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Bad Karma

 I have been thinking about how to capture current craziness that is unbearable, way up from the usual level of having been insufferable for the last five years.  The problem with intelligent people, a saying goes, is that they think people think.  This is demonstrably false for at least one half of the global population, venting their grievances, tribalism and anger in real blood baths or on virtual monsters called Facebook and many other names. Other media platforms, such as Fox Lies & Entertainment and the Russian TV 1 News are dedicated to the repetitive stoking of anger and hatred by all means possible. The incurious and lazy, make it 50 milion Americans and Russians - each - find comfort in this onslaught of familiar propaganda that reminds them of church sermons, drug highs and drunken stupor.

In this atmosphere of sweeping hatred and ignorance, the crazed, slighted vor (the Russian slang for a mafia thief), murderer and war criminal, President Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, decided to attack Ukraine. No doubt he was prodded to undertake this fateful, irreversible action by the September 1, 2021, joint document between the Ukrainian and American governments.  In this document, sponsored by the US White House, Ukraine was encouraged to join NATO, a real no-no to the imperial Russia, just like the Salvador Allende's democratic government in Chile was a no-no to the imperial America.  A war criminal and Nobel Peace Prize winner, Dr. Henry Kissinger, was the author of the Chilean coup d'état in 1973, one of many in the US neighborhood.  Kissinger's argument was that the US didn't want the "contagion" of democracy and resistance to US supremacy to spread in the Western Hemisphere.  And spread it did not. 

Please remember that the Ukrainian-American letter of understanding was signed on the highly significant date of September 1.  In Poland, this date was burned into the collective memory of four generations of Poles.  On September 1, 1939, Nazi Germany brutally attacked Poland from the west, south and north.  Hitler dared to move his entire army to the east, emboldened by the German-Soviet pact signed 8 days earlier. 

The German-Soviet pact consisted of two parts, one public and one secret. The public part was a non-aggression pact in which each signatory promised not to attack the other for ten years. The secret part of the pact was a protocol that established Soviet and German spheres of influence in eastern Europe. It recognized Estonia, Latvia, and Bessarabia as falling within the Soviet sphere. (About two thirds of Bessarabia lies within modern-day Moldova, with the Ukrainian Budjak region covering the southern coastal region and part of the Ukrainian Chernivtsi Oblast covering a small area in the north. The Ukrainian part is just south of Odessa and Mariupol. So what the czarist Russia gained and lost, the Soviets were to take over again. Now it is Putin's term to steal some more land for Mother Russia and most Russians are elated.) The Nazis and Soviets agreed to divide Poland along the line of the Narev, Vistula and San Rivers. 

So Hitler knew that his faithful Soviet ally would commence an attack on Poland from the east roughly two weeks later.  The 21-year old Second Republic of Poland was to be annihilated. My grandfather helped to resurrect that Poland after 150 years of partitions. He was an officer in the Polish army formed by general Piłsudski in the czarist Russia. (This was the first of  three wars my grandfather fought with the Russians. He had advanced degrees in chemistry and physics and didn't want to be a soldier for life.) The purpose of the new Polish army was to help the badly failing Russian army to fight Germans. The Russians lost, the Bolsheviks took over, and immediately signed a non-aggression pact with Germany (rings a bell?).  But the battle-hardened, intact and incredibly motivated Polish army rolled west and freed Poland from the Soviets, Germans and Austrians.  

Thus, in 1939, the Soviet Union collaborated in starting the biggest slaughter of civilians in human history - 60 million people altogether.  The Red Army contributed mightily to that slaughter.  So the territories Stalin stole working with his best Nazi friends, Putin is setting out  to "recover" from the Ukrainian "Nazis."  

The more things change, the more they stay the same.  The young Germans in late 1930s(?) and the young Russians today are subjected to similar brain washing.  In the meantime, the Russian soldiers rape 10-year old girls in Ukraine, following the well-known Red Army battle cry: "a girl into a woman; a woman into a corpse."

