In Russia Little Picketers Protest the War

In St. Petersburg there is a new kind of protest that so far has not been stopped by the authorities.

Participants make tiny protesters out of clay, paper, wire or other craft material. Most of them hold placards against the war in Ukraine.

After they are made, their creators – all anonymous – place them in spots about the city and take a photograph, which can be found on an Instagram account: http://www.instagram.com/malenkiy_piket/

Now the little picketers are appearing in other Russian cities. So far, there have been no arrests.

Full story with more photographs @ The Moscow Times https://www.themoscowtimes.com/2022/03/28/in-russia-little-picketers-protest-the-war-a77071

Russia Uses Banned Antipersonnel Landmines

(Berlin, March 29, 2022) – Russian forces fighting in Ukraine have used banned antipersonnel mines in the eastern Kharkiv region, Human Rights Watch said today. 

The antipersonnel mines were located by Ukrainian explosive ordnance disposal technicians on March 28, 2022. Russia is known to possess these newly deployed landmines, which can indiscriminately kill and maim people within an apparent 16-meter range. Ukraine does not possess this type of landmine or its delivery system.

“Countries around the world should forcefully condemn Russia’s use of banned antipersonnel landmines in Ukraine,” said Steve Goose, the arms director of Human Rights Watch. “These weapons do not differentiate between combatants and civilians and leave a deadly legacy for years to come.”

Full Report from Human Rights Watch @ https://www.hrw.org/news/2022/03/29/ukraine-russia-uses-banned-antipersonnel-landmines

Russia Harassing, Arresting Ukraine War Dissidents

(Berlin) – Russian authorities have cracked down on journalists, human rights defenders, and activists in an effort to silence any criticism of the war in Ukraine, Human Rights Watch said today.

The authorities have arbitrarily detained, judicially harassed, raided, and engaged in smear campaigns against critics. Unidentified assailants have physically attacked activists and damaged human rights organizations’ offices. In recent weeks, various high-level officials, including President Vladimir Putin, labeled people critical of the war “national traitors.”

“Having already intensified a crackdown against critics in 2021, the authorities are escalating their witch-hunt even further to punish all anti-war sentiment,” said Hugh Williamson, Europe and Central Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “The government portrays independent journalists and activists as traitors and treats them as a threat to the state.”

Full Report from Human Rights Watch@ https://www.hrw.org/news/2022/03/24/russia-arrests-harassment-ukraine-war-dissidents

Russian Opposition Figures Form Anti-War Committee from Exile

Some of Russia’s leading opposition figures have launched an anti-war committee to protest Russia’s invasion of Ukraine from exile.

In videos shared on social media Wednesday, eight of the country’s leading opposition voices — including former oil baron Mikhail Khodorkovsky, Alexei Navalny ally Lyubov Sobol and former chess grandmaster Garry Kasparov — called on Russians to resist Kremlin propaganda and push back against the war on Ukraine. 

“We all represent different political movements. But we have merged into one anti-war committee, because we believe that our country does not need this war,” said Khodorkovsky. 

Full Story @ The Moscow Times https://www.themoscowtimes.com/2022/03/23/exiled-russian-opposition-figures-unite-to-form-anti-war-committee-a77046

Publishers Weekly”Ukraine’s Vivat Publishing House Fights to Survive”

Vivat Publishing was established in 2013 after the merger of the two well-known Ukrainian publishers — Pelican and Argument-Print. Based in Kharkiv, Vivat is the second largest publishing house in Ukraine with approximately 3,000 titles in print. PW interviewed Vivat’s CEO, Julia Orlova, by email about how the company is trying to continue to work, despite its hometown having been under constant bombardment from Russia for the past three weeks and much of the city destroyed.

Are you safe?

You know, during these days of war in Ukraine, such a question, as well as simply asking, “How are you?,” is a expression of genuine love. Any support or care that is shown for us means a great deal and we are grateful to everyone for it. Naturally, talking about safety in the midst of the full-scale war is an arduous task: my colleagues and I are deeply concerned about our own safety and that of our loved ones. We are forced to live in shelters or else are fleeing the regions where there is fighting, but only when that is possible.

Photo Vivat

Vivat CEO Julia Orlova on one of the first days of the war in her basement.

