense Order + Exports

Now the thing is that in the 1990s the State Order was usually non-existent. If it was existent, it was often not paid for
Read 19 tweets
May 1
The managed system more often than not appears as a black box to its upper management. It is not transparent. I do not quite understand how it works. All I have are the output signals of the very uneven quality. And that is all I can base my judgement and my decisions upon🧵 Image
This explains much of the perceived "irrationality" of top decision makers:

a) The system isn't transparent. It produces signals of uneven quality
b) Choose the presumably higher quality signals *you are able to process*
c) Base your decisions upon them

Hence "irrationality" Image
Reality is incomprehensible in all of its complexity (and we tend to very much exaggerate how well we do comprehend it). It is covered by the fog of war. And perhaps nothing else illustrates it so vividly as, well, the war Image
Read 14 tweets

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