Kamil Galeev Profile picture
Mar 1, 2022 50 tweets 18 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
The War in Ukraine in American context

In such a polarised country as the U.S., Russian invasion of Ukraine was immediately weaponised by the opposing political forces and became a basis for mutual accusations. Some of these accusations sound very reasonable 🧵 Image
Critics of current administration often accuse it of naïveté. Which might be true. Consider this NYT article. If true, it's horrifying. That would mean they view China as a constructive partner rather than as a malevolent adversary who would do *anything* to topple the U.S. down Image
And yet, position of this critics, all around the Anglosphere, is way crazier. They admit there are powerful, violent and malevolent forces who pose risks to their countries. And what do they suggest? They suggest pandering them. Because if you don't pander, you might get hurt Image
That's the single most suicidal logic in the world. It may be unclear on the international level, but it's obvious on individual one. Let me tell you about social structure and dynamics of Russian prison. The lowest position in the hierarchy is reserved for pariahs, the "cocks" Image
What defines a cock? First, he must sleep by the toilet, parasha. Hence a punchline "I hear a voice from parasha" you use to destroy your opponent's argument, by suggesting he's a cock. Ofc, a cock will be raped by anyone. There's other stuff Twitter might block me for describing Image
Now, how do you become a cock? Largely by consenting to it. Ofc nobody would ask you directly "wanna be a cock?" and nobody would ever agree. Agreement is given implicitly, step by step, by acting nicely, reasonably and avoiding confrontation. Which "moves you down" in hierarchy Image
Formally, the process is very legalistic. The Law of Thieves, gives a looooong list of taboos (sexual, etc) and if you ever broke them, that's a reason to be moved down. But - there are two problems. First, *everyone* in prison broke them systematically. And everyones know that Image
Second, how can they know what you did before jail? They can't. Unless you tell them yourself, admit it. Then you're done. So they'll use schemes, threats, pressure to get you confession and move you done. Hence nice friendly talks in prison are not friendly, they're malevolent Image
So, if your cellmate asks you about your life, great answer is:

- With which purpose are you asking? С какой целью интересуешься?

That's great cuz:

1. You show you're aware of his malevolent intentions
2. You refuse to cooperate or to show your cards
3. You counterattack Image
You're not only refusing to explain yourself, but demanding HIM to explain himself. If you explain yourself at his demand, you accept that he has right to question you. You made a concession. And he'll demand new one, by asking additional questions. Then others join
Every concession you made, every question you responded to, marks the new boundary you *yourself* recognised. You make a retreat. And why would you retreat, if you were not stupid, craven and absolutely guilty? A 100% cock Image
There are two valid theoretical frameworks for the cock problem: idealism, and realpolitik. In idealistic paradigm, the more you explain yourself, the stronger evidence they collect to move you down. Realpolitik-wise however, concessions = sign of weakness and thus the way down Image
If you just made a counterattack: "With which purpose are you asking?", you would not only reject his right to question you, but assert *your* right to question him. He can back off. Your status up, his down. Or if he's dumb, he'll start explaining himself. A certain way down Image
Then why don't people make this strong, obvious counterattack? Well, exactly because it is a counterattack. It *is* escalation and they don't want an escalation. Are they insane to quarrel with this violent, unpredictable guy? It's a prison after all, he can hurt them Image
The way done is usually consensual. You act nicely, reasonably as a responsible stakeholder in the prison community. And this is exactly how you end up a cock. Meanwhile, the guy who toppled you, doesn't want to look rational. He will project violent impulsive unpredictable image Image
Proponents of "reason" forget that every theory and every approach has its limits of applicability. The same with presumed "reason". It works only as long as your rivals want a constructive partnership. But if they're malevolent and strive to topple you down, that's suicidal Image
Do they want to work out a constructive partnership or to destroy you? Let's be honest, you know the answer. This guy didn't *really* believe his cellmates are his friends. He was scared and rationalised his fear through self-delusions. His niceness was another name for cowardice Image
How is relevant to the ongoing conflict. To start with, Russian ruling class is no stranger to this culture. They actively hang out and do "business" with mafia Image
They act like mafia - here you see a parade of alumni of the FSB academy. Federal Security Service is as their chief told "the new nobility" of Russia and the very elite core of the regime. They own the country Image
And they are mafia: that's an attorney of the city of Obninsk. Nobody really hides anything Image
Furthermore. If we think in higher orders, every violent, chaotic society developed a culture of irrationality also called a "honour culture". In Appalachians, Scottish Highland, Caucasus, people were absolutely ready to kill and die for abstract concepts such as honour. Why? Image
Because it's evolutionary stable. Idiots dismiss the culture of honour as "irrational". Meanwhile in given circumstances that's not only the most rational, but the only possible course of action. There are tons of malevolent actors around and you *must* scare them off to survive Image
Cultures of honor naturally develop *wherever* there's no higher power to impose the rule of law. That proves it's the only evolutionary stable strategy under these circumstances. The more unpredictable image you project, the more cautious the malevolent actors will be Image
There is a fundamental flaw with this "reasonable approach" when dealing with malevolent actors. Let's assume you prioritise not getting hurt and everyone knows it. Then malevolent actors know you'll make any concession. Because at every single moment standing up is too risky Image
If every single confrontation is too risky and thus a concession from you is guaranteed, then a malevolent actor will purposefully design a confrontation and get a concession. Which you will give because otherwise you can get hurt. Then again. And again. Until you are moved down Image
The honour isn't a burden. It's a shield that protects you from the malevolent actors. If your honour prohibits you to give concessions and the malevolent one truly thinks so, he won't make demands. Furthermore, if he thinks you are unpredictable, he'll be afraid to provoke you Image
The confrontation is not a kinetic conflict. It is a social game built on mythos, beliefs and psyops. Malevolent powers purposefully project unpredictable image to scare you into submission. They pretend to be determined, unbending, uncompromising so there's no point in resisting Image
That's just a compensation for the most part. Consider this invasion of Ukraine. Putin declared he's launching this attack to do a regime change and "denazify" it and called for negotiations the next day. He didn't expect resistance and started to looking for way out immediately Image
Russian social media look pretty funny. One of my favourite comments with tons of likes is kinda "keep calm, you don't really think Putin would do this without clearly understanding the consequences and what to do next?". That's the unironically loyalist position right now
In a sense Putin made a mistake declaring his invasion of Ukraine. In Georgia and in Chechnya he claimed to be beating off the aggression or the "provocation". That was BS ofc, but he denied responsibility for the escalation. And now he admitted it himself, publicly, willingly Image
That will be disastrous for him not regarding the world public opinion, but regarding his reputation in Russia. Why did he declare it's *he* who started the war? Because he expected 100% win and was PR-maxing. Thus he proudly assumed responsibility for the guaranteed victory Image
But now the victory doesn't look that guaranteed. And even the loyalists are telling each other to keep calm, cuz the national leader surely knew what he was doing. But with every day, with every new sanction, with inevitable hyperinflation, they'll be questioning this assumption Image
Consider the following. Typically such regimes fall after a small victorious war they initiated and lost. Again, typically they were absolutely certain they would win and thus attacked. For this reason the defeat brings huge disillusionment and destroys the legitimising mythos
For example the key factor of the fall of Russian Empire was the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-1905. That's how Japan was portrayed in the war propaganda. A tiny country, puppet of foreigners, no match to our great forces Image
Imperial hubris looks striking. Japanese were portrayed as subhumans, yellow slant-eyed macaques who will 100% be beaten both on land Image
And on sea. Just trust the plan, emperor surely knows what he's doing Image
After all rationally speaking a tiny Japan can't be a match for the great Russia Image
But the effect of this propaganda was double-edged. The more effort was invested, the more people believed in the assured victory of this lower race, the greater was the disillusionment from Russian defeats, both on land, and on sea Image
Konstantin Balmont's poem "Our Tsar" shows how a defeat in small victorious war delegitimised the monarchy

