Submitted by Craftwork on May 23, 2022

https://twitter.com/dywizjon161/status/1528703247548002305?s=21&t=afGZ7UoO0y23wEi9YD4nIA

Craftwork

1 month ago

They retweeted the meme on their page: https://twitter.com/Freedom_Paper

Rob Ray

1 month ago

Not my retweet (it's a jointly used account) but missing the point of the meme there tbh - it's a criticism of some Western anarchists who use the slogan to the point of refusing to listen to or show solidarity with Eastern European anarchists.

Freedom Press as a whole is comprised of people with a variety of viewpoints, we don't have a unified position as such - afair we've put out one "Freedom Press view" in about five years, in favour of trans rights. Not that this stops a lot of people from trying to define one on our behalf on the grounds of particular Tweets or articles so they can tell us off about it of course.

That all being said, as a personal thing I think NWBTCW can sometimes be simplistically fetishised into ludicrousness. It's a slogan which helps to frame how we think about conflict, not an inviolable pacifistic principle. Sometimes, for example, if the option is mass murder or fighting back to try and save working class lives, it's correct to fight. Not for the fiefdoms of elites (NWBTCW is important to identify that aspect) – just to stave off mass murder.

darren p

1 month ago

Sometimes, for example, if the option is mass murder or fighting back to try and save working class lives, it's correct to fight.

So how does this fit with your take on the Ukrainian civil war and subsequent invasion by Russia? Do you think that the Russia state engages in mass murder while the Ukrainian state has not?

Rob Ray

1 month ago

I think Ukraine is currently run by a corrupt neoliberal-aligned cabal with a Western-facing viewpoint, and that the State's current intent is to maintain, as far as possible, as much of its pre-war holdings as possible. I think the Ukrainian State only cares for its own survival at any cost. That cost has already been high and will only get higher. I also think postwar there will be a pretty nasty uptick in nationalism as a result of all this, with Ukrainian Russian speakers bearing the worst of it.

I think Russia meanwhile has invaded Ukraine as part of a Greater Russia ideology being prosecuted by an autocrat with a particularly brutal reputation, that would have provided a number of advantages to both him and his government in the event of an easy victory, which he clearly thought he'd get. Now that this has proven unachievable, he has fallen back on tactics previously used in Chechnya and Syria. This includes:

- Indiscriminate scorched earth shelling
- Mass rape and execution
- Comprehensive plundering
- Mass deportation to the interior of Russia
- A policy of aggressive Russification, which in its practical application would mean a systematic postwar effort of mass murder, forced migrations and direct oppression.

So for my money we have two belligerent States there and no good outcomes. The question thus becomes what is the least bad outcome of this particular war. And what I'm getting from pretty much every Eastern European anarchist comrade I know, none of them nationalists, is that Russian victory would involve a much larger sea of working class blood, hence their decision to take up or support the taking up of arms. I don't necessarily think that viewpoint has to be accepted without discussion, but I do think the tone of sneering dismissal some people have adopted, all but accusing them of voiding their political outlook for coming to this conclusion, has been a pretty poor showing. Not to mention counterproductive, as that sort of dismissiveness can easily across as politicos with no stakes in the situation caring more about positions than people.

And the thing is at a basic level they're right, just shouting NWBTCW at Ukrainian anarchists and their supporters is irrelevant in practical terms. There's no unified class power that people in Ukraine can use to turn around the Russian troops. Putting down their guns won't stop the killing because it's been made pretty clear that the killing will happen anyway. Ultimately the people who can stop invading and destroying here are the people doing it - I'll happily shout NWBTCW at them until the cows some home.

darren p

1 month ago

I also think postwar there will be a pretty nasty uptick in nationalism as a result of all this, with Ukrainian Russian speakers bearing the worst of it.

Yes, it's not just a matter of an invading Russian army, but also matter of a civil war between the Ukrainian state and those formally subject to it but who see themselves as more aligned to Russia. If Russian forces were driven out of the Dombas and Crimea it doesn't take much of an imagination to forsee the forthcoming storm of ethnic cleansing.

Rob Ray

1 month ago

The question there is as follows: If Russian State policy is Russification and the likely outcome of Ukrainian victory will be forms of social retribution against ethnic Russians, probably enabled either officially or unofficially to some degree by the Ukrainian State, what do people on the ground need to minimise that fallout?

