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A Dozen Russian Troops Refuse to go to Ukraine and Demonstrate to us that Russia’s Government is a lot like Ours

This week, a report came out of an unplanned incident taking place in Russia. A dozen soldiers from the Russian National Guard, the Rosgvardiya which is the paramilitary unit that reports directly to Vladimir Putin, received orders to travel to Ukraine but, instead, decided to stay home. 

In February, some officers from the force's Krasnodar region were taken to Crimea. In Crimea, which Russia acquired from Ukraine at the end of 2014, to participate in what the commanders claimed to be a military drill. Then, they were given instructions to travel to Ukraine, which they believed to be illegal.

“None of them had a foreign passport with them, nor any intention to leave Russia as their direct official duties are limited to Russian territory,” Pavel Chikov, the chair of the Agora International Human Rights Group, stated in a post via his Telegram channel on Thursday.

A crossing of the border without a valid document is illegal according to Russian law. If you were part of an army it could even be in violation of Ukrainian legislation, Chikov clarified.

“None of the plaintiffs were informed about a business trip to Ukraine to participate in a special military operation or its tasks and conditions,” he said. “As a result, they did not give consent to it.”

The usual arguments were the fact that this was a decline in the morale of Russian security and military services. It is; however, there's something more to it. What I was struck by about this particular story was distilled in this twitter storm created by Kamil Galeev, who is a Galina Starovoitova Fellow at the Wilson Center.

“Captain Farid Chitav and 11 of his subordinates from the Russian National Guard did not want to go to Ukraine. Their unit from Krasnodar was directed to go to Ukraine and they protested. They claimed that they didn't possess a passport from a foreign country and thus were unable to cross the Russian border in a legal manner.”

“They claimed that crossing the Russian border without a passport from a foreign passport (you require a passport to travel to another country) can be illegal, and could be considered an infraction of the law. Therefore, they cannot leave. What did they do? They were all dismissed. They are now seeking to sue their superiors for firing them in violation of the law.”

It's a critical aspect of knowing the Russian state and, well, virtually every other state in the world. When we analyze its policies, we frequently make use of arbitrary, useless terms such as “legal/illegal”. Let me introduce much better term – “procedural”

State-sponsored practices, like Putin's state, may not be legally permissible. They can certainly violate Russian laws at every level. However, that doesn't necessarily mean they're chaotic or random. Nope. They're extremely procedural, far more than ordinary people could imagine.

Kafka's work is often described as absurdist. They're not, however, absurdist in any way. Kafka was an extremely competent and successful bureaucrat who was admired in the eyes of his bosses. His writings are logic-based. But it's not human logic; It's procedural logic. It’s machine logic.

Take Stalin's purges for instance. They're usually called illegal. True, Stalin's state security violated Soviet laws at every level, continually. But that doesn't mean that their actions were chaotic or completely random. Nope. They adhered to the procedures that were logically formulated by bureaucrats

What was the process of Stalin's purges? To find someone guilty it is necessary to obtain confession as evidence, “The Queen of all evidences” according to what Vyshynsky said. If you've got it, you're free to be as creative as you like with an indictment. However, you must still find it, there's just no way around it. A person has to confess.

Naturally, this resulted in a huge gray area. State security generally can't imprison anyone without confession. They take it extremely broadly. If you speak out (however innocent it may be) it could be interpreted as a confession. Once you've done that, you're done.

Here is a  real case. In 1935, NKVD received an anonymous note that stated that a number of Kazan University students were gathering to discuss politics. One student was ridiculing Stalin and Communism and others were laughing. They were all taken into custody and interrogated. What were the exact circumstances?

The person who laughed about Stalin said he was not a Stalinist. Many of his friends were also denialists. He's a real Communist and wouldn't ever ridicule Stalin in any way. Two people only responded Yes, he ridiculed Stalin. What do you think happened? Two of them were in jail, while some were released

From a human point of view, this isn't right. Evidently, the two of them were more likely to join NKVD and even betray their friends? But, they were dealt with. From a procedural point of view, it's logical. It is necessary to obtain anything”confessional.”

