[Editor's Note: This article was originally published on July 23, 2023, at Exile in Happy Valley].
"From these unfolding vistas of human misery and from personal misery, man must forge convictions, call other men his brothers, and fight for freedom. Man is only free if he is prepared to kill every hangman and every power magnate if they do not wish to stop their shameful tasks." -Nestor Makhno, Ukrainian.
Sometimes I feel like I'm the only person on the planet who has noticed that pretty much everyone seems to be losing the war in Ukraine. You would never know it from all the shameless cheerleaders on the mainstream news, but this thing is a downright ghastly dumpster fire and Vladimir Putin isn't the only one getting burned. The entire Eurasian landmass is gagging on the toxic fumes of that endless proxy war and the pollution is spreading fast.
We're all generally kept abreast of Putin's imperial blunders but just because the NATOcrats on CNN publicly jack off to the details doesn't mean they're not true. That mincing little shit isn't fucking up nearly as bad as Zelensky's English-speaking fanboys would have you believe but he's still fucking up. Desperately trying to advertise himself as some kind of heroic patriot for sucking his people into an unwinnable crusade that any first-day Kremlinologist should have been able to deduct was a trap designed by Russia's western adversaries to ensnare them into the kind of imperial regime change nightmare that usually only neocons are thick enough to act on.
Not that Volodymyr Zelensky has fared any better from this hideous conspiracy. If last week's NATO summit in Vilnius should have made anything painfully clear it is that Kiev is getting poned by this plot every bit as Badly as the Kremlin is if not worse. Nation after nation at that satanic shindig took turns thanking Ukraine for feeding an entire generation into their woodchipper before announcing that their country club isn't excepting any new members until old members drop dead. Meanwhile, Ukrainian-born strippers are jumping out of cakes and blowing Sweden in the next room while "Celebrate Good Times" ushers in their rushed membership.
Basically, if Putin is playing Carry in this Disney remake of a Brian De Palma classic, then Zelensky is the hunky dud in the feathered hair getting nailed in the dome by the blood bucket and that bucket is coming down hard in the Donbass where this waking nightmare started and refuses to end.
Even with Putin's favorite neo-Nazi privateers in Wagner pulling pranks on him in the motherland, Ukraine is still getting savagely bushwacked in their long-anticipated spring offensive. With an arsenal of Lucifer's finest toys and a price tag three times higher than most of their neighbor's GDPs combined, Zelensky's plucky conscripts haven't managed to move their trenches more than an inch to the east. But fuck it, maybe a fresh batch of cluster bombs will do the trick. Hell, why not napalm and agent orange too while we're pimping out the civilian killing winners?
No, the only winners in Ukraine are the pimps themselves in the arms industry and they don't even have to sully their ring fingers with peasant's flesh just so long as they can draft more Slavic teenage slaves to smack their bitch up for them.
This shit is fucking depressing me. As a lapsed-tankie war-nerd turned collapsitarian Putin-skeptic, I never thought I'd get sick of analyzing my old ideological stomping grounds in the former Soviet Union, but no one seems to be heeding my observations and they're actually pretty fucking basic. Everyone is losing this stupid goddamn war because everyone is on the wrong side of the wrong border. Russia has no right to run roughshod over Ukraine regardless of what twisted john they allow to cum in their unprotected asshole and Ukraine has no right to do the same damn thing to the Donbass for the same damn reasons.
All people have the right to secede when their nation acts without their consent and that nation has the right to get blown to bits like a bully in Straw Dogs for trying to stand in their way. Russia gets their ass kicked every time they forget that Ukraine doesn't want to play Soviet Union anymore and Ukraine gets their ass kicked just as hard every time that they forget that "liberating" the Donbass with cluster bombs is how this sick quagmire got started in the first place.
There are no more heroes left alive in this war, only imbeciles that refuse to take a time-out from murdering each other to read a history book and what history should teach everyone in this campaign of carnage is that the biggest villain in Ukrainian history has and always will be that imperial contraption known as the border.
Borders have lynched these wild steppes for centuries. Putin likes to play up the fact that Ukraine has never been able to hold those imaginary lines on his fancy maps in place for longer than a few decades but more often than not it has been his own nation moving them back and forth at will to serve their own fleeting imperial pretensions. Most of the territories that comprise present-day Ukraine have been Russian property for at least fifteen minutes but large portions of them have also been Polish, Ottoman, and German too.
The current Russified colonies of Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson, Zaporizhya, and Crimea were all part of a Russian territory known as Novorossiya aka New Russia after being acquired throughout the 18th century and Catherine the Great pumped them full of their current ethnic Russian populace to secure this new vassal state. Ukraine's borders and the impoverished tribes trapped between them continued to be warped beyond recognition by moneyed outsiders throughout the bloody World Wars, with English armed Czarist henchmen reigning White Terror over ethnic Russians, Stalin starving insubordinate ethnic Ukrainians, Hitler arming the survivors to get genocidal revenge, and Khrushchev stapling Crimea to the battered ass of the bloodlands like a pinata.
Basically, it has been one wild game of imperial grab-ass after another in that region with only the poorest Ukrainians and Novorossiyans being asked to foot the bill, often with their own lives. But the reality that neither side seems willing to own is that the western steppes of Ukraine have always been a wild and stateless region of nomadic warriors and shiftless drifters, and this is precisely what makes that place great when meddling outsiders aren't turning it into a bog full of blood.
Ukrainian culture was defined by distinctly Eurasian stateless federations, including the Rus who would come to define Russian culture as well. The finest among these proud heathen mongrels though were the Zaporizhian Sich, an anarchist Cossack polity that ruled the very land their ancestors on both sides are killing each other over as we speak for nearly three centuries.
Much like modern Ukraine, this feared and respected entity of unapologetic barbarians was by no means racially pure. They were a mixed-up hodgepodge of serfs and outlaws who fled the stuffy Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth to build a life without masters in a land too wild to be governed. They pledged their loyalty to no state and ran a uniquely egalitarian society led by popular assemblies with elected representatives that could be recalled at the drop of a sword by popular decree. Even after the Anglophilic Czars broke up the Sich the way they did their own Cossacks and assimilated them into their armies, that land remained haunted by their ungovernable spirit.
This was the same region that proved to be a hotbed for the populist Narodniks who would inspire the Russian Revolution. This was the same region where Europe's original Jewish converts held their last stand as a truly stateless nation in the Pale of Settlement. And this is the same region that briefly served as a homebase for Nestor Makhno's infamous Black Army who took on both the Reds and the Whites during the Russian Civil War and continue to inspire generations of anarchists like me across the globe to dream wild and demand what assholes like Putin and Biden tell us is impossible.
The real reason why Ukrainians and Novorossiyans cannot peacefully coexist is because Ukraine itself cannot peacefully exist within anyone's borders. That Westphalian concept makes no more sense for those steppes than it does for the Middle East or the American Southwest. The only sustainable borders on this planet are those governed by nature, by shores and forests and mountain ranges. By bioregions where nature dictates culture rather than the other way around. And in an environment with no oceans and no forests and where the only mountains to be seen are a hundred miles aways and the deserts and fields stretch on into oblivion, no border can sustain itself and only the wild can live in peace.
When I pray to the gods for Ukraine, I pray for the harmonious chaos of the Cossacks, because theirs was a fire that only burned tyrants and tyrants hold no right to the wild steppes.