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The world in 6 months

Written By: - Date published: 8:59 am, March 15th, 2022 - 117 comments
Categories: australian politics, China, Deep stuff, food, Free Trade, International, Russia, trade, uk politics, us politics - Tags:

The war in Ukraine continues along similar lines to the Syrian war for Russia: towns and cities are turned into rubble and its remaining 38 million people are made much poorer, angrier, and damaged as families, with 5 million fled. It is on track to becoming a greater humanitarian crisis than the Syrian events from 2011.

The Russian economy is in shreds with higher costs at home with banks closing, people losing their savings other than in inflated untradable roubles, and China taking a higher and higher percentage of its fossil fuels for generation and steel. Some oligarchs seek to offload percentages of their utility holdings but there are few buyers. Microsoft, Apple, SAP, Oracle, Facebook, and Twitter suspend all services to Russian accounts. Russia is essentially black to the outside world. Russian access to finance, trade and investment is stopped for years and damaged for decades. Putin’s Russia starts to become as dependent on China as North Korea, but he remains in power.

President Biden uses a speech to the United Nations to illustrate from the shattered economic waste of Russia what would happen to China if it invaded Taiwan. China gets the message. China continues to fail to support the Rouble, presses on with further oil pipelines, but makes no further military manoeuvres in the Taiwan Strait. The Republican Party divides in rancour as Donald Trump is charged with insurrection, and under the 14th Amendment is barred from standing for the Presidency again. Parts of Trump’s empire are sold off the stave bankruptcy. But Democrats still lose both House and Senate majorities after low policy delivery.

With Macron easily re-elected in France, the European Union starts to talk seriously about a common standing military force and the rules by which it would operate. Far right parties across Europe start to lose out big time, other than in Hungary and Poland. Albania, North Macedonia , and increasingly Turkey and Moldova accelerate plans to join the European Union and they are welcomed more warmly in late 2022 than previously.

New Zealand and Australia see their economies boom as major world food producers and highly efficient managers of the COVID crisis as safe and efficient managers of global investment through pension funds. Their international standing continues to rise as competent and efficient democracies. Inward immigration queues get massive and continue to prop up property prices even with interest rises and tax changes.

Pacific islands economies flourish as tourism from Australia and New Zealand comes back strongly in 2023 with consumer confidence returning. This time, however, air flight prices increase sharply so there are less of them but they pay for premium products and services.

The global freeze of most oligarchical assets hits London particularly hard and the pressure comes on Prime Minister Johnson to revoke the law allowing anonymous property purchases from foreigners. This sends shockwaves through both the Conservative Party and through the City of London. It ignites debate about billionaires and how much power they have and should not have. Of the 3 million Ukrainian refugees in Poland, the UK takes less than 5,000 in 2022.
The scale of trade sanctions by the developed West against Russia finally turn China and India away from neutral positions about the war, and they retain strong US and European trade as a result. Global trade rebalances without Russia. OPEC+ members keep oil prices over US$100 per barrel, but the United States secures long term refined oil supply with Venezuela.

There is no happy ending to the heroic struggle of the Ukrainian armed forces or its citizens. International volunteer brigades continue to come into Ukraine, but it heads towards defeat. There’s no sign of a negotiated settlement in 2022 nor one that would ever leave the mass of Ukrainian territory under Kyiv’s independent authority. The most likely outcome of the war by the end of 2022 is a pyrrhic Russian victory.
Europe understands and acts upon the energy threat that Russia presents to them, and accelerates the decline of gasoline and gas use across Europe in favour of renewables. The EU plan to cut reliance on Russian gas imports stays on track to be cut by 66% by the end of 2022, through a mix of buying gas from other countries and ramping up energy efficiency. Putin becomes the single villain that the climate change movement needed, in time for COP27 in November.

In Afghanistan, Egypt, Turkey, Bangladesh, Iraq and Iran wheat prices skyrocket so much that famine grows fast. In the world’s poorest regions many millions of lives come under threat from starvation, and food shortages in eastern Africa are the strongest since the late 1980s. War and sanctions continue to depress Russian and Ukrainian agricultural production for years to come. Southeast Asian rice producers do exceptional business.

117 comments on “The world in 6 months ”

  1. mickysavage 1

    One further prediction I would make is that Omicron escapes from Hong Kong and establishes itself on the mainland. Industry and supply lines are significantly disrupted. Not pretty for international trade …

  2. Interesting times indeed. I disagree with this statement:

    “There is no happy ending to the heroic struggle of the Ukrainian armed forces or its citizens. International volunteer brigades continue to come into Ukraine, but it heads towards defeat. There’s no sign of a negotiated settlement in 2022 nor one that would ever leave the mass of Ukrainian territory under Kyiv’s independent authority.”

    I tend to think that Ukraine wins by holding on longer than Russia can afford to keep waging war. Assuming Russia is prepared to keep pouring resources into the war, then eventually they will win. But how long Russia is prepared or able to do that is another question.

    Russia is bogged down at the moment. Ukraine is very effectively targeting Russian logistics which is making it difficult for Russia to sustain the war.


