Molly McKew Profile picture
Feb 26 16 tweets 5 min read
In Georgia today, there was a remarkable display support for Ukraine in the streets of Tbilisi.

Zelensky thanks them: “there are times when citizens are not the govt, but better than the govt.”

It’s important to understand what he means. Short thread /1

Zelensky is fighting to keep Moscow from imposing another puppet leader in Kyiv.

Another leader like Yanukovych, who eroded the work of the Orange Revolution, moving 🇺🇦 by steps away from the westward integration the people wanted, eroding state institutions like the army /2
Yanu effectively left 🇺🇦 defenseless. Ukrainians took to the Maidan in 2013, over months of bravery chased Yanu from 🇺🇦 for betraying them, slaughtering some in their ranks.

When he fled, Russian forces were already in place to seize Crimea. /3
When the war in eastern Ukraine began against Russian-backed faux separatists, 🇺🇦 had to build a defense force in wartime.

When I say betray, I mean it. Yanu destabilized & weakened Ukraine for Putin, step by step—like Putin, underestimating the will of the Ukrainian people /4
What does this have to do with Georgia & Zelensky saying the Georgians in the streets were better then their govt?

In 2008, Georgia—with western economic & diplomatic support—withstood Russian attempts to remove its govt by force/invasion.

Putin loathed president Saakashvili /5
More, he loathed what Saakashvili had done to transform Georgia and move it mentally toward the West.

Russian leaders and propaganda frequently did things like call him a drug-addict who deserved the war they gave him. You know, like Putin did to Zelensky this week: /6
Much to Putin’s dismay, Saakashvili survived the war. He had loud friends, like John McCain.
Georgia got aid. Georgia survived.

In 2012, a wackadoo Russian-made oligarch won the parliamentary elections in Georgia.

And step by step, his party has weaken Georgia, stalled it. /7
Mostly this was too slow for anyone to care. They were relieved Georgia stopped pushing so hard to get in NATO, for example. The quiet was good they thought.

After the Russian invasion of Crimea and eastern Ukraine, this new government of Georgia was preeeeeeeeetty quiet /8
Now you would think, as a country that Russia had invaded 6 years before, Georgia would have an awful lot to say about the Russian invasion of Ukraine given the similar pretexts & playbooks involved.

But no.

Not a word from the icky-garch party led Georgian govt. /9
No visits by ministers to the post-Maidan Ukraine. No support for anything, no statements.

Instead, many former officials from Saakashvili’s team ended up in Ukraine, training police and helping on a wide range of reforms to rebuild Ukraine. Many of them still work there now/10
Fast forward to today when the weak-tea henchman PM of the Georgia announces that 🇬🇪 will not support sanctions against Russia for its war of aggression in Ukraine.

Georgia used to do this kind of stuff to show it belonged in the EU & NATO. These sad clowns are “both sides” /11
Asked to even nominally show support for Ukraine, he shrugs. “I have my own job… the war is in Ukraine.”

Step by step, step by step. Erode. Weaken. Distance. /12
So the Georgian people who support Ukraine and feel historical and modern kinship for Ukraine — the Rose Revolution in 🇬🇪 and the Orange Revolution in 🇺🇦 were the beginning of Putin’s nightmares of his own end — responded with 👇

Spontaneously. Immediately. /13
Zelensky called a spade a spade today, knowing what this government of Georgia is and what it is doing (weakening the state) /14
So the point here is:

we need to stop these patterns and iterations of Russian aggression and bullshit by defeating Putin’s attempt to decapitate and capture Ukraine.

Invasions, pressure, blackmail, weakening governments — this will continue until we stop Putin. /15
The people of Georgia know it. 🇬🇪

The people of Ukraine know it. 🇺🇦

Let’s break the cycle. /16

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More from @MollyMcKew

Feb 25
Fmr employee of engineer co that resealed Chornobyl twice tells me:

“If that reactor is reopened accidentally or intentionally, the consequences would be monumental for Europe. It is simply the most dangerous site in the world. I hope Russia doesn’t use this to blackmail NATO”/1
Chornobyl reactor 4 has been resealed twice since 1986. It needs to be constantly maintained. The most dangerous site in the world. And Russia decided to fight a war there — and seems to spread conspiracies that Ukrainian forces wanted to blow it up, so RU had to “seize” it /2
This is an incredibly dangerous situation and the Ukrainian govt’s request for a no-fly zone over Chornobyl is critical.

This is all further proof of why Ukraine needs an independent, responsible government. We cannot let this stay under opaque, careless Russian control. /3
Read 4 tweets
Feb 24
Note to @CNN friends: A major line of effort from Putin, incl in his declaration of war where he made special note that the ‘spoils of World War II’ still belong to him, is to split members states of NATO from each other. Differentiate new and old. This map helps with that. /1
Every NATO alley is equal in the alliance. There can be no differentiation in how we view them and prepare for their defense.

And a special note from me:

that it is some of our newer NATO allies who bring critical capabilities to the fight /2
In intelligence and cyber defense,
SOF capabilities and more, these states Putin wants cut off from the alliance being critical capabilities, show up when asked, invest in their national defense, and have the will and clarity we need.

They lead from the frontlines 🇪🇪 🇱🇻 🇱🇹 /3
Read 4 tweets
Feb 23
Catch up on our convo on Putin’s war on Ukraine & the West — thanks @john_sipher for cohosting, @thomasboyden @selectedwisdom for your thoughts on what’s ahead in IO and cyber, and @herszenhorn for your reporting from Ukraine

More resources below 👇 /1…
Here is @herszenhorn’s reporting from the frontlines in Ukraine in December (which I referenced in the discussion): /3…
Read 7 tweets
Feb 18
Before Russia started hostilities against the Georgians in 2008, they evacuated 80%+ of the civilian population of Tskhinvali and claimed the Georgians were responsible for massive civilian casualties (all claims later proven false)
Worth noting: in Georgia, this was done COVERTLY, not overtly, and I wonder at the difference here, whether it is for projection of threat.

(In Georgia, they needed civilians out of way so they wouldn’t clog up Roki tunnel during fighting, very different operational purpose)
Those 2008 evacs were run by Russian forces directly.
Read 6 tweets
Feb 14
Re-reading parts of “A Little War That Shook the World” — about the Russia-Georgia war in 2008 — and slightly depressed by how very now this section sounds if you swap out Georgia for Ukraine /1
But the frequency with which we forget that the point of the post Cold War security order is “to protect small states from the predatory behavior of more powerful ones” — we could all do with a refresher on this point /2
Also this, especially the second paragraph. Ukraine is not a “proxy war” — but we are a party to the conflict because of Russian objectives, and stepping back and pretending it isn’t our fight doubly misses the point /3
Read 4 tweets
Feb 11
Really interesting detail in the ASIO 🇦🇺 Annual Threat Assessment about a disrupted foreign interference plot targeting recent election

Lots of specific detail on how whole thing was structured to hide foreign origin and strings, keep targets ignorant /1…
What’s so remarkable is that in places like the US where dark money can legally pour into elections — this could describe almost every PAC that is well organized /2
Worthy emphasizing:

“The perpetrators of foreign interference carefully hide their true motivations. But that does not mean politicians are powerless to protect themselves.” /3
Read 4 tweets

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