“I didn't mock Stalin.” It's not a confession.

“I never heard him mocking Stalin, he's praising him every day” isn't a good sign.

“Yes, he mocked Stalin all the time, he's a traitor” This is an admission. You've admitted you were listening to the treasonous speech. To the GULAG you go.

In the context of human logic, it's insane. The two were jailed due to their participation in treasonous conversation, yet they released the person who spoke this treasonous thing? Yes, but he did not admit to it. The requirements for procedural procedures aren't met. The other two have met them. The requirements for procedural procedures are fulfilled. Time to visit the GULAG.

Note: Do not apply your human logic to bureaucratic processes. “That doesn't make sense, that's crazy.” It's crazy to believe that you're dealing with human beings. Nope. You're dealing with mechanisms of bureaucratic bureaucracy operating in accordance with a procedure-based logic

Let me give an additional example. In 1937, the Great Purge and mass arrests began. One man who lived in St Petersburg belonged to hereditary nobility. He was warned he'd be imprisoned. They'll also extort confessions. He may deny all, however, they could beat the man to death. This isn't ideal.

He was more intelligent. In the evening, the man went to a shop and broke the window. He walked inside, packed his bag with valuable items and waited for the police to arrive. They showed up, and they were able to arrest him. He was sentenced to 5 years in prison for robbing an establishment (as a regular criminal). That's how he got through the Great Purge.

If he remained in his normal life, he'd get taken into custody as a criminal. They'd continue to investigate him as a criminal in the political realm, and add new charges. However, he now chose another path. The regular criminal track was so much better than a track of a spy/counterrevolutionary

It's not logical from a human standpoint. If he was able to commit the robbery, then why couldn't he also have been a spy? However, in terms of procedure it is logical. Criminals of normal behavior are investigated by the regular police. Politicians are investigated by state security. The two different tracks do not mix

You have to wait until security officials from the state come to take you into custody for a crime of political nature. After that, you're done. You can also commit a regular crime and be detained by police. This puts you in a regular criminal court and you'll be secure in jail. NKVD will not be able to come after you, and you're safe.

You should be aware that you're dealing not with human beings, but a machine. It's working in a procedural manner in accordance with a specific algorithm that is packed with bugs. That could be taken advantage of. This is the main reason for distinction in the lives of those who are poor as well as wealthy in any country.

The ignorant think they're dealing with human beings. Therefore, they “follow the rules” and are f*cked. Although it might sound absurd, it could make them feel satisfied with themselves for adhering to the law and following the standard procedure, without requesting special rights. Naturally, these criminals will be punished.

The wealthy are aware that they're not dealing with people, but rather using a process. It is possible to be hacked. You must find a fix. They will be actively looking for it. A wealthy person will want exclusive treatment and present an argument for why he is worthy of it. It is not uncommon for them to receive it.

Think about the Z-invasion. Who was the one who sent them there? The kids were imbecile break-up bumpkins that had no brains that they don't even follow the law. So, if the law states that everyone must join the army and to defend our country, would I disagree? So, they feed their children to Moloch.

The rich don't make it to the trenches regardless of what's within the laws. Why? It's because intelligent people don't care about the rule of law. For a smarter, more successful person, the law isn't an ethical imperative, it is merely a flawed algorithm that can be altered. They'll figure out the best way to break it.

Let's summarize. Legality/illegality isn't a good method to analyze human institutions. Too much morality and not enough substance. A better idea is procedurality. Although policies may not be legally binding; however, they are procedural, and therefore contain bugs that allow hackers to easily hack them.

People who are smart and wealthy recognize the procedural nature of human institutions. Therefore, when they have to deal with them, they only have one problem – how to hack them? They are always seeking bugs, they will find them and obtain what they want in the form of “privileges” or special treatment.