Lavrentiy Pavlovich Beria, Лавре́нтий Па́влович Бе́рия, the all-powerful NKVD director until 1953, wanted to establish a lasting union of Nazi Germany and Soviet Union. His ambition was to partition the world, with Japan being a junior partner. Stalin, who was scared and mistrustful of the hyper murderous Beria, overrode him. Beria was kidnapped and executed by his fearful comrades just after Stalin's death. Beria's NKVD prepared for Stalin the list of 14,700 Polish soldiers, mostly officers, and 11,000 police officers and border guards captured by the Red Army after September 17, 1939, recommending their execution. His list was approved by the Politburo (Stalin) on March 3, 1940. The Polish POW were executed one-by-one with a pistol shot to the back of their heads between April 3 and May 19, 1940. The Russian executioners had to use German pistols from the German arms shipments to the Soviet Union. The Russian pistols were too flimsy and would fail. Stalin was cleaning up his stable before the anticipated conflict with Germany. My wife's uncle, lieutenant Stanisław Paulisz, was likely one of these murdered Polish officers. He disappeared without a trace fighting Russians in eastern Poland. A partial list of the Polish victims is here

Do you see the irony of current Russian propaganda, enthusiastically embraced by the Russian serfs and well received in some whataboutist circles in the West? 

In summary, before you condemn Ukraine and the United States, please keep in mind that Russia is never to be trusted, ever.  And the Ukrainians want nothing as badly as to stay away from the murderous Russian oppressors. So let's talk about Ukraine that is being looted, raped and murdered right now.

A Russian missile strike on a small railway station, Kramatorsk, killed at least 50 civilians, many women and children. If the Russians wanted to stoke global revulsion and hatred, they succeeded admirably by displaying again their customary cruelty and disregard for human life.

As every ruthless, murderous dictator, Putin is spectacularly misinformed.  His underlings tell him lies, simply because they are too scared for their skins and privileges to act otherwise.  Putin is proceeding like any infallible, deified Czar of All Russia (the Big Brother in the "1984" terminology) would.  The implementation of his decisions is left to the princes (generals and oligarchs; the Inner Party members in the "1984" terminology) and boyars (members of the military, oppression and propaganda apparatus; the Party members). The narodnost' (the little people;  "prols" in the 1984 terminology) and especially muzhiki  (the peasants, villagers in small remote locations) have nothing to say and must follow orders from the boyars or else (yes, they can be killed on the spot or imprisoned). This is how the Russian society has worked for eight centuries. What made me aghast is how little Russians have changed in the last 100 years, including a brief, sad interlude during which the prols could actually act somewhat independently.  That fleeting feeling of freedom scared the prols silly and they ran away from not being ordered around as fast as they could, straight into the strong arms of Father Putin.

But what makes an ordinary Russian conscript today so cruel and greedy?  To answer this question we need to go back 130 years, to the works of Maxim Gorky. 

THE PROPHET DISILLUSIONED: MAXIM GORKY AND THE RUSSIAN REVOLUTIONS is the wonderful  Ph.D. dissertation by Anita A. Kondoyanidi, Georgetown University. Here are a few excerpts from her thesis: 

"[Maxim Gorky] concluded that only by self-educating, reading, and working, Russian muzhiks could overcome their own violence, laziness, and cruelty. 

In his letters and literary works, Gorky suggests that Russia’s despondent way of life gave rise to violence and cruelty in its people; Russia’s open spaces cultivated the peasants’ striving for unlimited freedom that in the end was more destructive than useful. Gorky added to this complicated debate, by creating a dark portrait of the peasant Gavrila in his short story “Chelkash” published in 1895 in Russian Wealth (Russkoe bogatstvo). Gorky’s work predated Anton Chekhov’s famously pessimistic take on “who was the Russian muzhik” in his short story “Muzhiki” by two years. 

Unlike Chekhov, who did not express his outright contempt for peasants and emphasized the force of poverty in determining their unfortunate fate, Gorky underscored the peasants’ alleged cruelty and their irrepressible passion for property. Gorky strongly believed that, first and foremost, the peasant’s “fanatical” passion for possessions was in his blood, and second, that the social culture and circumstances only reinforced his greed. In order to accumulate money, the peasants were ready to commit the worst crimes. The power of money was the only power that they recognized."

This explains why 130 years later, the Russian soldiers in Ukraine rob, rape and murder blindly without much encouragement. One of the killed soldiers had pockets full of stolen jewelry.  The Ukrainians found the soldier's phone, and sent a picture of his corpse and stolen possessions to his wife. In another reported story, a group of Russian soldiers robbed Ukrainian civilians and ordered them to search the web on how to sell the stolen goods.  The Russian army radio exchanges intercepted by the German intelligence demonstrate how the Russian soldiers in Bucha were ordered to interrogate the captured civilians and then kill them. Exactly like in the good, old NKVD times.  Putin should know as a colonel in the KGB, the inheritor of the distinguished NKVD tradition of murdering and starving some 10 million of inhabitants of the Soviet Union, mostly during peace time.