At which point we're onto what can be done to support anarchists, and anyone else who'll listen, to resist such outcomes in the post-war environment. I'm not sure that dismissing their struggle as mindless nationalism while denying that they know their situation as well as we do from 1,300 miles away is a great method of doing so.

Mair Waring

1 month ago

I don't want to get drawn into some big debate but personally I have been very disappointed with Freedom's coverage on Ukraine, and the Anarchist Federation re-printing much of it in their magazine Organise.

I agree that being dismissive or sneering is unhelpful, but I think it is something people have been doing on both sides of this debate (and in the anarchist movement in general) for the most part (not directed at you Rob). I certainly would not take some harsh approach on anarchists deciding to fight in Ukraine itself, although I don't think that is the same thing as criticising the editors of Freedom. I mean often people who hold a NWBTCW line are denounced as effectively supporting genocide or as not doing anything to help Ukrainians via memes, which cannot be described as anything but dismissive.

Personally both during and after a war I think anarchists should be focused on things like mutual aid and class struggle (what they should be doing everywhere really). Mutual aid efforts are something anarchist Ukrainians have been involved with to my knowledge (certainly an interview with the Russian anarcho-syndicalists KRAS implied so, that interview also implied Ukrainian anarchists are torn on whether they should support the war). Likewise when towns have been occupied by Russians, there have been cases of mass looting and also kind of blacklisting employers (like drawing up lists of the worst employers). These things could also happen behind Ukrainian lines, and certainly there will have been things like draft dodging and people trying to escape the country. Crucially if Ukraine wins, the anarchists who have been prominent in these areas can continue to try and stop the state from getting even more repressive. And if Russia wins, they can do the same thing, or help people flee or whatever.

Back in WW1 there is some evidence that syndicalists in Britain were literally conscripted and sent to the front lines, so that they would be killed. I mean, if the Ukrainian state is losing or winning, their priority is hardly going to be keeping alive their left-wing militias.

I do think the best we can expect is harm minimisation. But I don't think that comes from choosing a side (just like anarchists can't make a revolution happen with such little influence, nor can they play kingmaker). It comes from class struggle whichever side of border you live on and mutual aid efforts. I am reminded of Communists in London during WW2 (before Russia joined and they started supporting the war) breaking the locks to areas like the London Underground, so that working class people could use them as shelters.

I do think mutinies on one side of the border, are likely to encourage them on the other. And I do think if Ukraine was facing mutinies they would be more likely to sue for peace, even if the terms would hamstring them. Of course, it would be better if mutinies, riots, protests, or whatever, happened in Russia since they are the primary aggressors here. But I think anarchists joining state armies of any kind should be willing to agitate for mutinies when and where they think it will be well received. I think the US and the Ukrainian state are clearly willing to bleed the Ukrainian working class dry and send them to their slaughter if it means any chance of hindering Russian expansionism for the former or holding on to their power for the latter. I think it's important to remember that before we are revolutionaries or working class, we are human beings, and I would personally not want to fight and die in the Ukrainian army, and I wouldn't really want to kill poor kids conscripted into the Russian army either.

Finally I find this sentiment that Eastern European anarchists all think like this is somewhat ridiculous. I have only asked a couple of Eastern European revolutionary friends (who are Marxist but anti-state) there thoughts and they oppose this lesser-evilism position pushed by Freedom press. Of course most Eastern Europeans hate Russia and sympathise with NATO, but most of them are not revolutionaries, and those isolated few that are are under intense pressure from the rest of their communities. In the same way that many anarchists supported Corbyn or the remain campaign, or WW1 for that matter.
Here is a list of some organisations off the top of my head in Eastern Europe who take this NWBTCW line:
- KRAS-IWA (Russia)
- ASI-IWA (Serbia)
- ZSP-IWA (Poland)

I mean who should be taken as more representative of anarchists in Poland? The ZSP, an albeit small, Polish anarcho-syndicalist union? Or Freedom Press, a British news outlet who happens to have one Eastern European editor? Of course, I don't think any of this should matter, and instead we should try to listen to who we think is speaking the most sense, and not just make crude statements that X community of anarchists thinks our side is right.

Like I said, not looking to get drawn into some big debate, certainly comment threads do my head in! Feel free to disagree, but I might not respond :)

Craftwork wrote: They retweeted the meme on their page: https://twitter.com/Freedom_Paper

Freedom has published some dire stuff on the war. I'm sure there have been discussions about it on this site.

