Vladimir Putin rattles his nuclear sabre

Ukraine


Fig. 1. “The atomic cloud over Nagasaki 1945.” Photograph from Office for Emergency Management. Office of War Information. Overseas Operations Branch, New York Office, News and Features Bureau, (12/17/1942 – 09/15/1945), by Charles Levy, public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

In the wake of stunning military setbacks for Russia in its war on Ukraine,[10] which call into question even Vladimir Putin’s hold on power,[11]

Prominent Russian propagandist Margarita Simonyan, editor in chief of [Russia Today], who is among the hawks cheerleading for a tougher approach to Ukraine, hinted Tuesday that the planned referendums [in regions which would be annexed to Russia] were a sign of more dramatic actions to come.

“Judging by what is happening and what is about to happen, this week marks either the eve of our imminent victory or the eve of nuclear war,” Simonyan wrote on Twitter. “I can’t see any third option.”

Russian officials and pundits on state television have asserted for months that the war it initiated against Ukraine is actually part of a larger existential fight against [the North Atlantic Treaty Organization].[12]

“Imminent victory” seems far more likely, which isn’t very, for Ukraine than it does for Russia and Margarita Simonyan warning of nuclear war, a warning more subtly echoed by former Russian president Dmitry Medvedev, now deputy head of the country’s Security Council,[13] and by Putin himself,[14] and a threat acknowledged by Joe Biden,[15] is what I have worried about all along.[16]

“To defend Russia and our people, we doubtlessly will use all resources at our disposal,” [Vladimir] Putin said. “This is not a bluff.”

Putin also said Russia would “do everything to provide a safe environment” for Kremlin-installed proxies in four Ukrainian regions that on Tuesday pledged to hold referendums this week to join the Russian Federation.[17]

This quite frankly is one place where my optimism of yesterday[18] could yet prove misplaced.

CBS News, “President Biden warns Vladimir Putin not to use nuclear weapons: ‘Don’t. Don’t. Don’t,’” September 16, 2022, https://www.cbsnews.com/news/president-joe-biden-vladimir-putin-60-minutes-2022-09-16/

Mary Ilyushina, “Ukrainian strikes into Russia’s border towns compound Putin’s troubles,” Washington Post, September 17, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/09/17/ukraine-belgorod-putin/

Isabelle Khurshudyan and Kamila Hrabchuk, “‘Look, these are our boys’: Ukrainian troops drive Russian tanks on new front line,” Washington Post, September 17, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/09/17/look-these-are-our-boys-ukrainian-troops-drive-russian-tanks-new-front-line/

Laurence Peter, “Ukraine war: Russian pop megastar Alla Pugacheva condemns conflict,” British Broadcasting Corporation, September 18, 2022, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-62948146

Steve Rosenberg, “Megastar speaks out,” British Broadcasting Corporation, September 18, 2022, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-62948146

Gabriel Gavin, “Putin’s push for a new USSR reawakens the bloody chaos of Soviet collapse,” Politico, September 19, 2022, https://www.politico.eu/article/vladimir-putin-fall-russia-empire-ukraine-war-armenia-azerbaijan/

Thomas Bolton, “Russian forces ‘palpably panicking’ in Kharkiv region, says Zelenskyy,” EuroNews, September 20, 2022, https://www.euronews.com/2022/09/20/russian-forces-palpably-panicking-in-kharkiv-region-says-zelenskyy

Robyn Dixon, “Russia moves toward annexing Ukraine regions in a major escalation,” Washington Post, September 20, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/09/20/russia-referendum-annexation-luhansk-donetsk-kherson-ukraine/

John Gambrell, “Ukraine, using captured Russian tanks, firms up its lines,” Associated Press, September 20, 2022, https://apnews.com/article/russia-ukraine-kyiv-kharkiv-3351d15af41ddde4176cb7cf72e74ac4

Matthew Luxmoore and Mauro Orru, “Russia Moves to Annex Occupied Lands as Ukraine Presses Offensive,” Wall Street Journal, September 20, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/russia-moves-to-tighten-grip-on-occupied-lands-as-ukraine-presses-offensive-11663675647

Barbara Kollmeyer, “Putin’s partial draft announcement appears to spark scramble to leave Russia as flights fill up,” MarketWatch, September 21, 2022, https://www.marketwatch.com/story/putins-partial-draft-announcement-appears-to-spark-scramble-to-leave-russia-as-flights-fill-up-11663769382

Pjotr Sauer, “Putin flirts again with grim prospect of nuclear war – this time he might mean it,” Guardian, September 21, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/sep/21/putin-flirts-again-with-grim-prospect-of-nuclear-war-this-time-he-might-mean-it

Zoya Sheftalovich, “Putin calls up 300,000 reservists, makes nuclear threat,” Politico, September 21, 2022, https://www.politico.eu/article/putin-announces-partial-mobilization-russian-reservists-nuclear-threat-conscription-ukraine/

Ishaan Tharoor, “Russia pushes the panic button and raises risk of nuclear war,” Washington Post, September 21, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/09/21/russia-referendums-ukraine-occupied-nuclear/


Pittsburgh

Gentrification


Fig. 1. The old Hazelwood library branch. It has been replaced with a new branch on Second Avenue. Photograph by author, May 1, 2020.

