Tallinn postcard: Feels like a big war is coming
V. I. Lenin Palace of Culture and Sports, Tallinn.
We just recorded an ep about the mobilization panic and our scramble to find a way out of Russia in the midst of it. It should be out in a day or two. While we get that ready, I just want to write a quick note while I have a moment.
Having just crossed the border from Russia into Estonia and having rested a bit, I can’t say that I’m very relieved. The feeling I have is that things are gonna get worse — a lot worse.
Russia’s mobilization, the closing of EU borders to Russians with regular visas (Finland will close the last easily accessible EU land border tonight), the queues of Russian men and Ukrainian refugees on border checkpoints, all this talk from the EU about collective punishment, the looming economic and energy crisis here, the annexations of active war zones, the fascist victory in Italy, and now this crazy and mysterious pipeline sabotage carried out by who knows who but probably the usual suspects…I dunno, it all feels all like we’re on the precipice of a big war. The fight over Ukraine is starting to bloom, to spread outward and no one in power on either side has any interest in pulling back. Everyone’s doing their escalation bit and everyone thinks they can ultimately win this thing.
America has been pushing this thing right up to the edge. But Putin and his siloviki are now fully committed, too. They’ve been looking at this fiery pit of nationalism and separatism and territorial fights, studying it all these years — and they made the decision to jump right in with their own bloody crusade. Putin’s clearly deadly serious about it and things are getting meaner and meaner. With this mobilization, he and his people are bringing the war home in a real way. But they think they can take on the challenge and come out victorious. It’s scary looking at this thing from here. It’s not abstract like it is if you’re sitting in California or New York or Washington D.C.
It will be wild when in like a hundred years kids will have to learn how it all started and it’ll all be very confusing and no one will have a clue. People will scratch their chins and historians will argue about whether it really was over some place called Zhaporozhskaya Oblast that a bunch old paranoid freaks lit the whole world on fire.
This is a reader-supported publication. Consider becoming a subscriber.