In any war, combatants (soldiers, airmen, sailors, or paramilitary figures) sometimes go beyond their rules of engagement and any international laws of war, and wantonly kill innocent civilians and destroy property. Unless those civilians are aiding the enemy, they are usually not a threat to an invading military force.
Mercifully, the vast majority of Mother Earth’s militaries are populated with men and women who follow lawful orders and do not commit crimes, let alone crimes against humanity. Interpolity relations remain largely intact, allowing nations to negotiate cease-fire or cease-and-desist terms without murdering each other during the delicate process.
And then there’s the Russian Army, which I attempt to interrogate and psychoanalyze in this article. . . .
One Must Ask: Why Would Any Armed Force That Occupies a Weaker Country Kill Civilians Who Clearly Are Noncombatants?
While many consider the atrocities committed by Russian military troops in Ukraine “random,” I disagree on all levels. Nor are Putin’s tactics executed out of desperation or carelessness. The eleventh hour is still well beyond Putin’s event horizon, and he knows it.
Putin has even gone as far to apologize for some of those “random” killings. Well, sorta. He said they were mistakes.
“Attack-apology” behavior is typical of despots who know they can get away with murder but, at least initially, appease the world with sweet talk. As we’ve seen of late, Putin’s sweet talk has all but disappeared.
There is a definite form to their madness, this genocide by the Russian Army against the civilian population of Ukraine. It is a systematic and planned attack against innocents. That dark light removes randomness from the equation. If you study carefully the actions of Russian troops in Ukraine, you will discover patterns of behavior only seen in instances of “all-out war,” (AOW) save the use of nuclear weapons. These outspread pockets of AOW are engineered to cause mass confusion and to wear down the Ukrainian Army and the civilian population.
Ukraine so far has smashed these Russian efforts, leaving one to speculate about Putin’s next move, should he fail to unite the widely separated pockets of AOW, surround the Ukrainian Army and kill it.
The Six Elements of the Force Continuum
There’re many ways to scare a civilian population into submission, starting with #1 below: simply showing up on their doorstep.
Other uses of force depend on how civilians respond to that applied pressure:
- The mere presence of an opposing force, e.g Russian squad, company or battalion.
- Verbal commands issued to innocent civilians.
- Soft empty-hand techniques to subdue a civilian; hard empty-hand techniques. Neither one employs a weapon like a gun, knife, etc.
- Non-lethal measures like pepper spray, baton or taser.
- Less-lethal force and weapons like those that incapacitate a civilian to a stronger degree than a taser or pepper spray.
- Lethal force, using guns, edged weapons, exploding devices, etc.
While Russian Army troops have used elements of the force continuum, it has been primarily engaged and cemented itself to #6, savagely torturing and murdering innocent civilians and leaving their corpses to rot in the streets for the world to see in full color on all forms of social media, especially Twitter.
Twitter will go down in history as a war-mongering, hate-filled portfolio of powerful and vivid images of the war in Ukraine, and it is owned and operated by a bunch of passive-aggressive squishes who’ve never even been in a fistfight their entire lives.
Here in America, when law enforcement skips everything from 1 to 5 and jumps into #6, innocent civilians die, the perps wind up in court, and most get acquitted. Recent news headlines attest to this fact. After these home-grown atrocities, Americans exhibit “complain-comply behavior” by moaning over it for a day, then going along with whatever authority tells them.
Wait a sec, isn’t that what’s happening with the Russians in Ukraine? Something fishy’s going on here and it’s a pattern seen in many different countries. But that’s a topic for a future piece, examining the increase in senseless violence by those with authority over civilians, and it’s happening across the world, not just in Ukraine and America.
Entire battalions of Russians are murdering Ukrainian civilians in their homes, on their streets, in parks and museums, and in stores and shops. I wish I could say this is unprecedented, but sadly it is not. Its artillery and missiles is very good at hitting schools, hospitals and theaters packed with civilians. All wars have produced scores of atrocities against innocents, but Russia takes the cake on those in Ukraine, much like it did in all other wars and conflicts.
Is Outright Brutality in Russian DNA?
Partly, yes, as an upcoming article of mine suggests (Aerowodka: The Secret Reasons Russia Wants Ukraine To Come Home).
It is also a learned behavior that dates back centuries to the warriors of old who butchered anyone who got in their way and celebrated their bad behavior by having a smart guy record those acts of barbarity for posterity. “Ancient” Russians were too dumb to know that this smart guy was also putting a spin on their blood-soaked history, a blistering form of propaganda that served to scare the holy crap out of their future enemies. It worked so well that, for many conflicts, Russia never had to lift a finger to declare victory and take the spoils.