Mark Belko, “Quicker conversions of Downtown Pittsburgh offices into apartments moving closer to reality,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, September 21, 2022, https://www.post-gazette.com/business/development/2022/09/20/pittsburgh-planning-commission-zoning-apartments-condos-residential-downtown-partnership-larimer-twg-indianapolis/stories/202209200105


Gilead

Donald Trump

Finances

Shayna Jacobs and Jonathan O’Connell, “Donald Trump, 3 of his children sued for business fraud by New York AG,” Washington Post, September 21, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2022/09/21/trump-sued-new-york-letitia-james/


  1. [10]Associated Press, “Ukraine pushes major counteroffensive as war marks 200 days,” September 11, 2022, https://apnews.com/article/russia-ukraine-moscow-kharkiv-9e5363cd199fd7f01cba14efa4678e5f; Hugo Bachega, “Ukraine’s rapid gains stun Russia,” British Broadcasting Corporation, September 12, 2022, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-62874557; Elena Becatoros and Hanna Arhirova, ““Ukraine claims to have reached Russian border as counteroffensive maintains momentum,” Times of Israel, September 12, 2022, https://www.timesofisrael.com/ukraine-claims-to-have-reached-russian-border-as-counteroffensive-maintains-momentum/; Shane Harris and Ellen Nakashima, “Intelligence points to potential turning point in Ukraine war,” Washington Post, September 12, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2022/09/12/ukraine-russia-retreat-us-intelligence/; Steve Hendrix, Serhii Korolchuk, and Robyn Dixon, “Amid Ukraine’s startling gains, liberated villages describe Russian troops dropping rifles and fleeing,” Washington Post, September 11, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/09/11/kharkiv-liberated-retreat-izyum-russia/; Isabelle Khurshudyan et al., “Ukraine extends battlefield gains as Kremlin reels from setback,” Washington Post, September 12, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/09/12/ukraine-russia-war-retreat-kharkiv/; Mike Martin, “Putin is finished. The Ukrainians have him on the ropes with a stunning victory in their sights,” Telegraph, September 11, 2022, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/world-news/2022/09/11/putin-finished-ukrainians-have-ropes-stunning-victory-sights/; Merlyn Thomas, “Ukraine war: Russians ‘outnumbered 8-1’ in counter-attack,” British Broadcasting Corporation, September 12, 2022, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-62874557
  2. [11]Insider, “Municipal deputies in 18 Moscow and St. Petersburg districts demand Putin’s resignation,” September 12, 2022, https://theins.ru/en/news/254943; Julia Ioffe, “Fear and Loathing in Moscow,” Puck News, September 13, 2022, https://puck.news/fear-and-loathing-in-moscow/; Allison Quinn, “Moscow Officials Urge Putin to GTFO: ‘Everything Went Wrong,’” Daily Beast, September 10, 2022, https://www.thedailybeast.com/moscow-officials-urge-vladimir-putin-to-give-up-power
  3. [12]Robyn Dixon, “Russia moves toward annexing Ukraine regions in a major escalation,” Washington Post, September 20, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/09/20/russia-referendum-annexation-luhansk-donetsk-kherson-ukraine/
  4. [13]Robyn Dixon, “Russia moves toward annexing Ukraine regions in a major escalation,” Washington Post, September 20, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/09/20/russia-referendum-annexation-luhansk-donetsk-kherson-ukraine/
  5. [14]Zoya Sheftalovich, “Putin calls up 300,000 reservists, makes nuclear threat,” Politico, September 21, 2022, https://www.politico.eu/article/putin-announces-partial-mobilization-russian-reservists-nuclear-threat-conscription-ukraine/
  6. [15]CBS News, “President Biden warns Vladimir Putin not to use nuclear weapons: ‘Don’t. Don’t. Don’t,’” September 16, 2022, https://www.cbsnews.com/news/president-joe-biden-vladimir-putin-60-minutes-2022-09-16/
  7. [16]David Benfell, “Nuclear survival,” Not Housebroken, September 18, 2022, https://disunitedstates.org/2022/03/13/nuclear-survival/
  8. [17]Zoya Sheftalovich, “Putin calls up 300,000 reservists, makes nuclear threat,” Politico, September 21, 2022, https://www.politico.eu/article/putin-announces-partial-mobilization-russian-reservists-nuclear-threat-conscription-ukraine/
  9. [18]David Benfell, “Spring in November?” Not Housebroken, September 20, 2022, https://disunitedstates.org/2022/09/19/spring-in-november/

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