    And peace negotiations appear to be making more progress, which is encouraging, likely because Russia wants to find an off-ramp:


    However, if Russia do keep the war going, and even if they do eventually take Kiev or other cities, they will be engaged in a long term battle against an insurgency. Imagine all the internal terrorist activity that is going to happen in Russia with all the hand held anti-aircraft and anti-tank weapons floating around. I definitely wouldn't be booking tickets for plane trips to Russia anytime soon!!

    So, now it is a war of attrition.

    Russia could, of course, win the war very quickly by employing some of their weaponary such as chemical weapons, or large thermobaric warheads (they have used some smaller ones up until now) that could level large sections of cities and cause huge civilian casualties.

    However, I think the international fall out from that would be huge, and may even draw Nato into the conflict. So, I don't think they want to go there. For instance, I understand there are still 2 million civilians in Kiev. Imagine the international outcry if Russia dropped a few 44kt thermobaric bombs on Kiev that wiped out half the population and levelled the city.

    • RedLogix 2.1

      All this is true enough.

      If it can be proven that white phosphorous or thermobaric weapons are used on civilian targets there will never be any return from this – the Russian nation will be forever isolated from the world.

      Left to rot in its own terminal demographic decline and self-loathing.

      • tsmithfield 2.1.1

        Those Javelin anti-tank weapons the West is providing are causing major issues for the Russians who have very much a tank and armour strategy.

        It must be very demoralising for the Russian troops not knowing when they are going to be ambushed next. Like in this video:


        Notice how when the tank is hit, Russian troops are running across the road trying to get away, and a number of them are left lying on the road.

        I am wondering if these type of weapons will bring the age of the tank to an end. They give an individual soldier huge fire-power.

        • Tricledrown

          Russia has thousands of Tanks a few tanks getting taken out no problem just bring in more.

          The big problem for Russia is Moral.

          Ukraine should run a Guerilla war that would wear Russias Morale down like in Afghanistan.

          Russia looks like have used older planes like the mig 25 so the Ukranian defence force uses their radar guided missiles up. Russia sacrificing these planes until they have complete control.

          • tsmithfield

            I think you meant "morale"? I am not sure that "moral" figures too highly in Putin's thinking.

            I know they have heaps of tanks. But it becomes an issue for troops knowing they could get taken out at any moment due to the large number of Javelins in circulation in Ukraine now. So, morale, definitely.

            And yes, winning the war by capturing some cities is one thing. But holding the gains is quite a different matter. Ukraine is more than twice the size of NZ in land area, and the biggest country in Europe outside of Russia.

            So, the logistics and expense of holding the territory against a strong insurgence is an long-term lose for Russia.

            • Tricledrown

              Spell checker is overriding

              I meant morale.

              Putin has no Morals.

              He is a megalomaniac.

              He is re nazifying Ukraine.

        • Sanctuary

          The Russians are using a lot of old equipment in the Ukraine. The T-72/T-90 tanks are second generation vehicles that are essentially an updated T-62 – a vehicle itself based on the T-54/55 series of MBT. These are essentially sixty or seventy year old designs. This war should be the end of the road for frontline duties of all the Soviet era T-64 and T-72 based designs against any sort of comprehensive crew served anti-armour net. The thing is these tanks are not just getting knocked out. They are suffering catastrophic turret detachments and probable loss of the entire crew, indicating top-attack and an immediate detonation of the ammunition supply.

          My definition of military obsolescence is a weapons system becomes obsolete when the cost of producing it and protecting it outweighs its offensive combat value – that is why battleships ceased to exist, for example. By that measure even more advanced MBT are approaching obsolescence in the face of drone warfare, since drones can combine the firepower and mobility of a MBT at a fraction of the cost. Tanks will be around for a while yet, but their days of ruling the battlefield have been in decline since the introduction of AT-3 Sagger in the Yom Kippur war fifty odd years ago.

          • tsmithfield

            I am thinking they expected they wouldn't need their good stuff, and didn't want to risk it, so put in the older stuff instead.

            Probably a strategic mistake in hindsight.

            • Sanctuary

              I hear this theory a lot, but it doesn't make sense. The Russians expected a dramatic and easy coup-de-main, using airborne and Spetsnaz forces along with their very best ground troops in was clearly a plan to have the whole thing done and dusted in 3-5 days, then presenting a fait accompli to the west.

              It simply doesn't stand up to scrutiny that they would then try and execute that plan with a pile of clapped out kit they defrosted from some half-forgotten tank park in the Urals.

              The Russian armies used all it's best stuff, which turned out to be a lot less good than the top brass thought on account of chronic corruption.

              • "The Russian armies used all it's best stuff, which turned out to be a lot less good than the top brass thought on account of chronic corruption.''

                Yes, I have heard that a lot before too.

                I think they have a lot of elite troops that aren't engaged in this war, from what I have seen.

                Mostly, it is mainly conscripts being used here. I think the intial push that they thought they would quickly win was more their special troops etc. But that didn't work out too well in giving them a quick win.

          • Tricledrown

            Yes these Tanks are old designs but he has the threat of nuclear war to stop Nato coming in.

            The 60km column would have been wiped out in a few hours by Nato.

            Similar to Sadams army.

            Trump withheld $400 million in military aid to the Ukraine.

            That would have emboldened his mate Putin especially after the withdrawal from Afghanistan.