There were no Geneva Conventions then. No law of war. No outside countries to mediate or modulate their lust for the blood of those guilt-free citizens. Indeed, the history of wars fought in Eastern Europe are replete with massacres of civilians as a matter of course.
Simply put, Russia has gotten away with murder on a large scale, and that fact is being perpetuated in Ukraine on a grand scale. Worse, perhaps, no one country outside Ukraine is doing anything meaningful, except drone on with typical political lip service to appease the worldwide audience of ignorant souls who don’t know any better.
As our own politickers continue meandering and loitering, with very limited military aid to Ukraine, blameless civilians continue to be tortured and murdered, their rotting corpses left as a monument to our own spineless procrastination and further evidence of Russian wickedness.
Worst of all, the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) in Basel, Switzerland is secretly funding Russia’s murderous behavior and collecting many billions of dollars in interest on usurious loans, exorbitant fees, etc. I’m angry that mainstream media et al. have not called the BIS on their egregious behavior, but my anger is misplaced because someone else controls the BIS and no one is prepared to hear that bit of news.
The Core of Darkness of the War Criminal
Psychologists agree that the prime motive for committing war crimes is acquiescence to authority. Looking deeper, though, we find a fundamental “core of darkness” that exists in some of these perpetrators.
What we’re generally seeing in Ukraine are crimes of obedience. Russian Army troops are being directed by higher authorities to commit heinous acts against the innocent civilians of Ukraine, instead of treating them with dignity and respect. Their superiors may not be stating explicitly, “Go kill civilians,” but they are making subtle suggestions and comments to subordinates that it is permissive to “go kill civilians.” Worse perhaps, these superiors are also suggesting that Russian Army soldiers will not be punished if they “go kill civilians.”
Nazis in WWII justified their war crimes by stating they were “just following orders.” We heard that line repeated over and over at Nuremberg. Those transcripts still exist today, so please listen to them, mostly as an object lesson.
The blind obedience of Russians is evident not only in the Russian military but also their population at large. It has been pounded into them since birth, producing a compliant and docile biorobot that does as ordered, regardless of whether it is immoral or illegal. And damn the consequences, as well. Look at Putin: he appears not to mind all that worldwide condemnation of his actions. His countenance, painted on by some KGB artist, remains the same in each photo and video: that of a psychopathic thug.
The study “investigated the relationship between malevolent individual difference factors (Machiavellianism, narcissism, psychopathy, the dominance facet of social dominance orientation, and right-wing authoritarianism) and aspects of military ethics before and during a peacekeeping mission to Mali. Based on pre-service responses from 175 Swedish soldiers, a factor analysis revealed a latent variable to which all individual difference factors contributed. This latent “core of darkness” was related to being more positive toward unethical behaviors both in a warzone . . . we also found that the latent darkness variable prospectively predicted a higher frequency of self-reported insulting and cursing of noncombatants while in Mali. Our results suggest that malevolent individual difference factors have a common core. . . .”
“Soldiers with a history of antisocial behavior before enlistment were more likely to misuse alcohol, fight, and be aggressive during service.”
“Previous studies with military personnel suggest that psychopathy, or antisocial tendencies, may be the most important predictor of unethical behavior among military personnel.”
Another paper states, “Mental health problems, such as posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), can drive unethical battlefield conduct through anger induction and/or disregulation.”
Do these results explain the terrible behaviors of Russian troops?
Partly, yes. They further demonstrate that a pre-existing psychopathy is present in those who commit atrocities. Russian genetics, the continual brainwashing of these children, and the encouragement by, and support from, military superiors to go kill civilians all exacerbate those effects, making Russian soldiers a very dangerous lot, especially in Ukraine.
Additionally, I find it a shame that some “experts” are publishing articles and op-ed pieces, suggesting that sexual assaults by Russians are committed because these (foreign) conscripts as part of a ritual “bonding” behavior that somehow ingratiates them with their unit members. Fact is, foreign conscripts represent only a small percentage of the Russian Army. Its majority come from inside the Rusted Iron Curtain of Russia.
Clearly, these “researchers” are not properly schooled in basic neurobiology and behavior, molecular biology, biochemistry and genetics. They rely solely on actions and behaviors to explain their conclusions, which are overflowing with subjective (read: inaccurate) interpretations. Their methods are dead wrong and they muddy up the truly accurate narrative on this subject.
An aside: you can take an online psychopathy test to measure how much of a psycho you are. Here’re my personal results, demonstrating that I’m 10.95% less psychopathic than the rest of the population average. Putin and his henchmen would occupy the northeastern-most triangle, near the “h” and “o” of Psychopath.
