Even Putin cannot make the truth look good, nor does his ally Lukashenko, nor do top Russian officials who openly criticize Putin. This was an all-time major catastrophe in Putin's own angry words.
Russia dominates the news everywhere today, and nothing looks good for Putin. Most of all, even Putin’s own words do not look good for Putin, who made it clear as he walked through the halls of the Kremlin, that the nation had stood on the precipice of all-out “civil war.”
While Putin lied like a former KGB chief of disinformation to spin the story into a new narrative, stating that no one in the military or among the Russian people rose to support Prigozhin’s betrayal, videos aired in Russia showed people running up to shake Prigozhin’s hand and crowds cheering and greeting him and taking selfies with him while other stories told of Russian leaders running from their posts, tails between legs. So, Putin said one thing about Russia’s united leadership and people, as visuals told a far different story, but Putin’s critics did not miss the cognitive dissonance, even asking if he had gone insane.
His comment immediately raised eyebrows on Russian social media.
“News from a parallel reality,” wrote the popular pro-war Telegram channel “Thirteenth.”
“One Chekist I know often told me: ‘The main thing is more confusion.’ That passes for an idea,” said pro-Kremlin war reporter Alexander Sladkov….
“I have not seen anything more pitiful performed by a man remotely resembling the president. Great job everyone… The unrest continues,” wrote Igor Strelkov, the former commander of Russia’s proxy forces in Donetsk.
Indeed, such is the stuff of disinformation. I’ve read lots and lots of this parallel reality stuff in the past few days as conspiracy theorists have gotten busier than hornets in a kicked nest inventing all kinds of new wild tales built on pure speculation to explain away the simple and obvious. They are feverishly working to explain why they were always right about Putin winning this war and being the champion of good, etc. and about Ukraine and the West being the certain losers and the only all-out evil ones in this conflict.
Never mind that Putin, Prigozhin, Lukashenko and all the leaders of the West, agree on the essence of what just transpired — that this was a surpise and a disaster for Russia. Yes, Putin and Lukashenko both saw indicators of it coming, as did Western leaders, but Putin refused to believe it would actually be carried out, as you’ll see in Lukashenko’s own words below. Some bloggers now pretend this is 4-D chess by Putin, but even Putin’s own attempts to spin it show what a calamity he feels the event really was:
Russian President Vladimir Putin compared the “treason” of the Wagner paramilitary leader with the revolutionary turmoil of 1917. “Intrigues, squabbles, politicking behind the back of the army and the people led to great calamity, destruction of the army and the demise for the state, the loss of enormous territories, and, in the end, the tragedy of civil war,” Putin said in a televised address, blaming “internal betrayal” for Russia’s defeat in World War I and the collapse of its empire. “What we’re facing is exactly a betrayal.”
Comparing the recent revolt from within the military against the military’s own leadership to Russia’s most calamitous and greatest of betrayals hardly makes this the minor upset Putin apologists are now trying to spin this into on their own blogs around the world. Calling it “internal betrayal” shows that even Putin is not blaming this cataclysm on the West, though he warned the West against trying to capitalize on it. He sees it as a massive internal betrayal that came close to starting a civil war — a nation beset against itself.
Russian officials are now far more outspoken against Putin’s fails, too, where they formerly feared him and knew too be cautious:
As the Kremlin desperately tries to spin its handling of last weekend’s Wagner uprising into an inspiring success story, some Russians have concerns about Vladimir Putin’s sanity.
The Russian leader was roundly mocked by many pro-war Russian figures Monday night for praising the “courage” of the Wagner mercenaries who killed several service members and tried to seize control of military leadership
A banana republic was the phrase one former senior official who still maintains close government ties used to describe the spectacle of Prigozhin leading his column of tanks and fighters to within 200 kilometers (124 miles) of Moscow and then being allowed to leave for neighboring Belarus without facing criminal charges. A top business tycoon said the Russian president’s botched handling of the uprising was more of a shock than Putin’s decision to invade Ukraine last year.
For many insiders — including more than a dozen current and former senior officials and business leaders — the dramatic events shredded what remained of Putin’s carefully crafted image as the guarantor of ‘stability.’ They all spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss such sensitive issues….
To some, Putin’s public efforts to appear on top of the situation looked foolish, only emphasizing the obvious reality of how ineffective and weak the events had shown his leadership to be, the people said.
It is an obvious reality, but those who don’t want to see reality because they have long concocted their own Russian conspiracies and fantasies refuse to see it because their sheer hatred toward the West or distrust blinds them about Russia. So, they spin up wilder tails to explain away the internal Russian disaster that just happened. That is in spite of the fact that even Putin’s ally, Lukashenko, head of Belarus, called the whole situation with Prigozhin a failure of judgement:
“We got the situation wrong,” Lukashenko said in an outspoken postmortem Tuesday to local media about his role in brokering the deal that defused the uprising. “Both Putin and I thought it would just go away on its own — well, to be honest, I didn’t really think that, but it doesn’t matter. But it didn’t go away on its own.”