Rob Ray

1 month ago

I've not said Freedom Press should be presented as the voice of anarchists in Poland, nor have I said that "all" Eastern Europeans think the same way, merely that all the ones I know, including Polish anti-fascist group Dywizjon 161 above, are broadly in favour of Ukrainians defending themselves against invasion (Poland specifically is actually a major centre for anarchist solidarity with Ukraine, ZSP presumably aside). I've then criticised dismissive attitudes towards such voices.

KRAS-IWA I'd hope would have a NWBTCW position - it makes sense for a Russian anarchist group to call for other Russians to down weapons - however its demand is "an immediate cessation of hostilities and the withdrawal of all troops to the borders and separation lines that existed before the start of the war." This is manifestly not something that can be achieved via Ukrainians refusing to defend themselves. ASI-IWA I'm at a bit of a loss on, as it seems to be repeating the propaganda line that Ukraine was "Nazified" post-2014 (what, all of it?) and thinks the war is mainly about the US "disciplining the EU." Which all comes off as a bit conspiratorial. Nevertheless, they're entitled to their views.

Honestly I'm not a fan of leftists using memes to have a go at each other, I think it's a bit childish. However I also think respect, and certainly understanding goes two ways, and has to start with us, not the people at the sharp end. I've seen people whose family were at risk being publicly called "disappointing" or "nationalist" or whatever for having a strong reaction to it by people who are risking nothing at all. Some of this is just down to people being thoughtless on the internet, some of it is people who spend more time reading for errors than for meaning. And some is people who think slogans are commandments. The first, well we all do it. The latter two I have less sympathy for when they get the odd sarcastic response.

if Ukraine was facing mutinies they would be more likely to sue for peace

Ukraine is not going to face mutinies though for the very simple reason that people feel, correctly, that they are defending themselves from an aggressor. Telling people to put down their guns and welcome an armed force into their cities that has already bombed the shit out of them is not going to make the blindest bit of difference to anything, other than to paint anarchists as enablers of an imperial occupation. Russian troops on the other hand very much already have been deserting and are a very good target for NWBTCW propaganda. This, surely, is a strategic consideration - what are we actually trying to achieve here? Is it ending the war, or patronising comrades with our disappointment for not NWBTCWing hard enough and patting ourselves on the back for a job well done? Cos if it's the latter there's a meme at the top of this page which deserves an apology.

Anyway I guess I'll leave this with the Manifesto of the Resistance Committee, which doesn't strike me as particularly nationalistic or lacking in class consciousness:

Our principles

“For our freedom and yours!” — we are the enemies of imperial rule, which is present now in Ukraine by the brutal Putinist army. We fight for the sake of Ukrainian society, against destruction and death which Russian occupiers make for it. If the Ukrainian state today participate in this struggle it doesn’t mean that we became its supporters.

We don’t consider the peoples of Russia and Belarus our enemies. We call all free-minded Russians and Belarusians to fight against the dictatorship with us.

We understand: until the nest of tyranny in Moscow is removed, the whole region will constantly face harassment against its freedom. Every local tyrant, suppressing his rebellious people, will be assisted by the “tsar of Moscow”. We want to see ourselves and our neighbours free. It means that we should put an end to Putin’s regime.

Justice — we stand against all forms of oppression among humans, domination-submission relations, social inequality. All the oppressors must be defeated. Tyranny should be replaced by free and equal cooperation by everyone in society. On this principle we base our current activity.

There can be no justice until the imbalance of power and wealth in society is overcome.

Justice is unimaginable for us without gender equality, care for the environment and overcoming all kinds of discrimination.

Solidarity — we give priority to cooperation before competition. Closeness and collaboration before egoism and atomisation. However we don’t reject the originality and uniqueness of every individual. The freedom of every human being lives in the freedom of others. Nobody is free until everyone is free.

Cooked

1 month ago

Many who support the war imply that Russian troops would massacre more people if not opposed by the Ukrainian army. This seems counterintuitive to me but I know very little about any precedence and the Russian army. Are there any text explaining the risks?

Another missing piece in my understanding is how life is expected to change under Russian occupation for the average and less average worker. How is repression, laws, policing etc expected to change.