It starts with "Our Tsar is Mukden, our Tsar is Tsushima", locations of the lost battles and ends with the prophecy of Tsar's execution. Which is exactly what would happen Image
Interestingly enough, Russia didn't technically suffer a military defeat. Yes it lost battles, but it could carry on very long - Japan would run out of people first. But in order to carry on, you need a mythos. And it was destroyed. Tsar became weak, ridiculous, "a cleaning rag" Image
Firstly, unrests with socio-economic demands started. Of course they were suppressed (see the Bloody Sunday of 1905) Image
This sparked armed rebellions all around the country, most importantly in Moscow which was the second biggest city after St Petersburg. Moscow totally went out of control Image
Worst of all Potemkin battleship rebelled. Navy was the most loyal force and now it started going out of control. This makes sense. Power is mythical in nature and once the mythos is gone, power is gone too. Any misconvenience (in this case rotten meat in soup) can spark a revolt Image
Although the army and most importantly the Imperial Guard didn't rebel, Tsar wasn't quite sure for how long. Officers are reliable but are the soldiers? He had to work out a compromise. 17 October 1905 he agreed for the Parliament and for Constitution. Absolute monarchy was over Image
But it was too late. These reforms could potentially lead to a compromise if they were done willingly and much, much earlier. At this point it became crystal clear that Tsar was weak and pathetic. He would never allow ant border political participation unless forced to it Image
Meanwhile, when forced he backed off and gave concessions. What does it mean? It means anyone can scare him to whatever. He's timid, fearful, pathetic. He shouldn't rule. In 12 years empire was gone, because both army and the Guards refused to suppress another revolt Image
Let's sum up. International conflict is not a kinetic clash of inanimate powers. It's a confrontation of two human collectives consisting of animate creatures united by a mythos. Doing whatever you find convenient and ignoring how it affects your mythos isn't smart. It's suicidal Image
One should care not only of inner but also of outer mythos, a reputation. International relations are sometimes quite similar to the prison relations. In both cases you are locked with malevolent actors who want and can hurt you. And you can't get anywhere. Don't give concessions Image
Concept of honour isn't stupid. It is an evolutionary stable strategy which independently co-evolved in dangerous stateless societies. It's not a burden, it's a shield. Not only against others but also against your own cowardice, stupidity and delusions which would 100% kill you Image
Finally, the malevolents forces you face are animate. They are human institutions coordinated by a mythos. If the mythos is gone, they're gone too. Fortunately with time passing, their hubris grows and they start acting stupidly. If you don't fall for a psyop, they lose. 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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