            The Republicans have a lot to answer for.

            Invading Irag on false pretences, a Russian supplied military.

            Invading Afghanistan just plain bonkers .

            Then Obamas Arab spring compounded everything many of those countries relying on Russian military equipment.

            So in conventional war Russian equipment is antiquated largely especially since the collapse of the Soviet Union.

            Putin wants to rebuild his military but with mass poverty looming how is he going to maintain the morale of the Russian military. As well as his serfs.

        • Sanctuary

          BTW – that's an NLAW hit in that video not a Javelin, which is a medium to long range weapon. The Ukrainians apparently adore the NLAWS, I have seen them described as "beautiful" and the "very best we've got" – chalk one up to the British arms industry and expect to see a deluge of NLAW sales…

          • tsmithfield

            You probably are right with that. The Javelins are designed to dive down onto the top hatch of the tank where it is very weak. So, would probably be used at a bit longer range.

            • Sanctuary

              Well, always worth reminding ourselves we just watched three men (these tanks have a three man crew) – probably just young men of 22 or 23 – die in a horrible tank explosion and immolation. The sudden flare of flame from the turret top hatch is characteristic of the ammunition erupting in a cordite fire, the classic “brew up” signature of a tank kill. A T-72 tank has no firewall between the crew compartment and the driver, so they all would have been badly burned, probably to death.

              If you want to know what is left of a tank crew after an internal explosion and fire, there are plenty of images from WW2 on the internet.

              Putin's crimes consist of killing young Russians as well as Ukrainian defenders.

              • Yeah. Most of the poor sods in these tanks didn't want to be there in the first place.

                Personally, I would shit myself if I had to get into one of those things knowing that my enemy was kitted to the hilt with anti-tank weapons. Tanks are becoming nothing more than steel coffins now I think, especially in this sort of warfare.

                A big part of their problem is that they are having to stay on the roads due to the muddy conditions. Long convoys of armoured vehicles are so vulnerable on a road. All that an adversary has to do is take out the front and rear vehicles in the convoy, and the rest are stuck there as sitting targets.

          • Bearded Git

            Boris using the war as a marketing opportunity….that sounds about right.

        • Obtrectator

          That footage has been taken down now.

      • aom 2.1.2

        Do you really believe that Russia will be forever isolated?

        Don't forget that one nation has never demurred from using the most horrific and lethal weapons with impunity since Hiroshima and the world excuses it. Even NZ now kisses its arse and ignores its coterie of human rights abusing hangers on.

        Just to add to the irony, look at how the US is expecting the likes of China, Venezuela, Iran and God knows who else that they have fucked over to now sing from their corrupt song sheet – all the time knowing that the sanctions they insist on deprive others but beef up their own reserves.

        • tsmithfield

          I think Russia will end up as a vasal state of China.

          • aom

            More likely the US will end up as a vasal state of China. They can't succeed in fomenting unresolved chaos all over the world then leave others to suffer the effects (i.e. Ukraine etc.) without ultimately coming unstuck. Could well happen on Sleepy Joe's watch

            • tsmithfield

              Nah, given that European countries are realising the folly of being dependent on Russian energy, it is just a matter of time before Russia just becomes a giant fuel pump for China.

              • aom

                Europe is still sucking at the Russian teat though! It won't be too pleasant when Russia turns off the taps.

                How long before they bite the bullet and cave to the US money gobbling empire. Too gutless to go to suppliers like Venezuela and Iran themselves but will dance for joy and pay a premium for the product if the US steals or otherwise 'obtains' supplies through the usual deceitful means.

      • Blazer 2.1.3

        White phosphorus has been used by the U.S in Vietnam,Iraq and Syria.

        It is not supposed to be used on civilians,but all too common in war…civilians become 'collateral damage'.

  3. Sanctuary 3

    The biggest threat on the horizon is the coming global food shortages.

    In particular there will be big short to medium term shortages of wheat, soya, and other basic cereals and oil crops with the shuttering of the vast breadbasket of the steppes and the Ukraine and the destruction of the Black Sea ports – and with them the means for exporting these bulk crops.

    In addition, Russia and Belarus produce a third of the worlds potash, a vital fertilizer already in short supply. A big hole in potash supply that will be caused by harsh sanctions isn't easily fixed as a new factory takes 5+ years to build while lack of potash will lead to either drastic drops in yields in countries utterly dependent on high rates of fertilizer use to maintain output or big jumps in food prices as more expensive alternatives are somehow sourced – and that includes NZ.

    Egypt, whose population has increased from 10 million to 102 million in the last century, is grossly over-populated and is the largest wheat importer in the world. They've cancelled their third wheat tender in a row because they couldn't get any at a price they can afford – bread subsidies accounting for a big proportion of that governments budget. Look for big social unrest there and the rest of the over-populated middle east if cheap bread can't be found.

    For us, we need to start getting serious about ensuring security of our cereal supplies. Perhaps a bit of stockpiling now wouldn't go amiss, or perhaps some price signals via subsidies to ensure we have enough cereals for local consumption by 2024-25.

    • We may have to start growing more of our own wheat. One of the benefits of being a largely agricultural economy is that we probably have the capacity to do that.

