The clip at the end of this post was filmed in April 2021, if you can believe it, but it’s making the rounds on political Twitter today thanks to some new English subtitles that reveal the prescience of the speaker, Alexander Nevzorov. A little googling proves him to be an interesting character, a journalist turned parliamentarian turned filmmaker turned horse-riding enthusiast turned fierce critic of religion and Putin’s government. Some of his specific forecasts about a war between Russia and Ukraine turned out to be on the money, as you’ll see, from the high morale of Ukrainian troops that no one in the Kremlin expected to the shocking haplessness of the Russian air force.
But everything he says flows logically from one core assumption, that the Russian military is undisciplined, thoroughly corrupt, and therefore likely to be exposed as incompetent once it met a highly motivated foe on the battlefield. The Russian war machine is essentially a Potemkin village, Nevzorov surmised. How does that assessment look 11 months later?
In Ukraine today, local officials are mulling how to solve a new problem: What to do with the corpses of Russian soldiers rotting out in the open as the weather warms.
The first warm, sunny days of spring in the southern Mykolaiv region are ushering in a grim new reality: the smell of the dead…
In his nightly video address on Saturday, Vitaly Kim, the region’s governor, called on local residents to help collect the corpses and put them in bags, as temperatures rise to above freezing. “We’re not beasts, are we?” he implored residents, who have already lost so many of their own in this war…
“The problem with Russian bodies is really huge. It’s thousands of them. Before the war, the weather was cold, it was okay but now we have problems because Russians don’t want to take the bodies,” [Ukrainian advisor Viktor] Andrusiv said. “I actually don’t know what we will do in the next weeks with their bodies.”
New estimates from NATO today place the total number of Russian KIA at between 7,000 and 15,000, in line with the number that mysteriously appeared on a pro-Kremlin website a few days ago. One can only guess how many of them will ever be repatriated to Russia for a proper burial by their families.
Still, even a disorganized and demoralized army can do great damage with enough firepower. Noah Rothman pointed out today that if you didn’t know better, you’d think you were looking at colorized footage of Dresden in 1945 while watching this clip:
Video: Azov pic.twitter.com/RUZaKer3bS
— Stratcom Centre UA (@StratcomCentre) March 23, 2022
This afternoon the State Department formally accused Russia of committing war crimes in Ukraine. “Russia’s forces have destroyed apartment buildings, schools, hospitals, critical infrastructure, civilian vehicles, shopping centers, and ambulances, leaving thousands of innocent civilians killed or wounded. Many of the sites Russia’s forces have hit have been clearly identifiable as in-use by civilians,” Tony Blinken said in a statement. Looking at that video of Mariupol, who could doubt it?
Here’s Nevzorov peering into his crystal ball last spring.