The question is to what extent people are fighting against real losses of life and quality of life and to what extent they are fighting for the nation state. Clearly there is a belief amongst those that support the war that the difference between living under Ukraine and living under Russia is worth dying for.

adri

3 weeks 4 days ago

Many who support the war imply that Russian troops would massacre more people if not opposed by the Ukrainian army. This seems counterintuitive to me but I know very little about any precedence and the Russian army. Are there any text explaining the risks?

I suppose one could point to the Bucha massacre in which many innocent civilians were killed (or to Vadim Shishimarin's, the first to be charged with war crimes, killing of an innocent person), but I guess that reflects the war rather than a Russian-victory hypothetical. The Holodomor is also regarded by many Ukrainian nationalists as a form of intentional Russian/Stalinist mass starvation (and I'm inclined to agree on the "intentional" part, as far as I've read). Putin by contrast argues in his essay, "The common tragedy of collectivization and famine of the early 1930s [is] portrayed as the genocide of the Ukrainian people." In any case it's certainly understandable why Ukrainians are currently afraid of the Russian military and of a Russian-victory outcome. It does seem pretty inconceivable that a Russia-aligned government would ever be tolerated by nationalists in Ukraine (with the exception of pro-Russian regions), if that is what is meant by Russian victory.

adri wrote:

Many who support the war imply that Russian troops would massacre more people if not opposed by the Ukrainian army. This seems counterintuitive to me but I know very little about any precedence and the Russian army. Are there any text explaining the risks?

I suppose one could point to the Bucha massacre in which many innocent civilians were killed (or to Vadim Shishimarin's, the first to be charged with war crimes, killing of an innocent person), but I guess that reflects the war rather than a Russian-victory hypothetical.

its also been reported before and since the invasion that the russians have lists of people to kill as soon as they take an area
in donetsk and luhansk russia has created fascist puppet states where people are tortured and killed if they attract the the attention of the authorities
in russia itself there are multiple reports of anarchist activists being tortured into signing fake confessions to plots

we also know russia has been sponsoring fascists groups around the world, and that dugin is very influential in the russian state

Mike Harman

3 weeks 2 days ago

Maybe it's in another thread, but I don't think I've seen any discussion of the Angry Workers piece critical of NWBTCW which seems like it might be a bit more productive to engage with than a meme.

Spikymike

3 weeks 2 days ago

Well ''No War but the Class War'' is not really a slogan but rather a guiding principle and starting point for any internationalist communist politics. It can't of course be the end point of any so-called ''recommendation'' made to every individual proletarian in circumstances over which most do not have any effective collective control and in which our small internationalist communist groups (including such as the AWW) do not generally have much real influence over at present in these circumstances.

sherbu-kteer

3 weeks ago

Angry Workers have been publishing quite a few articles on the war that are worth discussing. Even though I have my feet planted pretty firmly in one corner I appreciate that they're having these debates openly instead of trying to impose a party line or whatever.

https://www.angryworkers.org/2022/06/03/war-saying-and-doing-before-and-during/

https://www.angryworkers.org/2022/05/31/on-dogmatism-in-relation-to-the-war-in-ukraine/

https://www.angryworkers.org/2022/04/04/on-the-question-of-armed-resistance-more-thoughts-on-our-discussion-about-the-war-in-ukraine/

https://www.angryworkers.org/2022/03/17/no-war-but-the-class-war-not-a-very-useful-slogan/

https://www.angryworkers.org/2022/03/10/fragments-of-a-debate-amongst-angryworkers-on-the-war-in-ukraine/

If I am not mistaken the comrade that wrote the "not a very useful slogan" article is the same one who went through the experience of the WRP exploding, and whose experience organising the Workers' Aid for Bosnia convoys were important in the transition from lunatic Healy Trotskyism to non-dogmatic communism. SImon Pirani who runs the People and Nature blog has the same trajectory.

While I generally admire their contributions I have to say I pretty flatly disagree with them. Aside from what I think are shonky geopolitics (Bosnian vs Serb nationalism etc) there is a concern displayed that some of the intransigent position of communists/anarchists, eg not supporting one nation over another in a war, renders them irrelevant to the working class. The implication is that this irrelevance leads to the revolutionaries becoming a sect and thus useless. In the case of Workers Aid for Bosnia this attitude partially led to them more or less raising "arms for the Bosnian military" as a key demand.