I Wonder How the World Would View Such Ancient Barbarism Today? It’s a Question Mark, No?
That mystery is now solved: Twitter has become a real-time exhibit of grisly images of dead Ukrainian civilians whose hands were bound with lengths of cloth and were tortured, raped, and disfigured before being murdered by occupying Russian troops. The dozen images below are not for the faint of heart. I include them in this piece because they clearly demonstrate the abject bestiality of Russian troops.
While I would never want my children to view them. At the same time, I would want to show my kids examples of how some people lack sympathy for innocents and, because of poor upbringing, training and education, will resort to violence when placed in the “right” situation and without proper adult supervision.
I purposefully did not caption them. The results of each image speak for itself:
TRIGGER WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT AHEAD
Russian Atrocities Are Numerous and Well Documented, Thanks to Twitter
[Author’s note: Twitter suspended my account for six days + an hour, for using the word “kill” in a sentence in which I told an American politicker to stop his rhetoric and pick up a weapon and go kill Putin. How harmful can that possibly be? However, Twitter regularly posts grisly images of dead Ukrainians who were murdered by Russian Army troops. It also posted an image from WWII, showing the brutal rape and murder of a civilian girl.
That’s not simply a double-standard. It is double-stupidity and it’s being committed by Twitter every day. And to think Elon Musk just bought a 9.2% stake in Twitter and became its largest shareholder. Elon, can I please call out politickers again without getting booted for a week? Putin loves to read my analyses with breakfast every morning.
A brief history of Russian atrocities reveals the brutal nature of troops, even when facing innocent civilians and other noncombatants. After the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, the Russian military was in shambles and soon began committing horrible acts of barbarity against harmless and unarmed people in its breakaways like Chechnya, Georgia, and Ukraine. Most of those crimes weren’t reported or picked up by mainstream media.
In Chechnya, Russians were guilty of the disappearances of people, murder, torture, and rape. They also failed on all levels to heed international condemnation of their crimes and to investigate these crimes internally.
Russia is the historic badboy bully of the global neighborhood, the brat who knows he can away with murder, so he does. And no one stops him.
The European Court of Human Rights, in 2021, found Russia guilty of committing atrocities in Georgia. The extent to which the Russian military and paramilitary forces carried out these crimes is still not well known. Time and the coming of new horrible events in Ukraine have wrested the atrocities in Georgia from international scrutiny.
In Ukraine in 2014, the International Criminal Court (ICC) began its investigation of Russia’s atrocities in Crimea and for violations of international law. In a swift response, in 2016, Russia departed the ICC.
The list of barbarous Russian behavior is endless and continues to expand each day as the war in Ukraine drags on.
But Russia doesn’t care, nor does it pay any mind to Amnesty International or Human Rights Watch and their concerted campaigns to alert the world about Russian savagery. Keeping up that badboy image, you know.
Simply put, Russia couldn’t care less what anyone outside the Federation thinks of its behaviors. Moreover, it often thumbs its nose at everyone, daring them to call out Russia on its bad behaviors. Sadly, very few entities do.
Again, is this written in the DNA of Russians and, if so, to what extent? How much of their ruthless behavior is institutional, i.e., taught in schools from a young age? Quite a bit, evidently.
Putin Uses Propaganda to Lie to the Children of Russia
Russia’s ministry of education mandated that teachers tell their young charges, some as young as 11, that the members of NATO pose an immediate threat to Russia, the invasion of Ukraine is actually a “special peacekeeping mission,” and the Kremlin has banned several words and phrases: “declaration of war,” “offensive” and “invasion.”
Russian reporters from the state-owned news agencies are also banned from even talking about civilian deaths in Ukraine.
According to Al Jazeera, “Manuals have been distributed throughout the school system, instructing teachers to tell students that Ukraine did not exist as a nation until the 20th century and that it suffered a bloody coup in 2014, which resulted in the installation of an American puppet regime . . . Additionally, parents have received letters from their children’s schools warning them to keep an eye on their children’s consumption of social media, such as TikTok, where they may be encouraged to use the hashtag #нетвойне (‘no to war’) and be drawn into ‘unsafe’ protests, as well as be exposed to other malfeasance such as “suicide flash mobs, detailed instructions on gender reassignment, and promotion of same-sex relationships.”
“In recent years, promoting military and patriotic education to the nation’s youth has been a priority.
“A uniformed ‘Youth Army’ was formed in 2015. Hundreds of thousands of children aged eight to 18 were taught how to use weapons and instilled with patriotic values at regularly attended camps.”