    • Tricledrown 3.2

      Australia and NZ have had large Areas of their wheat crops damaged by severe weather.

      Russia will have plenty as their exports are sanctioned.

      India is looking to buy cheap Russian fuel plus most likely Grain and weapons.

      • Sanctuary 3.2.1

        There is an unholy stink going on in India at the moment since as a result of all the glacier fist fights with China it has dawned on them that their armed forces are in no state to take on China. A lot of that is to do with all the usual rank corruption weapons procurement seems to attract, and the suspicion a lot of peoples nephews, sons and brothers got nicely paid jobs on stinkers like the second hand aircraft carrier they've lumbered themselves with.

        The Indian army has a lot of anachronistic regimental inertia – they have more of that British regimental palaver than most of the British army these days – and they are getting a well over due big shake up because an army capable of beating up on Pakistan is not able to take on China with any hope of success.

        Part of that is a complete review of their reliance on Russian weapons, for example the purchase of French Rafale fighter jets over Russian ones. I would expect the poor performance of Russian equipment – India has 4000 (Goodness me that is a lot, who on earth are they planning to fight with that lot???? Tanks are no good in the Himalayas) T-72/T-90 tanks, so the shocking vulnerability of their main tank types revealed by the war in the Ukraine must be a huge worry especially as the indigenous Arjun tank is a complete disaster – will accelerate their move away from Russian weaponry.

    • Tricledrown 3.3

      We have plenty of Potash here with the world's highest usage of Cannibis

      • roblogic 3.3.1

        We used to have plenty of “Pot-ash”, but since the government and police are acting like wankers about cannabis, we now have a growing meth problem – – it's more dangerous and volatile, but cheaper to produce than sweet mary jane.

    • SPC 3.4

      Yep. This conflict is fast tracking the future impact on global warming on resources (and intake of refugees – the surprising part for now from an area of the world that is a food basket).

  4. For anyone wanting to get some good insight into the long-term global implications for what is happening in Ukraine at the moment, then this is an outstanding video:

    This interview with Ian Bremmer, who is an American political scientist and author focusing on global political risk, is really worth watching to understand the fundamental changes happening in the world at the moment and what their implications are. I think it is essential watching to get a context on how the world is going to be affected in the long-term by this conflict.

  5. roblogic 5

    Wellington coffee prices set to increase by 50% causing widespread anguish and cries of outrage from the public service 😱

    • aj 5.1

      Wellington coffee prices set to increase by 50%

      And if Luxon was mortified by a what, 2.4 cent price increase per coffee with a minimum wage increase? his head will explode and demand more tax cuts

  6. Stuart Munro 6

    I want there to be a happy ending for Ukraine.

    After the wreck of war is gone, they will need to rebuild. NZ should step up to help – we can offer the core of dairy herds, as we once did for Korea and Malaysia. We can make damned sure that our dodgy fishing companies pay any Ukrainian fisherman every cent they are entitled to.

    We can organize a rebuild fund and facilitate trade, even rotate some of our armed forces through so some of the locals can take leave.

    As for your Pyrrhic Russian victory, Wesley Clark is of another view.

    • Tricledrown 6.1

      Russia have plan A quick victory.

      Plan B bomb the he'll out of Ukraine flatten the cities to rubble.

      Plan B has been successful in chechnyna and Syria.

      Who's going to stop Putin.

      No body he doesn't want to show any sign of weakness.

      This will however set Russia back years and will the average Russian put up with the poverty that Russia will endure.

      How much longer will his cronies be on his side.

      The Soviet Union feel apart not long after failure to subdue Afghanistan.

      • tsmithfield 6.1.1

        Yes. This is a strategic loss for Putin.

        What he needs is some sort of diplomatic win that he can use to justify the war effort; an off-ramp if you will. Perhaps that could be a guarantee that Ukraine will never join Nato, along with some sort of tacit recognition of the disputed territories.

        I think this is a war Putin would like to be out of now. As I pointed out above, there seems to be more optimism towards negotiations now. The fact that Ukraine has held on for so long, and looks to be able to hold on for a lot longer puts them in a position of much more strength so far as negotiations with Russia goes.


        • lprent

          Perhaps that could be a guarantee that Ukraine will never join Nato

          Don't make me laugh. You can be damn sure that Ukraine will never accept that, and there is literally nothing that Russia could say that would reassure them that this won't happen again.

          After all Russia has already broken their previous guarantees of security to Ukraine.

          • tsmithfield

            I understand what you are saying.

            But there may be some sort of wording that recognises both positions.

            For instance, Ukraine may be able to change their constitution so that they are not able to join Nato for say 10 years, or something like that.

            There may be some accommodation that can be reached with the disputed territories that both sides can live with.

            In the end, I think there will have to be some sort of negotiated solution. Putin needs to be able to exit this situation without being seen to lose face. And, regardless of how well Ukraine is fighting, they also need to realise that Russia has the capability to wipe them off the map if they really want to.

            A quote I remember from my school notebook back in the day:

            "Diplomacy is to do and say the nastiest thing in the nicest way.''


  7. Here is an excellent site for following this. CNN has constant updates about what is happening.

    I note, in the latest article, Russia is alleged to be requesting food assistance from China to feed their troops. So, all not going well for the Russians, it seems.

