Russia isn’t fooling around in Ukraine, and neither, apparently, are ethnic Russians in eastern Ukraine. Yesterday saw announcements of referenda – or plebiscites – in at least four regions, all to consider joining the Russian Federation. Today Vladimir Putin announced a “partial mobilization” involving at least 300,000 reservists. And in Germany, a Member of the Bundestag issued a strange warning, short on detail, of something memorable that will happen on the day after voting on those referenda begins. What does that Bundestag member know, and who told him?
What’s happening in Ukraine?
The news on referenda on admission to the Russian Federation broke yesterday (September 20). Donetsk, Lugansk, Kherzon, and Zaporozhye have all expressed a desire to hold such referenda. These regions are in eastern Ukraine and have always been at the center of the Russian “Special Military Operation” (SMO).
Intel Slava Z describes the likely result of the votes, which they clearly expect to be “Da!” (“Yes.”)
What will Russia get after the referendum?
Russia will add 5 to 6 million new citizens.
In the future, when refugees begin to return, the total population of the new regions may grow to 8-9 million people.
The area of the liberated territories where the referendums will be held is about 113,000 square kilometers.
In terms of area, this is larger than Bulgaria, Cuba or South Korea.
The population is larger than Belgium, Belarus, Israel or Austria.
In fact most residents of those territories have always considered themselves Russian. Furthermore, the SMO began after a long history of warfare in Donetsk and Lugansk after leaders in those two regions sought to break away from Ukraine. Denis Pushilin, head of the Donetsk People’s Republic, made his position clear:
For more than 3000 days we fought for the right to be part of Russia.
Russia mobilizes – for more action in Ukraine?
German and French heads of state protested the very idea of the referenda. But Marie Le Pen, the French opposition leader, clearly dissented from the French official position.
Today Vladimir Putin raised the stakes significantly, by ordering a “partial mobilization” of Russian citizens.
In his address to his nation, Putin said this:
Only citizens who are currently in the reserve and, above all, those who served in the Armed Forces, have certain military specialties and relevant experience, will be subject to conscription for military service.
Those called up for military service before being sent to units will undergo additional military training without fail, taking into account the experience of a special military operation.
As many as three hundred thousand reservists could get orders to re-activate.
He flatly accused “the West” of trying “to divide and destroy Russia.”
We cannot, we have no moral right to give people close to us to be torn to pieces by the executioner. We cannot fail to respond to their sincere desire to determine their own destiny.
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu gave an interview, in which he said, “Russia is at war with the collective West.” By that he meant that Ukraine had run out of weapons and were getting all their supplies from Western countries.
A Russian civilizational state
Putin appealed directly to Russian patriotism and the spiritual connection of all Russians to their Motherland (Rodina).
To be a patriot is the essence of the nature and character of the Russian people. Now, during the SMO, our heroes, soldiers and officers show precisely such higher human qualities.
In this, Putin said nothing new. Viktor I. Belenko, who defected from what was then the Soviet Union in 1976, told the CIA that the Soviet Army would repulse any invasion. They would do so to defend, not Communism per se, but the Motherland,
to which they are spiritually bound, no matter how ill it may have served them.
What is new, apart from a possible escalation, is Putin’s appeal to Russian civilization and Russian heritage. True, he appeals to a sense of justice and “liberation” of the four regions involved. But that’s mainly because ethnic Russians constitute clear majorities in the regions he named.
All this is in line with a desire Putin has had all along: to make Russia a civilizational state. Such a state would embrace all things Russian, and all who call themselves Russian. Putin has not made clear the full extent of his territorial ambitions.
President Biden harangued the United Nations today, accusing Russia of violating “the basic principles of the UN Charter.” He also accused Putin of making “reckless nuclear threats.” In fact, Putin did say:
When its territorial integrity is threatened, Russia uses all available means, this is not a bluff.
What is that German parliamentarian talking about?
Voting on the referenda will take place September 23-27, according to The Moscow Times. That organ carries a snapshot of a campaign poster in Kherzon, from the Russian “Telegraph Agency” (now re-abbreviated TASS). It shows part of a message in Cyrillic, which translates roughly as:
Russians and Ukrainians – one people, wholly united!
Those dates might or might not be significant for another reason. On Friday (September 16), a member of Germany’s Bundestag said this:
Dear colleagues: This 24 of September 2022 will be a day that remains in our memories, as a day we will say I remember exactly where he or she was.
The head of “We Love Trump” updated his report with a message from a reader, confirming the translation.
Another detailed tweet offered a more extensive translation:
“Our lives will change forever,” he is supposed to have said. What can that Bundestag member have known last week? Who told him?
Several Reddit users seem to have assembled images of every bulletin they could get their hands on, referring to September 24. They included:
- An allegation that city officials in Denver, Colorado, were handing out emergency supplies and telling them to prepare for an event on that date,
- A call for volunteers to take part in a mass-casualty simulation in Oskaloosa, Kansas, and
- A similar mass-casualty simulation to take place in the UK.
But whoever assembled that montage, missed something. The UK announcement has a date of Friday, September 24. That can only be September 24, 2021, not 2022.
So that montage might have no more significance than someone assembling what they thought were other clues. But that parliamentarian’s message remains, until someone denies it, which no one has. Falling as it does during a long weekend of referenda that could figure in a major escalation in Ukraine, this is not likely to be a coincidence. Is it a warning, or a distraction? Stay tuned.
Terry A. Hurlbut has been a student of politics, philosophy, and science for more than 35 years. He is a graduate of Yale College and has served as a physician-level laboratory administrator in a 250-bed community hospital. He also is a serious student of the Bible, is conversant in its two primary original languages, and has followed the creation-science movement closely since 1993.
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