Recall the Hitler Youth brigades of WWII.
Russia spreads such horrible lies to its children and indoctrinates them with false information and fake news. These children end up being conscripted into the Russian Army when they come of age. How should one expect these troops to act, especially in times of war? Simply put, these little monsters grow up to be big monsters who murder, torture and rape innocent citizens. It doesn’t take deep psychological analysis to realize this. It really is that simple.
The US Military Is a Paragon of Excellence in Training and Leadership . . . Most of the Time
Okay, so we Americans mess up once in a while. Honestly, not even Wikipedia has much to say about American war crimes, even dating back to the Philippine–American War in 1898. There were doubtless crimes committed during the Civil War and Revolutionary War. Thankfully, those actions were few and far between, at least those reported to authorities.
Some recent ones:
- Bagram torture and prisoner abuse
- Kandahar massacre
- Kunduz hospital airstrike
- Maywand District murders
- Dasht-i-Leili massacre
- Clint Lorance murders
- Abu Ghraib torture and prisoner abuse
- Mahmudiyah killings
- John E. Hatley murders
- Hamdania incident
- The International Criminal Court and the 2003 invasion of Iraq
- Eddie Gallagher
- Nisour Square massacre
The paucity of reported war crimes by American forces is a testament to the excellent training and leadership of our NCOs and officer corps. We are fortunate to have professional NCOs in all services who have good institutional knowledge that is passed down to our enlisted personnel. Even between wars, our NCOs serve up first-rate instruction, tutoring, and coaching to young kids who come in frightened and inexperienced. Our beloved NCOs take new recruits and forge bad-ass warriors out of them, from those who man a radar scope inside the Command Information Center of an aircraft carrier to flying a desk as a clerk to carrying a rifle in an infantry squad.
The US military NCO is an institution of doctrine, training, and leadership, and we are a better country for them.
The same cannot be said of Russian military NCOs or officers, however. They are a different beast entirely. The awful fact, too, is that their dreadful behavior is highly organized and consecrated at all levels of the Russian military hierarchy. They are programmed to be soulless executioners.
The Russian Military Lacks Proper Leadership and Guidance
Murder, torture, and rape of innocent Ukrainian civilians.
These atrocities are now the hallmark of the Russian Army as it pillages and destroys Ukraine in what is certainly the bloodiest war in Eastern Europe since WWII. They are now well documented in pictures and videos posted to Twitter, as evidenced in the above images. Yes, it is possible some scenes may be staged to some extent to further dramatize a moment, but most images have been posted in the raw by reliable people, including trained journalists, and confirmed by multiple independent and trusted sources. What you see in those images is not some propaganda campaign by Ukraine or its supporters.
Simply put, the Russian Army lacks proper discipline, training, leadership, and guidance from higher headquarters.
Or, to examine the flip side, the Russian Army’s behavior is highly scripted and purposeful, though it appears to the West as unscrupulous, undisciplined and arbitrary.
Regardless, how do these egregious facts explain why the Russian Army is committing war crimes in Ukraine?
Do We Ask WHY or HOW?
When we study a phenomenon, we can approach it in two main ways: ask why, which evokes a philosophical and subjective discussion; or how, which addresses the mechanics of the situation, i.e., objective facts.
In most personal investigations of things in everyday life, we are taught to ask why, by default, because it immediately calls into play one’s emotions and morals and other highly subjective opinions and thoughts. Such a discussion is fraught with error and is obviously non-scientific in its approach. It is difficult, if not impossible, to tease apart objective facts from subjective ideas. In the end, you cannot prove your case using only the subjective, but you may feel better about the situation for having revealed underlying hot-blooded sentiments.
In a court of law, for example, a guiding judge would direct you to stick with the facts and be objective about it. No yelling or screaming is allowed. Just state the facts as you know them. The judge has asked you to remove emotion from the equation, so he and the court and, perhaps, a jury can sort through the facts of the case without being bogged down unnecessarily with overcharged feelings and sensations.
In the title of this piece, I ask why the Russian Army is committing war crimes because we already know how they are committing crimes: they are massacring innocent civilians using small arms, edged weapons, and lengths of cloth to bind their victims.
So in this instance, why, instead of how, will reveal facts other than the obvious, as stated in the previous paragraph.
So . . . why?
- Russian Army soldiers are poorly trained from the beginning in their basic training classes and field exercises.
- There are far fewer NCOs in the Russian Army than they need to conduct proper field operations.
- Institutionally, Russian Army NCOs are not trusted by anyone, from the lowly private to the flag officer, therefore eroding any confidence and authority NCOs have.