I just think this is an unwarranted concern and that revolutionaries should pretty clearly face up to the fact that sometimes their positions are unpopular, sometimes extremely so; that in of itself is no reason to abandon said positions. In cases like that they're more important than ever. The "sect" risk instead comes from elsewhere – there's plenty of pretty odious sects that abandon whatever principles they might have had in order pursue better recruitment strategies, tangled political tactics, etc. It's possible to maintain an open, productive existence free of dogma while holding onto fundamentals of socialism – AWW themselves actually seem to be a pretty good example.

Mair Waring

2 weeks 6 days ago

"I just think this is an unwarranted concern and that revolutionaries should pretty clearly face up to the fact that sometimes their positions are unpopular, sometimes extremely so; that in of itself is no reason to abandon said positions. In cases like that they're more important than ever."

I find this issue very concerning. Personally I think one of the reasons many anarchists have got behind the Ukrainian side of the war is because its so popular that being against it is difficult, and might lead to a decline in support and internal issues, whereas getting behind it can lead to increased popularity. I appreciate not everyone will agree that this the reason for the support, and I by no means think that is the only reason why (and of course we should engage with peoples arguments if we disagree with them - this isn't meant to be a strawman).

But for me its a pattern I have seen over the past few years, with some anarchists or anarchistic people getting behind things like Corbynism, or the Remain side of the Brexit campaign, or simply not having much to add on the whole Covid Pandemic from a libertarian point of view. Even with stuff like transphobia or Islamophobia it often feels like anarchists get swept up in broader debates, and struggle to put forward their own ideas (and of course some anarchists do side with the reactionary elements in these debates like racism, TERFs, conspiracy theories etc. - which I am not trying to defend here).

It seems like when there are genuinely popular issues like this, it's really easy to get pulled into one side or the other and leave your anarchist ideas and methods behind, and to feel like if you don't you will be marginalised or complicit in letting the other side win. It's easy to be anti-war when there isn't one or it doesn't effect you, likewise it's easy to be anti-electoralism when there isn't an election happening or a candidate you half-way agree with standing.

It always makes me think of WW1 and a workers', socialist and anarchist movement that dwarfs what we have today both in terms of size but I also imagine in terms of a commitment to radical politics - back then you could really have got immersed in a socialist culture in a way which is no longer possible for most people. And how much of those ideas went down the drain when WW1 happened, and it seemed like anarchists had to pick the "lesser evil" (i.e. the allies) and that Internationalism wasn't a real response that could end the wars (and its worth noting many that did oppose the wars saw their movements crushed as a result). And how by the end of the war, enthusiasm for it had declined, and how in many ways working class resistance did help bring it to an end, but by that point much of the socialist and anarchist movements had left their principles behind, fallen apart or become tiny, and so couldn't really capitalise on those opportunities (which ultimately were taken up by state communists).

Now I am not trying to say supporting the Remain Campaign, Corbynism or Ukranian self-defence are all the same kind of thing, or that these things are the same as WW1, because of course they aren't. But it seems like anarchists and socialists really struggle not to just get swept up in the prevailing currents of debate in our society, which often are incompatible with anarchism.

Mair Waring

2 weeks 6 days ago

Sorry for that comment being a bit off topic! It is just something that has been on my mind lately.

rat

2 weeks 6 days ago

As Mair Waring mentions earlier in this thread, the Anarchist Federation have reproduced those two dodgy Freedom articles in Organise! magazine.

The Editorial in Organise! is also worth a read. Here's an interesting quote:

"If your Anarchism doesn’t involve supporting those fighting against an invading imperial force because the lad one fox hole over maybe doesn’t agree with every principle you hold, then it’s little more than a sectarian old boys club, exclusive and useless. Our principles are not weapons to undermine those who fight, they are not absolute truths to be applied without regard for the local and situational context, nor are they immutable commands from the past and you should really stop acting as tho they are.
If this is the solidarity of your Anarchism, fuck you. I spit on your Anarchism. You need to do better."

http://afed.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/Organise-96.pdf

Peter Ó Máille, the editor of Organise! and the author of the editorial, states on his Twitter account that "The AF has 100+ members". I can't imagine that 100+ AF members really go along with the political ideas expressed in that editorial.

nastyned

2 weeks 6 days ago

Anarchists Have Forgotten Their Principles :-(

Craftwork

2 weeks 6 days ago

What do the Polish antifascists think the Ukrainian far-right are going to do with all their Western weapons once the war with Russia is over?