Are you able to work?

Truth to be told, working is very difficult. Vivat Publishing has a fairly large structure, with more than 100 staff. Until now, only a few of my colleagues have stayed in Kharkiv, where for three weeks there has been daily, intensive bombing that has destroyed the city. The majority of my co-workers were forced to leave their homes and move to other, comparatively peaceful regions of Ukraine, or flee abroad. It is no surprise that some of them were unable to take any equipment needed for work — laptops, computers, tablets, etc. Most were leaving hastily and were emotionally overwhelmed. They grabbed only the most necessary documents. Some didn’t have any equipment to work at home at all. Right now, getting access to a high-speed Internet connection is very difficult, work servers are operating only intermittently, in a situation where almost everyone is forced to work remotely, in harsh conditions, in other cities or even countries, it is a significant challenge. But we are trying…

Full Story @ Publishers Weekly https://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/international/international-book-news/article/88826-ukraine-s-vivat-publishing-house-fights-to-survive.html

Ominous Parallels – Iraq & Ukraine

by Gene Berkman

On February 24, 2022, under orders from President Vladimir Putin, Russian military forces undertook a violent invasion of independent Ukraine.

Another invasion. More people killed. There are lots of parallels with many previous invasions. Many times over many years, many countries have violently invaded their neighbors, or even countries far removed. Still some specific parallels come to mind.

In 2003, US military forces undertook a violent attack on Iraq, based on claims that the Hussein regime had or was developing atomic, chemical or biological weapons. Iraq, they claimed, posed a future threat to the US, despite no evidence of Iraqi nukes or poison gas.

To head off a future threat, President Bush announced a preemptive military strike on Iraq, called an “operation” not a war. Yet the announced goal of the “operation” went beyond disarmament. The goal was regime change.

When President Putin announced the Russian “operation” in Ukraine, the stated reasons include a charge that Ukraine might in the future join NATO – a move Putin considered a threat. To deal with this threat – still much in the future – Putin ordered a preemptive strike.

The US preemptive strike on Iraq began with a barrage of Tomahawk missiles and thousands of precision guided weapons. The Russian preemptive strike has relied on barrages of rockets that lack precision guidance. These Soviet era weapons cannot be precisely targeted, and some have blamed this lack of guidance for the many hits on civilian targets. Still, so many civilian targets have been hit by Russian rockets and artillery that such targeting cannot be dismissed as accidental.

Claiming that hits on hospitals or neighborhoods are “accidental” is no defense. If the actions of the Russians consistently result in new civilian casualties, the Russians are morally obligated to stop their murderous activity. If you accidentally kill someone because your car has faulty brakes, you don’t get to keep driving the faulty car. They do take your drivers license away from you.

Of course there is no license to kill civilians. It was wrong when the US military used precision guided weapons to destroy neighborhoods. It is wrong when the Russian military makes attacks on civilians and destruction of civilian infrastructure the main tactic of its invasion.

Russian forces have targeted civilians in past military actions – in Ukraine, in Georgia, in Chechnya, in Afghanistan and in Syria. In Russian military strategy, killing civilians is a feature, not a bug.

WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION

The US government sent teams of inspectors to many parts of Iraq from 2003 to 2005, searching for weapons of mass destruction, or programs to develop WMD. No nukes were found. No chemical weapons were found – just fertilizer and pesticides.

When Russia began its invasion on February 24, WMD were not mentioned. When Ukraine gained independence with the collapse of the Soviet Union, there were Soviet missiles located at bases in Ukraine. These missiles were believed to have nuclear warheads. Ukraine contacted international agencies and asked to have the nuclear tipped missiles removed from its territory. The missiles were returned to Russia, the successor state of the USSR.

The USA and Russia agreed to guarantee the security of Ukraine. Russia is clearly in violation of that agreeement.

Ukraine is the only country that has had possession of nuclear weapons and given them up. The only country to implement nuclear disarmament.

Putin and the Russian general staff know that Ukraine does not possess nuclear weapons. So they felt safe invading with superior conventional forces. President Bush, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld all knew that Iraq did not possess nukes -or poison gas. They felt an invasion – excuse me, an “operation” in Iraq with superior conventional forces would prevail.