    "Among the assistance Russia requested was pre-packaged, non-perishable military food kits, known in the US as "meal, ready-to-eat," or MREs, according to two sources familiar with the matter."


  8. I'm not too sure about our confidence in being the food basket of the world

    We are very much reliant on potash as being one of the essential 3.The world's biggest deposits are in Russia and Belarus , Secondly, Germany and Canada .Take Russia and Belarus out of the equation and there is a serious shortage and massive price rises .

    I 'm thinking of not visiting this site for a while .The intense hatred for Russia and all things Russian, the cries from US politicians to assassinate Putin,Facebook now allowing admiration for the Azov Battallion, removing its previous policy banning pro Azov commentary, the entirely unhinged lust for war and pumping more and more lethal weapons into a very unstable and volatile Ukraine , the revenge shtick on all Russians, is now becoming evident on this site

    Not even the atrocities visited upon the Iraqis, Afghans, Libyans, Yemeni,Palestinians has managed to provoke such intense hatred and insane wish for revenge, even to the point where all life on earth could end

    Sorry guys , the reek of testosterone is suffocating me here , you're all good guys , but just at present the red mist is descending, and you're ripe for all the propaganda atrocities coming your way

    Caitlin Johnstone is braver than me


    Myself, after reading Johnstone, I'm officially predicting a monstrous chemical weapon attack perpetrated by the Russians on an orphanage for disabled children , and all of you will be so blinded by your own blood lust your critical faculties will have turned to mush

    • Russia has all sorts of weapons of mass destruction they could deploy if they wanted to.

      As I mentioned above, I am hoping that the likely reaction from Nato and the US would discourage them from using those types of weapons.

      Wiping out a city like Kiev with around two million civilians still there would be a war crime beyond belief.

    • lprent 8.2

      About the Asov 'battalion' perhaps you could just answer the questions that were raised about how a few thousands of alt-tight wingers represented the will of Ukraine – a nation of 44 million.

      Especially since I looked at all of the main figures that people raised as being deeply entrenched in the political system, and found that most of them were out of politics at any noticeable level by 2019. The political response to the alt-right parties was ~15% in 2014, and less than 4% in 2019. This is easy to see in links that I left scattered over my post that you and other fools were trying astro-turf.

      My contempt is for you and the other idiots making assertions of fact that had no basis in fact. If requiring debate to queries about fact checks scares you, then I suspect you need to look for a new site for parroting dumb agitprop in. Because I’m notorious for seeing facts to be checked if they are made as assertions.

      • tsmithfield 8.2.1

        It may be much less than a few thousand in the Asov battalion if that is a strict military specification of the term, as a battalion size is only 400.


        But I agree totally with you. The alt-right argument is stupid and uninformed.

        And I think having them in the army is probably the best place for them, because at least they are under military control. And, I understand they are stuck on the front line in Muriupol at the moment anyway. What better place to put neo-nazis.smiley

        • lprent

          And I think having them in the army is probably the best place for them, because at least they are under military control.

          Agreed. That was done long ago.

          Umm – 2000-3000 is usually about regimental size in old soviet states…. wikipedia

          In January 2015, Azov Battalion was officially upgraded to a regiment and its structures took a definite shape

          Yep… The old soviet MRR were about 2500 which is probably what the Ukrainian army uses. Apparently they were inducted as a battalion of about 400.

          • tsmithfield

            Yes. I agree, and noticed that you did put '' " around the word "battalion".

          • adam

            My problem is it's a two way street. Most of these neo-nazi idiots are in the army, and the army is full of right wing nationalist types to being with.

            Another is how these far right bat shit crazies, have a tendency to exert influence way above their numbers. We have seen this time and time again.

            Whilst it may be that most of the army is just "small" nationalist and want to protect their country, as things start to deteriorate these nutters are only going to get stronger.

            Look I agree it's over blown, but they exist and they are well organised. I do think they have been handed by the Russians a golden ticket to recruit and get larger.

            I also don't think the army slogan/greeting "Glory to Ukraine" helps at all in any way. It just re-enforce the neo nazi influence tag. But I'll let you read this piece from DW and form your own opinion.


            • tsmithfield

              I don't think many of the Azoz bunch will be getting out of Muriupol, which is totally surrounded and being shelled constantly. So, the Asov problem may solve itself.

              So far as the "Glory to Ukraine" tag goes, I think this is just a product of the national unity and self identity that results from the incredible courage these Ukranians are showing in defending their nation, rather than some alt-right thing.

              I wonder how many of us would have the courage to stand up for New Zealand and our way of life in the same circumstances.

              • adam

                If the slogan was adopted at the start of the invasion, maybe I'd agree with you. But it was not.

                As for "the courage to stand up". What sort of jingoistic crap is that.

                What is happening is war, it's a nasty, ugly, vile, family wreaking, soul destroying endeavour. I say we should oppose it. Not make hero's out of people's suffering, nor make jingoist chants about standing up.

                • tsmithfield

                  Give them a break. They are fighting for the survival of their country. If they have a patriotic slogan that helps motivate them, then who is to deny them that?

            • SPC

              The Ukraine army is based on conscription.

              The Azov Regiment is an all volunteer group of the National Guard.