Even Lukashenko admits they had information to know something was brewing, but they were just unwilling — especially Putin (as Lukashenko somewhat distances himself from the disbelief) — to believe it was really going to happen. The apologists, however, spin up ever more elaborate tails to explain how Putin is just playing the long con toward an even greater advance against Ukraine, never mind that Putin hasn’t had an advance to speak for ten months, but he’s had abundant losses — Kyiv, then eastern Donbas, then Kherson, then more of the Donbass, failure for many months to take tiny Bakhmut with his utmost Wagnerian effort at the cost of enormous Russian casualties, and now this all-out-internal breakdown of command that Putin feared would quickly become a civil war!
(The apologists, of course, diminished the casualties around Bakhmut, saying for months they were being hugely exaggerated by Ukraine and the West, but now Prigozhin, who commanded that battle directly, says the casualties were actually worse than Ukraine and the West reported. They were horrible! That truthful admission by someone who would clearly rather boast that he lost nothing will not likely stop the apologists from spinning more tails of Russia’s might and its victories.)
As I said before, this is what failure in a war looks like — the generals begin to turn on each other, and the news today is that everyone, including Prigozhin, is looking over their own shoulder now, wondering what leader will take pot shots at them or literal shots while seeking some other leader to blame. Even General Armageddon, Putin’s other repugnant warlord has suddenly disappeared. Has he taken one of those infamous roof-top walks? We don’t know, but it is looking like Russia needs more roofs to accommodate its flow of retiring military leaders.
A few other people in other areas of the news need to drop their denial of observable reality, too, and accept the plain facts. Fed Chair Jerome Powell told them again this morning, as he has so many times before, that there is more tightening to come. Because the denial throughout this world is so great right now with people preferring to believe what they want to believe, rather than face obvious truth, Powell underscored the point twice by saying, there will likely be more than a couple of additional rate increases and that the Fed might even return to an aggressive schedule for hiking rates:
Powell talked tough on inflation Wednesday, saying at a forum that he expects multiple interest rate increases ahead and possibly at an aggressive pace.
“We believe there’s more restriction coming,” Powell said during a monetary policy session in Sintra, Portugal. “What’s really driving it ... is a very strong labor market.”
That last sentence, of course, caught my ear because my prognostication for two years now has been that Powell will over-tighten because he is being miscued by the labor market. He will continue to use that as his main gauge for when to quit, not understanding it is a broken gauge. So, by the time job losses start to bring open jobs down to match with the significantly diminished supply of labor, Powell will be seriously clamping down on the nation’s already dismal ability to produce products and services.
Add to that the minimum six-month lag between Fed policy and economic effects, and Powell will have tightened us deep into recession. Simply put, we have not had too many jobs for the past couple of years; we’ve had too few workers, which already crimps production and services. So, Powell is going to be really putting the binders on by the time unemployment rises even with a shrunken labor pool.
Those who keep thinking central banks will soon go back to easing because inflation is nearly done, should take a listen to the European Central Bank if they cannot stomach Powell’s words. The ECB also did its best to warn the stock market directly in today’s news, stating clearly there is likely a LOT more tightening to come — like two more years of maintaining a firmly tight stance.
But, hey, everyone just believes what they want these days; thus, in this weird world one gay fellow bemoans the fact in this morning’s news that he does’t even fit in the LBTQ?+++ group anymore because the splintering of human genders and preferences has grown so wide under the prism of pride that he is now just old-school, boring gay these days.
So, yeah, the world just keeps getting more queer all the time in the old, old-school sense of the word as we teach children they can be anything they want, such as maybe a non-binary squirrel-dog. Yes, that is my next prediction, having scored on the trans-species prediction: we will soon be seeing self-identified children who couldn’t make up their minds so they invented their own hybrid species because this is what happens when adults stop helping children understand hard reality because the adults live in their own worlds of perpetual denial. Just yesterday, while mentioning my slight misgivings about the recent local story of the new cat people with litter boxes at a local school to a friend, the friend told me he knows it is true because his own grand daughter now speaks in meows, and it makes him furious.
Speaking of hybrid species, inter-species and our ever weirder world, Senator Rubio clarified congress’s big UFO announcement of yesterday by doubling down on all of it. The Senate, he says, has heard a great deal of extremely convincing, first-hand testimony by those who have seen aliens autopsies and witnessed reverse engineering of UFO technology or seen crashed UFOs salvaged. The driving factor in the new intense concern by congress, though congress has not seen these things directly, is that those reporting them now are people with high security clearances who would normally be deemed very reliable sources and who have a lot to lose if they are wrong.
(All referenced stories in today’s editorial appear in boldface type below:)
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