As the Russian invasion of Ukraine enters its third week, mass popular resistance continues against Russian forces. Russian attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure have increased as the Russian advance has stalled. And now, the Russian foreign minister and other Russian spokesmen have made claims about WMD in Ukraine. They claim that Ukraine has petitioned international authorities for permission to weaponize plutonium produced in its nuclear power plants. No Russian spokesman has presented evidence to support this claim.

Russian spokesmen have also made claims that Ukraine has a research program for developing biological weapons. It does appear that Ukraine is engaging in medical research on viruses – as many institutes throughout the world are. There is no evidence that Ukraine has developed or is developing biological or chemical weapons, or has any program to do so. Russia’s claims are war propaganda, intended to convince the rest of the world that Russia’s brutal incursion in Ukraine is justified.

Russia does have nuclear weapons, and Putin has made statements that imply a willingness to use them. He has threatened any country that would help Ukraine defend itself. Putin has repeated his threats on more than one occasion in recent weeks. The USA has had nuclear weapons since 1945, and used them on Japan. The USA did not make threats to use nuclear weapons in Iraq, in Yugoslavia or in Afghanistan, so that parallel breaks down.

Russia has chemical weapons, which it has used against Chechen rebels, and in Syria against opponents of the Assad regime. The USA does appear to have chemical weapons, which many Americans oppose. The US military has not used chemical weapons in any conflict since World War II.

PEOPLES WAR IN FINLAND AND UKRAINE

In other specifics, the Russian invasion of Ukraine has different parallels. The resistances of the Ukrainian people has prevented a Russian victory for 3 weeks. The people’s war carried on by Ukraine has parallels to Finland’s defiance of Soviet Russia in 1940. Finland too faced long odds, going against the Soviet Red Army which was bigger and had many tanks, more artillery and more planes than did Finland. In 3 months, the Finns convinced Stalin he should end his intervention. Stalin relied on the intimidating power of Russian military strength to force Finland to give up its independent foreign policy, which seems to be the most minimal of Putin’s goals for Ukraine.

The Finns put on a mighty struggle against a stronger power, and did better than anyone expected. Ukraine has advantages that Finland did not have:

(1) International sanctions on Russian state enterprises and state banks, along with voluntary boycotts and withdrawal from the Russian market by numerous American and European companies.

(2) Other countries are providing defensive weapons to Ukraine. When American B-52s were raining destruction on Hanoi and the countryside of Vietnam – north & south – the Democratic Republic of Vietnam was able to obtain surface to air missiles from East Europe, to defend itself from bombardment. Now Ukraine is being supplied with Stinger anti-aircraft missiles to enable its defense against air attack, and with Javelin anti-tank missiles to deal with Russian armor.

(3) Ukraine has something going for it that Finland also had -the Russian army is dispirited, soldiers are badly treated by their government, and they are equipped with inferior Russian made equipment.

It is clear that Russia cannot conquer Ukraine, cannot impose a new state on the people of Ukraine. The main question is how many innocent Ukrainians will die, how many Russian conscripts will die in a war they don’t understand, and how much of Ukraine’s civilian infrastructure will be destroyed by the invading Russian army.

The related question: how many Americans who claim to oppose war will jettison the non-aggression principle to become defenders of and apologists for Putin’s War of Choice?

Birthplace of Ludwig von Mises under attack

Russian military forces are now attacked civilian infrastructure and other civilian targets in Lviv, using long range surface to surface missiles. in western Ukraine. Russian missiles have totally destroyed the Lviv airport, a civilian facility used to bring in food and medicine to the besieged residents of Lviv. There are no military installations in Lviv, and apparently no military units to defend the city from the Russian brutality.

Until the end of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1918, Lviv was an ethnically diverse city called Lemberg, in Galicia, a province of Austria. Lemberg had a mixed population of Poles, Germans, Ukrainians and Jews. In 1881, Ludwig von Mises was born in Lemberg, and he grew up in the small city before moving to Vienna.

Ludwig von Mises was the most widely read scholar associated with the Austrian School of free market economics. The works of Ludwig von Mises have been used to teach economics to generations of libertarians. You can read a brief history of the life and teachings of Ludwig von Mises here:

https://www.antiwar.com/berkman/mises.html

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