            • lprent

              Most of these neo-nazi idiots are in the army, and the army is full of right wing nationalist types to being with.

              Virtually all armies are formed from people with a strong nationalist centre as a core. Including New Zealand.

              You could equally argue that the number of Russian speaking communist or Slav nationalists supporters in the Ukrainian army are a problem. There were a lot of those back in 2014. That was what the core of the armed forces in the secessionist areas were formed on – bolstered by Russian Army "volunteers".

              From what has been reported, and obviously from the strong resistance on the ground by Ukrainian soldiers and civilians, both of the tendencies have subsumed into support for Ukraine in the intervening 8 years.

              My impression is that the biggest factor for that change appears to have been the piss-poor example of the warlords and their regime in the separatists. They seem to have made everyone aware of exactly how corrupt and blatantly incompetent a Russian administration have been.

              I also don't think the army slogan/greeting "Glory to Ukraine" helps at all ..

              Clearly you haven't spent much time in or around military. Our one is into determinedly non-overt patriotism and stress competence. But it is an exception rather than a rule – they are a professional army.

              All military have their little group bonding rituals. Nothing strange about Ukrainian army rituals as overt nationalistic ritual is the norm for all conscript based armies. Their previous sanctioned greeting was exactly the same.

          • Francesca

            So , the Azov Battallion is under Ukrainian army control , since about 2014 .Does that mean that the Ukrainian army has been ok with Azov training far right volunteers from the Uk for instance.


            That the Ukrainian army is ok with anti muslim tactics like this


            That the Ukrainian army is ok with the Azov Battallion still wearing the Wolsangel insignia

            The Ukrainian army tolerates attacks on Roma and LGBT

            Mann points to the coercion of the opposition as an aspect of fascist paramilitarism. Azov has been connected to violence symagainst an anti-fascist march in Kyiv in 2018, a violent intervention in a lecture about discrimination in film in Mariupol, and an attack against feminist demonstrators and liberals on International Women’s Day (OpenDemocracy, 2018). These are only a few examples of the violence carried out against their opposition, and while “they do not possess a complete monopoly on violence, Azov has certainly established political control of the streets in Mariupol. To maintain this control, they have to react violently… to any public event which diverges sufficiently from their political agenda” (OpenDemocracy, 2018, para. 42). Azov has clearly demonstrated violence against opposing groups in its own country.


            In any other civilised country, that Battallion would have been dismantled long ago.Which leads me to believe the Ukrainian army /govt have zero control over Azov

      • Francesca 8.2.2

        How can you not see that the presence of very well armed and trained militia , with exremist right wing ideology , not under the full control of the Ukrainian govt , might have some influence on the policies of said govt /This isn't Timaru, this is Ukraine, riddled with oligarchs like Kolomoisky who fund their own militia.


        Why would you need a seat in parliament if you've got your own private militia ?

        I'm not convinced this problem has been solved.

        And if your own law enforcement is riddled with admirers of Stepan Bandera, who willingly look aside when Roma camps are attacked, why would you need a Banderist party?


        When you have Dmitry Yarosh ex commander of Right Sector appointed as adviser to the Commander of the Armed forces of Ukraine in 2021 why bother with a political party.And when he says this:

        . Zelensky said in his inaugural speech that he was ready to lose ratings, popularity, position… No, he would lose his life. He will hang on some tree on Khreshchatyk – if he betrays Ukraine and those people who died in the Revolution and the War.


        Do you see how it might work ?


        And when Andriy Biletsky is permitted to hold public training sessions in the streets of Kiev…..

        Biletsky has toned down his rhetoric in recent years, but the former Azov battalion commander declared in 2010 that the Ukrainian nation’s mission was to “lead the white races of the world in a final crusade … against Semite-led Untermenschen [subhumans]”.


        Well I'm sorry I'm not feeling very Pollyanna about that .

        Elections, political parties?Pffft .You pussy, a gun to the head gets your message across more quickly.

        No Capitulation , thats the motto.

        And can I say , the contempt for all simplistic thinkers and useful idiots for American stupidity and arrogance and NATO hubris is returned doubly .

        • SPC

          Why the problem with a volunteer regiment of the NG (of whom less than 20% would be right wing) a miniscule force when compared to the Ukrainian Army – when Hizbollah in Lebanon and Shia militias resourced by Iran, are as strong, if not stronger, than the national army?

          Are only European nations bound by standards?

          PS The government tolerates the all volunteer unit because then they do not have to send army conscripts into East Ukraine to confront the volunteer units of Russian Ukrainians – then the army is only used for defence of the realm from foreign forces.

          • SPC

            Shia militias in Iraq resourced by Iran

            PS Currently Sadr is working with Kurds (and Sunni) to form a government in Baghdad excluding pro Iranian groups. In response Iran fired missiles into Kurdish areas and claimed it was an attack on "pro Zionist" spies.

