At What Point Are All Russians Complicit?
This afternoon, it was widely reported and confirmed that the 51 year old deputy commander of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet was killed in action near the Ukrainian port of Mariupol, which is being savagely pounded by the Russians. The Russian-installed governor of Sevastopol in teh occupied Crimea said on his Telegram channel that "Captain 1st Rank Andrei Nikolayevich Paly was killed in the fighting [near Mariupol]." That follows right on the heels of the death of Lieutenant General Andrei Mordvichev, commander of the Russian Eighth Army, who was killed at the Chornobaivka airfield near Kherson.
Business Insider ran a piece yesterday asserting that Russia's officer elite is being decimated by the fighting in Ukraine and claimed 13 generals-- including 5 major generals-- and commanders killed in action. Something between 7 and 14,000 Russian soldiers have been killed and far more have been wounded. Among the dead Major Generals:
Andrei Sukhovetsky, commanding general of Russia's 7th Airborne Division and deputy commander of the 41st Combined Arms Army, was killed by sniper fire.
Vitaly Gerasimov, the first deputy commander of Russia's 41st army, was shot in Kharkiv.
Andrey Kolesnikov, commander of the 29th Combined Arms Army
Oleg Mityaev, killed while talking on an unsecured intercept phone line during the brutal siege of Mariupol.
It appears that officers-- especially tank commanders-- are being targeted, ambushed and killed.
Fox reported this afternoon that Russia is making up for dead troops by sending cadets into Ukraine-- and more mercenaries to kill Zelenskyy.
And in the midst of their aggression and war crimes, the Russians have demanded that Ukrainian forces in Mariupol surrender, blaming the defenders for the carnage because of their insistence of defending the city of 400,000 that Russia wants to annex. The Russians called it a "terrible humanitarian catastrophe," as though it wasn't their forces that were causing it. There are also reports that Russia is kidnapping people and sending them to Russia as slave laborers, an historic Russian tradition.
The city council said on its Telegram channel late on Saturday that several thousand residents had been "deported" to Russia over the past week. Russian news agencies said buses had carried hundreds of people Moscow calls refugees from Mariupol to Russia in recent days.
...On Saturday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called the siege of Mariupol a war crime and "a terror that will be remembered for centuries to come."
Meanwhile, back in the USSR, or whatever they call it now, anti-war musicians are facing a backlash and being banned by government-connected firms, like Russian Media Group (RMG), one of the largest media groups in the country and owns radio stations and a version of MTV which has stopped playing musicians who have spoken out against the war. In a statement announced that "The reason for this decision was the harsh statements these musicians made towards Russia in the context of the difficult situation between Russia and Ukraine" and that respect for the listeners was the top priority and they must be protected from the "arrogant and contemptuous attitude of the musicians towards Russian listeners," leaving them no choice but to terminate contracts with the artists. The list of artists includes Ukrainians and 3 Russian bands, including the legendary rock group Aquarium, whose lead singer, Boris Grebenshchikov, had called the war "madness" on Instagram, before Putin had Instagram shut down.
On the first day of the war, Ukrainian singer Ivan Dorn published a video on Instagram calling for Russians to "end this catastrophe" and "not to participate in this murderous war".
Days later he found himself on the list of acts banned by the Russian Media Group, and his name appeared on another "black list" leaked to Russian media, demanding that certain musicians are banned from performing because of their anti-war views. The list was reportedly circulated to music venues and promoters in Russia.
But Mr Dorn told the BBC that being blacklisted in Russia made no difference to him.
"Any cooperation with Russia was impossible even before the announcement of any list," he said.
"Does anyone within the organs of the Russian state really think we want to work with the aggressors who are exterminating the Ukrainian nation, murdering thousands of innocent people, building a totalitarian regime and putting their own people in jail for dissent?"
...For some musicians, that means the only option is to perform abroad.
Russian rapper Oxxxymiron, whose name appears on the "black list" circulated by Russian media, cancelled his upcoming tour in Russia and has instead organised charity concerts abroad-- known as "Russians Against War"-- to raise money for Ukrainian refugees.
He raised over $30,000 (£22,760) at a performance in Istanbul, and will appear in London later this week.
Announcing the postponement of his Russian tour, Oxxxymiron explained that he could not "entertain people while Russian rockets fall on Ukraine, while residents of Kyiv are forced to hide in their basements and the metro, and while people are dying."