Bravo! A masterpiece in its own right. The only element missing is the influence of Christian Nationalism on both sides; American Evangelicals, and Russian Orthodox. Both are a part of Putin's arsenal of disinformation and radical patriarchal systems. And then there is the industrial military complex who are by the far, the richest winners of the brawl. Well done, Mr. Abramson, you are a lighthouse and we need you to continue being the beacon of light on a rocky stormy shore.

Expand full comment

Well, may I respectfully suggest a replacement for the "heart" button? I cannot say I "liked" anything much in this article!!

However, to be serious - it may be because I've read your books and listened/read the views of the likes of Kasparov et al, that none of this is a surprise. Yes it is terrifying to see it all laid out like you brilliantly (as usual) did, but not surprising.

I would like to have an optimistic view and think that the Democrats actually know this, but are treading the line you say in trying to keep the support for Ukraine out of partisan division as much as possible, so that they have maximum time to keep supplying Ukraine with weapons, and hopefully addressing cyber (reactive and proactive). Some things are best done under the radar so to speak, but we will not know of course, unless & until there are leaks or the time is right to show their work.

Perhaps we can also hope that the man-of-the-moment, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is right when he says Russia is providing Ukraine with military hardware in abanded tanks etc., and that their current offer to Russian pilots to handover their planes and helicopters for very large sums of money (and presumably a new identity in the West) also garners them both a lessening of Russian resources at the same time as an increase for Ukraine.

That is the type of thing people in the West can help with - I have already read of rich people offering Russian soldiers & Pilots money to defect. As you say, every means short of shooting down a Russian pilot by a NATO plane ... Let's get creative! I don't know how successful Anonymous has really been, but they seem to be working assiduously to do their bit against Putin's plans inside Russia. Let us hope the Ukrainians can do the near impossible, but they need every little bit of help ...

Expand full comment

Wow... This article deserves a Pulitzer Prize, and then some.

Thank you Seth 🙏

Expand full comment

Sobering and heartfelt. Thanks for all you do, Seth.

Expand full comment

I have only read the first four paragraphs and not sure I want to continue reading BUT I know Seth always give the facts and I have so much empathy with the Ukranian situation that understanding this situation is vital to me and I hope to everyone in the US (sadly I know many would prefer to ignore it and not realize how tragic this might all potentially be).... and I now I will continue reading...

Expand full comment

This really does go into the hard dark questions and finds no great answers. Thank you.

I wonder whether we have to look hard at even darker questions. The darkest. If Mutually Assured Destruction is essentially a game of chicken, what do you do if your opponent has essentially nailed his feet to the floor? If Putin can solve any and every non-nuclear problem that arises for him by threatening nuclear devastation, he cannot ever be stopped from taking everything. The old rules of measured escalation no longer apply. It is entirely up to the whim of a man who is willing to use nukes and be nuked.

So...the darkest question must be asked- how do things likely plan out if the world refuses to engage with Putin's nuclear ultimatums. What are the links in the chain from red button to launch that can/might be disrupted.

Other questions- what is the likely outcome if Putin dies tomorrow? Does a worse person take over?

A less dark question- is defensive weaponry (which seems to be flooding in to Ukraine from us and EU) sufficiently assymetrical to enable Ukranians to hold off Russian advance indefinitely? I've read that with enough stingers and manpads, the Ukranians can set up their own defacto no fly zone. Javelins seem to handle tanks well.

Is that feasible? Or is it ultimately defeated by artillery, cruise missiles, thermobaric/chemical/biological weaponry?

Also worth noting that Ukraine conflict/insurgency can certainly spill over borders...but that includes rebounding on russia. Chechens brought the battle directly to Moscow. How vulnerable is Russia to irregular "insurgent/terrorist"/little green men strikes from Ukraine and it's allies?

Expand full comment

Is it true the US does not assassinate people? The way Bush jr used 9/11 to easily talk americans into war in middle east, the zero people held accountable for failure to protect the usa and a pretty unbelievable story of the how and why, the FOX disinformation machine that is allowed to carry on... more than I can take in right now, brilliant, thoughtful, stirring article. a prediction of Covid and its new versions spreading through Ukraine creating another hole in any plan to stop Putin. Will reread in morning. I'm hoping Putin falls from a balcony and then ...? Thank you Seth!

Expand full comment
Mar 11, 2022·edited Mar 11, 2022

You might want to read and write about the Eurasianist imperialist ideology promoted in Russia. This is an old ideology that has reappeared in various forms. Today, it's main promoter is Aleksandr Dugin. I have a book called Russian Eurasianism: An Ideology of Empire by Marlene Laruelle. There is another book called The New Third Rome by Jadar Ostbo. The idea of the "Third Rome" is that Rome fell, Constantinople fell, and now Moscow is the "Third Rome" that will protect Christianity and civilization. Total BS. Russia is not really Christian or civilized. It is a medieval service nobility that survives by plunder and tribute. The Muscovite princes used to collect tribute from all the other Russian princes for the Mongols. After a time, they took that over.

Dugin writes books, and I found a google translation of his book Foundations of Geopolitics.

In Russia there was the Black Hundreds. They were fanatically nationalist, Orthodox, and anti-Semitic. That was their version of NAZIS and the KKK.