    • Subliminal 8.3

      Hey Francesca. I know what you mean but rest assured that short of nuclear escalation by the west as the creeping realisation of being on the losing end dawns, Russia has many friends. China will not abandon her, knowing that she is next on the block and India remembers that only Russia stood by her when in her hour of need. India is continuing to buy Russian oil as is China and the value of the ruble is now on the rise again. Russia has a balanced budget for oil at a price of $45 per barrel so is doing fine at present. The West thinks that they are the world but are in the process of finding out that resources are real wealth and the bully boy in town is no longer feared. For anyone in doubt, check out #EndTheSiegeOn Yemen for a harrowing display of the hypocrisy of the West with enforced starvation by the UK and US on some of the poorest people in the world all so Saudi can control yet more oil. Not to mention 81 recent executions in a single day by Saudi. But of course we're all good with buying their oil… MbS of course, isn't the embodiment of evil… And thats without even mentioning 9/11 or the resulting war in Iraq… Whoops! It just popped out! Nothing I could do!

      • roblogic 8.3.1

        Whataboutism. I think you'll find no shortage of critiques of American adventurism and immoral oil wars on this site.

        That in no way justifies the genocide and war crimes committed in Ukraine by Putin and his unprovoked invasion against a peaceful democracy.

    • gsays 8.4

      Comfrey for the potash supply.

      That, or a hippy's roach clip.

      • Francesca 8.4.1

        Comfrey is nothing but a recycler of potash, valuable for that , but it cant make it out of thin air.

        • gsays

          Ahh, so it gets it from the clay, then the garden gets it from the comfrey tea.

          Still, it is another argument for regenerative agriculture

  9. Some people are brave at a level most of us couldn't even comprehend:


    I wonder what has happened to this brave woman.

    • adam 9.1

      Arrested and jailed for 15 years. That's what will happen.

      She will probably be beaten and raped as well. Because war brings out in human beings the very worst of our nature.

      • arkie 9.1.1


        Marina Ovsyannikova (woman with sign) works on Channel One as an editor. She is a part of Russian propaganda machine.

        In addition to this sign, Marina recorded a video. It sounds like typical anti-war statement except few details.

        First, she says that only Putin is responsible for war. It's false statement: most of Russian society support Putin, occupation and war in Ukraine.

        Second. In video she talks about "brother nations" of Russia and Ukraine. This is core narrative of Russian propaganda that is used as explanation of occupation of Ukraine: "We are brothers and we should live in one country".

        One more suspicious detail: the largest message on sign is in English. Both sides of war do not use English on daily basis, so we can assume the sign was oriented on west audience.


        • tsmithfield

          So, what are you saying? Are you trying to say that this protest was fake? If so, why?

          On the sign the message is in both English and Russian. I would hazard a guess that she was trying to ensure her message reached an audience outside Russia to give herself some degree of protection, in that there will be enquiries from outside Russia about what is happening to the woman after her protest.

          • arkie

            I’m saying that a number of people more familiar with the Russian media environment have expressed concern that this could be staged, if you read the provided links you were see those people’s rationale.

            Yes, you can guess that. I think it’s best to be cautious, this is an information war as well; and while the international focus is on this protest in Russia, it’s no longer on the Ukrainian people currently being shelled and occupied and who knows what else.

            • tsmithfield

              I assume this could all be easily verified.

              Is the news presenter reading the news an established presenter for the media organisation? Was this actually aired on Russian TV? etc etc.

              If it is a staged propaganda event, then it should be very easy to prove. So, you should be able to fairly quickly provide irrefutable evidence to confirm your suspicion that it was staged.

              So far as the fact that some writing was in English, a very plausible explanation for that is that the message to "stop the war" wasn't only directed to Russians, but to the world.

              Furthermore, she has already been to court and been fined 30000 ruble for her protest:


              • arkie

                So as you have confirmed yourself she was not Arrested and jailed for 15 years. The thing I thought was unlikely.

                As Ad has pointed out the fine she received is equivalent to $450.

                The fact this protest was 'directed to the world' is one of the reasons some believe it may have been staged.

                • It wasn't only directed to the world. The sign was also in Russian.

                  If you really think it was staged, it should be easy to prove that, as I mentioned above. So, produce some evidence rather than conspiracy theories.

                  • arkie

                    I have always presented this information as coming from people from the region with more understanding of the Russian media environment.

                    I think there is a possibility it was staged, not that it certainly was.

                    You're very certain of your ability to understand and parse any 'evidence' but you're unable to follow links, or comprehend what I have actually written.

                • This should end all doubt for you:

                  • arkie

                    That the Western media are still making this protest the most important story of this war while Ukrainians are being bombed? I never doubted it.

      • Ad 9.1.2

        She got a $450 fine.

  10. Poission 10

    How many covid deaths by Kings birthday weekend?

  11. Byd0nz 11

    I think the conflict will end sooner than later and that Russia will have secured independence for Donetsk and Luhansk.

    Ukraine will remain an independent country with new elections that see the back of NATO and the present Lakey Government and parties that backed the 2014 illegal coup. The international enquirey to come will see the UN with egg on it's face and a lot of mistruths exposed.

    The Western big powers will be troubled by infighting, not only against each other but at home as well. The US dream of top dog will crumble even further than the present.

    You can moan at my predictions as you like, but time will tell and we will see.