They will either use the weapons to advance their ultra-nationalist agenda or sell them to other, European far-right groups.

Craftwork wrote: What do the Polish antifascists think the Ukrainian far-right are going to do with all their Western weapons once the war with Russia is over?

They will either use the weapons to advance their ultra-nationalist agenda or sell them to other, European far-right groups.

the far right are obviously a problem in the ukrainian military, but they are also only a small part of it, and its although of cause they are still a threat, and that threat may have helped motivate some of the ukraine anarchists to get there own weapons while the opportunity exists

i'm seeing far too many leftist act as if ukraine was made up entirely of nazis while ignoring that the russian military has it own nazi military units, has founded fascist lead "peoples republics" in ukraine, and until recent sanctions the russian state was funding and providing propaganda for fascists around the world

adri

6 days 21 hours ago

I can’t say I’m really convinced by the pieces arguing that socialists should form alliances with the Ukrainian military on the basis that a Ukrainian victory would provide a “better life” or more breathing room for socialists. It seems if one is going to pursue such an argument, then they should at least attempt to explain what a Russian or Ukrainian victory might mean using actual evidence.

As a counter-argument to a Ukrainian victory enabling greater socialist activity, one could point for example to the 2015 “decommunization” legislation in Ukraine, which among other things led to the banning of “communist” (and pro-Russian) political parties and the removal/Darth-Vaderization of Soviet-era statues. The legislation also outlawed insulting historical nationalist figures and organizations, like the Nazi collaborator Stepan Bandera and his Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN-B), and any expression of support for “communism.” As part of “decommunization” there was also a number of streets renamed after Bandera. The invasion surely has only deepened anti-Russian sentiment and Ukrainian nationalists’ desire to distance themselves from their Soviet and Imperial-Russian pasts. The fact that some Russian troops have come marching into Ukraine with Soviet-era symbols on display likely hasn’t helped to make communism, of whatever variety, any more endearing. (There’s also Russian propaganda like Babushka Z.) Socialists’ opposition to the Ukrainian nation-state makes them a target for such patriotic laws, as well as a target for the Ukrainian far-right. It does not seem obvious that a Ukrainian victory would be advantageous for socialists of whatever stripe.

It is also worth repeating that capitalism itself begets imperialist conflict. There is no such thing as a peaceful co-existence of capitalist states, whatever the outcome of the war is. It is not merely a matter of Western values of “democracy and freedom” versus Putin’s authoritarianism. One could note, as others have, that Western liberal democracies (with freer presses, less censorship, and so on) have themselves produced far-right movements and authoritarian leaders in recent years (e.g. Trump and his Capitol riot in America). Capitalism itself, while not the only source, provides fertile soil for antisemitism, xenophobia and so on, whether it is attributing societal/capitalist ills to a Jewish conspiracy (a long-time favorite of reactionary Christians), or pointing the finger at immigrants who have supposedly “driven down wages” and “taken people’s jobs.”

In terms of what socialists might do instead of forming alliances with the Ukrainian military, they could encourage opposition to the Ukrainian government in order to put an end to the defensive patriotic bloodshed, which sounds more realistic (and is also what Russia wants) than a Ukrainian victory assisted by anarchist volunteers. It’s worth noting again that the Ukrainian government separated men from their families and prevented them from fleeing the country. People also seem to forget that Russia, despite their battlefield setbacks, is a nuclear power and militarily stronger than Ukraine, as evidenced by their victories in places like Mariupol and elsewhere. While Russia has undoubtedly committed more war crimes (the Bucha massacre, possibly the Kramatorsk train station bombing, etc.), Russia is not the 13th-century Mongols and does not seem to have the wholesale slaughter of innocent Ukrainians as their primary objective. We might also point out the Ukrainian military’s intentional and “accidental” killing of people in the Donbass region, their torture/execution of Russian prisoners of war and so on. However, with the exception of pro-Russian regions and people, it seems rather unlikely Ukrainians would adopt such a defeatist position, owing in part to patriotic/nationalist sentiments (which are also encouraged by the West). Russians could likewise adopt a defeatist position themselves, protesting against Russian aggression or mutinying in the case of troops, in order to bring the “special operation” to an end, which is what the West is aiming for with Western sanctions.