I don't know if Putin believes this ideology or if it is just an excuse for imperialism/stealing. After all, Putin and the gangsters have looted all of Russia and Ukraine is very rich and resisting the looting. The ideology suggests that Russia can't exist unless it has Ukraine because Ukraine/Kiev is at the heart of their origin story. People like this are killers. They aren't worrying about real problems.

Maybe this Eurasianist ideology is just a way of fooling ordinary Russians so they will will steal for him. Maybe it is like the "states rights" ideology of the American slave owners. That was just about fooling people into fighting for the Confederacy.

As for the Moscow Patriarchate, they are always a regime mouthpiece and part of the Kremlin disinformation at home and abroad.

About a year ago, I got banned from the Washington Post for suggesting what someone needed to do with Putin. I didn't say who should do it, but I thought only someone in the security agencies could do it.

Putin really is a Hitler. Read what he writes. It's all that Eurasian ideology, but does he really believe it or is that just a rationalization to get Russians to fight endless imperial wars instead of making Russia successful?

The best thing I heard from a Russian man in a village was that he didn't want to go to war with Ukraine, he just wanted a post office in his town.

When I went to Russia in the 1980s, people would often ask me to confirm that Russia is the greatest country. Then they would ask me how much money I made. They hold both of those thoughts in their head at the same time. I never said Russia was the greatest, and I told them how much money we made.

Ordinary Russian people are like Trumpers. They like all that fake patriotism and hate. It makes them feel like they are great even though they are really miserable. The elites are like affluent Republicans. They are making good money. They don't like Trump but they vote Republican.

Take their money. Make them live like N. Koreans. These elites know what Putin is, but the money is pretty good.

Expand full comment

Found this worth subscribing to Seth

Expand full comment


My mind can’t process this all at once. I’ll need to digest this slowly- which is fine because I may not sleep for days.

Expand full comment

This is why I always come to get it from you Seth. you’re always make it easy for me to understand so you are my first source. Thank you so much.

Expand full comment

Exactly so. Another applicable line from LOTR - a paraphrase perhaps - is when Gandalf says to the Balroc - You shall not pass! - We must draw the line at Ukraine and arm them to repel this sociopathic invasion by Putin. Excellent summary of our situation.

Expand full comment

Seth, is there a means for you to reach out to any of Biden's team to share this with them? You obviously have a deeper, more nuanced understanding about this than they have to date OR that they have expressed publicly to the American people. If not Biden, then perhaps someone like Miles Taylor ?

I am fairly positive that we are seeing further active measures by the right via Flynn Orgs "fraudits " and push to "decertify " the election results. Now, the same influencers who brought you Stop the Steal are backing the "freedumb convoy" anti-vaxxers, anti-maskers & Justice for J6 faux outrage astroturfing efforts . There are MANY publicly held American energy companies who WON'T ramp up shale oil drilling as well....just sucking up the dividends & buybacks dough while prices skyrocket . I suspect it is also organized, to squeeze Biden further .

Everett Stern is trying to get people to listen re: Flynn org and operatives like Ivan Raiklin who are busy doing whatever it takes to undermine Biden-- He has done a couple new zoom Q & A's where he shares that he's been working with FBI all along & was recently deposed by Jan 6 committee. Stern is clear that Raiklin, 1AP & others are behind unrelenting campaigns to delegitimize Biden by any means necessary.

Meanwhile, MSM is chasing squirrels domestically-- it just seems like there MUST BE a way to break thru that fog. Any thoughts ?

Many, many of Jan 6 organizers, Stop the Steal folks, state legislators & MOC WHo helped push USA to the brink are retired green berets, Navy Seals & other special operators with significant backgrounds in hybrid warfare techniques -- like Doug Mastriano in PA and others from Vets For Trump etc. How do we help regular Americans , MSM , MOC & Biden team see that we are in the middle of a sustained hybrid war? This is as bleak of a scenario as any I can remember and I am old enough to remember nuclear drills in grade school during the first cold war!!

Expand full comment

Before Frodo said "I wish it need not have happened in my time," Hamlet lamented, "The time is out of joint: O cursed spite / That ever I was born to set it right!" Let's hope today's powerful decision makers live up to both of these characters' moral clarity and courage.

Expand full comment

What a cogent analysis. With all the horror, the line that struck me in the face referred to the US fighting "with one hand behind our back" referring to the GOP.

Could this be because a slow-burn has allowed our beloved country to outgrow it's own form of government? We have 50 different federal elections, two senators from vastly disproportionately populated states, unelected and partisan Supreme Court Justices, gerrymandering carried to an art form (see MD 3rd district), heretofore unimaginable voter suppression laws being passed, closure of more and more voting locations, no holiday for voting, and possibly the most important - the dumbing down and the "a place for mom" make up of our House and Senate means we are not getting our taxpayer's dollars worth. I am 74 and still work but I know I could not do a GOOD job if I either had no prior experience or was nearing my 90s. These sure must be easy jobs.

One answer to our ills would be an over-haul of our voting systems to remove the Electoral College and become a real Democracy, another to have elections for SC Justices and make our Federal elections standard and not run by the states. Until then, we will keep plodding along divided and feeling helpless and heading, like Rome, toward demise.

Expand full comment

Thanks Seth. I will spread this widely.

Expand full comment