People who are dumb and in poor shape, in contrast, don't understand the procedural character of the institutions. They're in such a state of ignorance that they don't see human traits, but some sort of moral authority inside an unfeeling machine. Of course, they'll be knocked down.

While it's enjoyable to smile at the tiny Russian aristocrat who was himself arrested for burglary to ensure to avoid the gulag, one really needs to consider how the Russian society and its government work differently from ours. It's not just cosmetics. However, on the other hand, if you visit a motor vehicle department recently, you won’t have any questions.

In 2019, for instance, the world was shaken with a “scandal” involving college admissions. Certain celebrities and other high-profile individuals were charged for soliciting college admissions officials and coaches to get space for their children. It wasn't about giving a deserving child an opportunity to move forward. In one case, the child was awarded an athletic scholarship that was full for a sport they had never played. Parents did not recognize that the regulations could, as Galeev states, be hacked. If you look at the past of these people more deeply, you'll find that this wasn't an isolated incident; they came to where they are today, professionally and socially–by hacking rules.

A source of constant outrage from political partisans comes from the record of draftsmen who were born during that Vietnam War era. What was the number of times Mitt Romney had to serve in Vietnam? The same for Donald Trump? Romney's family was educated enough to qualify for an exemption for religious reasons. Trump's doctor was a gentle one. George Bush, Dan Quayle, along with Dick Blumenthal found spaces in the Guard or Reserve. Bill Clinton joined Army ROTC and then went off to study in England. (To be certain, I'm not faulting anyone who decided that they did not want to be drafted , and took advantage of the escape options that were available to them, in the same way that I would fault anyone who took advantage of legitimate tax deductions to save more of their cash.) None of them needed to make a statement about their political views by visiting Canada. However, none of them needed to fight. It's true that the only people to be drafted after World War II were those who allowed it to take place. At the time Vietnam came around, the draft was filled with “hacks” so that to get drafted was not a matter of if you were opposed to being drafted in enough of a way to make a decision to stay out of the draft.

At present, we examine one group of protesters who were arrested on January 6 and who are being kept in horrific conditions and are not being released on bail for the minor violations arising from protests; protests which took place over the obvious voter fraud that took place during the election of November 2020. On the contrary, the ignorant thugs of upper-middle class and upper-class parents from Portland and Seattle are not punished when they throw Molotov cocktails on government vehicles and buildings. It is a direct result of the state and the machine that decided to spit on people who didn't respect its authority while providing a pass to another group of people with whom the authorities were aligned. This is similar to those of the Russian who was accused of being an armed robber rather than an adversary of state.

All of this is not new to anyone. Did you ever take classes with a university athlete, specifically one of the best players of your team? Did you ever believe that the academic standards were identical to the rest of us? Do you remember in high school, when the quarterback with the most stars as well as the homecoming queen/king and who was the leader of the cheerleader team were permitted to do things that could have resulted in someone else being exiled? What is the reason that most flag military officers are the descendants of flag officers? In those days, the more you were in the commanding general's (or the CEO's) room, the more attractive female employees were. In the same way, do you think Kamala Harris built her career through determination and political skills? Did you not hear, “don't fight city hall?” Have you ever seen “hot girl privilege” demolishing the bureaucracy?

I have no information about the 12 interior security officers who refused travel to Ukraine or the motives behind it. However, it is important to understand the reasons they did. They didn't stay to protest, which could result in lengthy prison sentences in locations that had extremely unpleasant living conditions and climates. They chose to stay out of respect for the system as well as loyalty to their duty. They did not have passports, so it was not legal and unprofessional for an individual with their status to comply with the directive to go to Ukraine. Now they're victimized, and trying to reclaim their jobs back after they were fired for not obeying the law.

It isn't to say that our society is the same as Russian society, the reason being that there is a cultural resistance towards bribes, which isn't a feature of many other cultures. However, it is easy to recognize that we're not that far away from them.

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