- Since the NCOs present in the war in Ukraine are inadequate, officers are now attempting to take their place on the front lines. The result? They are being slaughtered by the Ukrainian Army and its Foreign Legion of Snipers and Other Killers, which is routinely intercepting message traffic that reveals the future locations of those officers. The Ukrainian/Foreign snipers are picking them off, one by one, and slipping into darkness.
- The Kremlin is most likely mandating that the Russian Army kill as many civilians as possible and live up to its centuries-old image of the murderous neighborhood thug.
The results are striking: the seeming randomness of atrocities means soldiers are without proper leadership and are intentionally using sadistic methods to murder innocent civilians. These young soldiers are also falling back to their lowest level of behavior: as children of Russian propaganda; and to their lowest level of training: as improperly trained recruits.
Sadly, these facts are further amplified by other actions:
1. The Kremlin is sending out kill teams to take down deserters from the Russian Army. Who would want to serve in a unit, knowing some assassin is always shadowing them, just in case they decided to bolt from a unit?
2. Hazing in the Russian Army is brutal, and young recruits are dying from it at an alarming rate. There is an entire legion of babushkas who cry for the deaths of these young Russians killed by their own.
In America, we have Gold Star Mothers. They grieve for their sons and daughters killed in action by an enemy.
While in Russia, mothers in their hundreds protest that their sons in the military were killed by fellow Russian soldiers during brutal hazing rituals.
Revisited: Why Is the Russian Army Committing War Crimes?
The answers are numerous and complex, as shown above. But there are some fundamental flaws in the Russian education system and the military that add up to their children being raised in an atmosphere of hatred and false images of their enemies in the West. Over the years in the life of a Russian child, these flaws coalesce and amplify to create a psychopathic monster that knows only one thing: kill the enemy at all costs and damn any law of war or the Geneva Conventions.
These once beautiful children are also victims of a failed Soviet/Russian system of communism that clearly lacks all manner of sound doctrine, leadership, and execution of proper techniques.
Still, when these young kids grow into killing machines, we must hold them accountable, if for no other reason than this: they made a conscious choice to murder innocent Ukrainian citizens who posed no threat to their existence on the battlefield. And they cannot hide behind the orders of their NCOs or officers. Under the law of war, we must, in the very least, question unlawful/illegal orders.
Ignorance is not a defense.
We should all be grateful to several “special foreign units” operating inside Ukraine and regularly hunting down and killing Russian military personnel. Their message to Russia is clear: if you kill innocents, you will be held accountable. And if you are found guilty . . . sekir baschka.
“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” —Matthew 6:21
The Aftershocks of Russia’s War Crimes
From the US Treasury: “U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) took major steps to degrade the economy of the Russian Federation in response to Russia’s continued brutal war against Ukraine and atrocities against Ukrainian citizens. Treasury is imposing full blocking sanctions on Sberbank, Russia’s largest state-owned bank, and Alfa-Bank, Russia’s largest private bank. Treasury is also targeting family members of President Vladimir Putin (Putin) and Foreign Minster Sergey Lavrov (Lavrov), as well as Russian Security Council members who are complicit in the war against Ukraine. In addition, the President is issuing a new Executive Order today, which bans new investment in the Russian Federation and the provision of certain services to any person located in the Russian Federation by U.S. persons, wherever located.”
These sanctions, while scoffed at by Putin et al., are devastating to him and the Russian economy. Given the typical denials by the Kremlin, we may not get the full picture of the aftershocks for some time. But, in the least, we can indirectly measure the seismics by how surrounding countries act/react to Russia’s slow, downward spiral.
We study “dark matter” and “dark energy” in this indirect way, too, looking at how neighboring matter is affected by the seemingly invisible dark stuff that clearly produces strong effects on its celestial neighbors.
Putin and the Kremlin cannot compare themselves to the powerful impact of “dark energy.” Nor can they hide their wounds and side effects forever, even though their “fortress inside a city” (literal meaning of Kremlin) provides temporary shelter from the curious minds and prying eyes of worldwide governments and their media.
Personally, based on all available intel and the intelligence-gathering mechanism of my own superconscious, I hypothesize that Putin will withdraw very soon, perhaps by 09 May 2022, and head home. No, he will not drop a nuke on Ukraine.
After “Victory Day,” he will detumesce at his Dacha and receive orders from his handlers for his next move, which will most likely be to play nice in the worldwide sandbox. The Bank for International Settlements can earn more money by rebuilding Russia’s broken economy and also fixing the devastation in Ukraine.
Sometimes peace is more profitable than war.