  12. Subliminal 12

    No. Not whatabouterism. If you read a bit more carefully you would see that I was not making a criticism of this site. It was a criticism of Western Imperialism and its control of the media. It was intended to demonstrate that action at the political, national, international level is only ever in the areas in which focus is directed to further said imperialism. Never mind that far worse atrocties are comitted by ourselves and our allies because these don't exist because their cycle in news is short and never sustained. A sustained focus by media on Saudi would produce at least as much outrage. Children with sticks for arms and legs displayed each night would create a very forceful demand for "something to be done"

    • "It was a criticism of Western Imperialism and its control of the media.''

      Any such media control in the West is nothing compared to what is going on in Russia with independent media being forced to quit and the state media controlling the propaganda.



      As I pointed out above, some people are showing extra-ordinary courage to fight against it:


    • Francesca 12.2

      I totally agree with you there Subliminal.The wars of our allies are clean and from a distance, and their enemies had it coming.If we flattened the cities and dropped atomic bombs it was to save lives, our boys lives at least.If children died it couldn't be helped, what were the parents thinking of?

      The wars of our enemies are uniquely cruel and savage, they target children and old people.We will be shown the human tragedy , the violence , close up hour after hour until we're baying for our enemies heads on a plate.

      And we're so acclimated to American wars, this is what they do .So?Its their nature , and nothing much we can do

      • Subliminal 12.2.1

        Yes. And our inability to see this and acknowledge it means that the next six months will bring a further fracturing of the world. I have read this as described as the still birth of a multipolar world. For the imperial west a bipolar world is a good second best to hegemony. Lots of arms sales opportunities. I am a little more optimistic that the other half will gain enough space to breath and grow. If they are able to retain the use of resources in the betterment of their own people and limit accumulation for elites then there is still a chance for cooperative models to evolve. However this is tempered with the knowledge that the US is unlikely to allow this resource and manufacturing behemoth to go unchallenged. We appear to be locked into an existential battle.

        For NZ, we will not now have the ability to focus on climate change issues. Energy is going to become key. If we don't find some way to get some sort of self sufficiency and are left to scrap it out with everyone else then there is going to be a lot of suffering. Thinking locally and finding leaders that understand that tourism is not the answer, that community is, will determine how we go in the short term.

        A bipolar world means you are either with us or against us. Independence will be increasingly difficult and it is likely that we will be drawn further into Scotty's wee vendetta with China. The chances of everything exploding are pretty high but then it seems that given the choice between "appeasement" and nuclear war, we will chose the latter. I mean, we already choose to ignore children with sticks for arms and legs. Now I'm definitely getting pessimistic…

  13. Blazer 13

    Ukraine and Russia will agree on terms to end the hostilities by the end of April.

    Inflation will exceed expectations and interest rates will ramp up much quicker than current forecasts.

    The West will recognise Maduro as Venezuelas legitimate President and ease sanctions ,primarily for western companies to access oil.

    Property prices in NZ will finally slump,at least around 10% as interest rates rise.

    The europeans will distance themselves from U.S foreign policy and improve relations with Russia.

    It will be back to BAU for the oligarchs ,and some of them may require more security.

    Scomo will scrape in again in the aussie elections.

    The new National shadow finance minister will be as hopeless as the last 2.No talent there.

    Peters will confirm another comeback.

    • Ad 13.1

      April! Brave.

      Wanaka sales have dropped 50% in 6months and no one is buying land as building is too expensive.

    • tsmithfield 13.2

      “Ukraine and Russia will agree on terms to end the hostilities by the end of April.”

      I agree with you. Perhaps earlier than that. Particularly if Russia can't motivate China to help them out.

      I think the whole Russia war effort is going to run out of steam otherwise, and they will be stuck in an expensive stalemate that will basically force them to do a deal.

  14. Putin will never back off. He will go down fighting, willing to destroy Russia and Ukraine and anyone else on his shit list (NZ included) rather than "lose" an inch in his stupid war. Expect the Russian economy to crater and the next few months to be absolutely brutal, with many of the poor sacrificed to war, economic deprivation, or gulags.

    I would say there's a 50% chance of Russia expanding the war to attack Poland in retaliation for supplying MiG-29s to Ukraine. I am sure that NATO already has some pretty nasty secret operations in progress to undermine Russia, but will not engage in overt military operations other than defensive postures within NATO territory.

    The Northern summer will be brutal with climate change and crop failures adding to the destruction of the Ukraine food basket. Environment impacts of the war will be disastrous.

    China will not be drawn into conflict but will continue to play its long game of economic attrition against its rivals.

    Russian hacking/disinfo/crime rings will be given free rein to attack Western targets. But useful idiots in the West like Trump and Tucker Carlson and amoral banks, will be exposed. The banks won't face much sanction but some prominent individuals spreading pro Russia FUD will be deplatformed and probably charged with sedition. Connections will be made to the Jan 6 riots and shock jocks like Steve Bannon and Alex Jones.

    • Stuart Munro 14.1

      China will not be drawn into conflict but will continue to play its long game of economic attrition against its rivals.

      It has long been said that the American empire has begun to decline – and it may well be true. For the moment however, Russia seems to be unraveling faster.

      Although presently determinedly friendly, the demographics are difficult, with China's population growth expected to slow from 2030, but Russia's decreasing markedly already. The result of this is an inability to defend its borders, or at least with the kind of conscript forces it seems to prefer.

      China can wait profitably, without taking the whole world on.

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