One of the most confusing and controversial news stories of Russia’s ten-week-long invasion of Ukraine is the story of a Ukrainian MiG-29 pilot whose identity—and even reality—has been hotly debated.
I, for one had no trouble following your lead-in and love how you "picked up the stitch" and wove it back in, Seth. And as someone who struggled with Platonian dialectics in ENG Grad school, I am happy to say that "Poetics" saved me as an Indigenous round thinker in a square world. Don't ever let people tell you how to write. You excel in stitching together your incredible bases of knowledge into a multi-threaded work that exponentially informs us, your readers.
What a hero. Great story!
Fascinating piece on multiple levels. When you’re done reading, don’t forget to send help to Ukraine through well vetted organizations like World Central Kitchens, amongst others. Слава Україні/ Slava Ukraini/ Glory to Ukraine!
Love your stuff, but this should be the final word that Trebalaka is a hero but was not, individually, The Ghost of Kyev.
From the Ukraine Air Force-
"The information about the death of the The Ghost of #Kyiv is incorrect. The #GhostOfKyiv is alive, it embodies the collective spirit of the highly qualified pilots of the Tactical Aviation Brigade who are successfully defending #Kyiv and the region."
This is very well done! I had thought the story of the 'Ghost' had gotten lost in the shuffle but am now quite glad to have learned all the detail; in a time that humankind can use all the heroes we can get, we're lucky to have had the 'Ghost of Kyiv'! Slava Ukraini!
Very well written and intriguing information about meme magic. Having previously never heard of 4chan, it’s very interesting information to have. Thank you for your writing and understanding of the truth as opposed to propaganda. I am impressed by the “ghost of kviv” as an individual or as the entire UAF of Ukraine! May they continue to defend their country and remain a democracy as they wish to be!
I did a search for the text that Illia Ponomarenko tweeted as a screenshot on April 30 (having typed up an excerpt using an online Ukrainian keyboard tool).
The source of the text appears to be the Командування Повітряних Сил ЗСУ / Air Force Command of UA Armed Forces Facebook account, and the post in question (also from April 30) is here: https://www.facebook.com/kpszsu/posts/363834939117794. (It was also posted on the UAF Telegram account.) I quote in relevant part:
"❗️ПРОСИМО НЕ НАПОВНЮВАТИ ІНФОПРОСТІР ФЕЙКАМИ❗️
"❗️ Герой України Степан Тарабалка НЕ «Привид Києва» і він НЕ збив 40 літаків.
"13 березня 2022 року майор Степан Тарабалка героїчно загинув у повітряному бою з переважаючими силами російських окупантів. Ось інформація про нього на нашій офіційній сторінці: https://www.facebook.com/kpszsu/posts/339462291555059.
"Привид Києва – це супергерой-легенда, чию постать створили українці! Це швидше збірний образ пілотів 40-ї бригади тактичної авіації Повітряних Сил, які захищають небо столиці. Які раптово з’являються там, де їх не чекають!
"🖊Служба зв’язків з громадськістю Командування Повітряних Сил Збройних Сил України"
Google Translate provides the following translation:
"PLEASE DO NOT FILL THE INFOSPACE WITH FAKES !!!
"Hero of Ukraine Stepan Tarabalka is NOT "Ghost of Kiev" and he did NOT shoot down 40 planes.
"On March 13, 2022, Major Stepan Tarabalka died heroically in an air battle with the overwhelming forces of the Russian occupiers. Here is information about him on our official website: https://www.facebook.com/kpszsu/posts/339462291555059.
"The ghost of Kyiv is a superhero-legend, whose figure was created by Ukrainians! It is rather a collective image of the pilots of the 40th Brigade of Tactical Aviation of the Air Force, which protects the sky of the capital. Which suddenly appear where they are not expected!
"🖊Public Service of the Air Force Command of the Armed Forces of Ukraine"
Illia's English text in this tweet and the one that followed is thus a rough translation of the Ukrainian in the screenshot.
I follow Ukraine "news" & "opinion" from a wide range of sources - Ukraine does not need an identified single "hero" such as this mythical "ghost", nor does their national pysche seem to want one. Irrelevant to the outcome of the war with Russia, apart from the critical first few days - it is the collective efforts of the people, whether pilots, soldiers, grandmas with guns, medics in bomb shelters etc. who are the difference between winning & losing IMHO. The identified pilot was simply doing his job - possibly more effectively than others - but his job nonetheless. If they do it to be seen as "heroes" rather than to defend their homeland, I would be surprised with what we have learned of the Ukrainian people.
How long before an American gets a joust? Air superiority is something only the USA can offer, decisively. With our services
I held it in until the second to last paragraph then I lost it. I had to do a little bawling before I could finish.
You do very important work and I’m grateful for that, but reading your pieces is exhausting. I was into the 5th loooong paragraph on “meme magic” when I had to go back up to the top to see if I was reading the correct post. And so much speculation: maybe it was a Venezuelan named Vladimir…WTF?
Remember Polonius’s above to Hamlet: brevity is the soul of wit. Longer does not mean better. The abbreviation tl/dr exists for a reason. The details get lost in the noise of the redundancy and speculation.