Azatbek Omurbekov is commander of the 64th Separate Motorized Rifle Brigade that has been accused of war crimes. Activists say he is the "Butcher of Bucha", but this is not confirmed yet. He is a Buryat muzhik turned a leutenant-colonel boyar.  He goes to church and praises the Russian Orthodox God.  Image source: RUSSIAN MILITARY.

And now the large Russian rocket that killed 50 civilians and wounded 100, had "за дети" or  "for children" inscribed on it.  With surreal cruelty, the Russian boyars, who are the most daring and consistent liars anywhere, accused Ukrainians of staging this massacre. Bad Karma.

Let's talk now about the bad karma Russia has generated outside of their faithful supporters, China, Hungary, and the foxy tRumpistas. Here are a few practical outcomes of the Russian actions:
  1. Europe, including Norway, Sweden and Finland, has been united and pushed back into the American orbit.  No one but the foolish, crazed Putin would be able to achieve such unity and increases of military expenditures.
  2. Australia, South Korea, New Zealand and Taiwan have redoubled their ties with the US.
  3. Ukraine has become a mortal enemy of Russia that will not be able to hold on to its territorial gains. There will be a bloody, Afghanistan-style insurgency, we (the US) will maintain alive with superior weapons that will kill thousands of Russians and Ukrainians.
  4. The global economy is over; the costs are raising everywhere and there is no going back.  This is also very bad news for China, right on the heels of locking up 26 million people in Shanghai, because of COVID.
  5. For a brief period, China and Russia will emerge as allies, like the Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union.  This alliance will fall apart, because China wants to subjugate Russia economically, but Russia views itself as a primitive force of nature, an empire destined to rule over 12 time zones.
  6. Green technologies and efforts to fight the ever-accelerating global warming will be largely ignored, while we mine more coal, crude oil and natural gas to keep warm and keep lights on.
  7. The world is closer to the brink of extinguishing the human race and all else by an accidental or otherwise nuclear war.  The fools here, make it 100 million Americans, are cheering the prospects of  a nuclear war "there." The Russian fools (2/3 of the population or another 100 million people) are shouting symmetrically, let's "nuke the Americans."  This attitude is as dangerous as it gets.
In short, the world as we know has ceased to exist or the world will cease to exist, period.  In that case, the only lucky ones will die in a thermonuclear flash.

P.S. (04/09/2022)  This cartoon was reprinted in Poland from the Bulgarian press:  "May 9 Victory Parade in Moscow." (For the younger readers: These parades are to commemorate the end of WWII in Europe, and by implication, in 2022, the "denazification" of Ukraine.  In one week or so, the Russian army will hit eastern Ukraine hard to score a May 9th victory for their "Gipper," who cannot lose militarily and his head.)

P.S.P.S. (4/10/2022) Here is an interview with a popular Polish-Silesian writer who was born 15 km from where I was born.  His family came from the Eastern Prussia and was subjected to the full treatment by the Red Army, including the murderous NKVD troops. Likely, 140,000 Silesians were murdered by the Soviets and their Polish communist stooges post-1945, but this is not the subject of his interview. The interview is in Polish, so use Google translator.  His basic point is that Russia is irreformable.  Such are the properties of the "Russian soul," Sołżenicyn included.

P.S.3 (04/17/2022) A breathtaking editorial by Vladimir Sorokin in the Guardian. Sorokin is the best Russian writer alive, now in exile in Germany.

"On 24 February, the armor of the “enlightened autocrat” that had housed Vladimir Putin for the previous 20 years cracked and fell to pieces. The world saw a monster – crazed in its desires and ruthless in its decisions. The monster had grown gradually, gaining strength from year to year, marinating in its own absolute authority, imperial aggression, hatred for western democracy, and malice fueled by the resentment engendered by the fall of the USSR. Now, Europe will have to deal, not with the former Putin, but the new Putin who has cast aside his mask of “business partnership” and “peaceful collaboration”. There shall never again be peace with him. How and why has this come to pass? Read on...

Once you read his editorial, you will see that Sorokin and I draw very similar pictures of Russia as a neo-medieval, hyper-oppressive state in which boyars, who are tsar's enforcers, wield power with utmost brutality so that the narodnost' knows who's in charge and keep their heads down.

The same hyper-brutality, rapism, and unhinged greed characterize the narodnost' as the Russian soldiers in Ukraine, who by now have murdered and raped many thousands of Ukrainians.  For eight centuries now the "Russian soul" has been soaked in blood and utmost violence.

P.S.4 (04/22/2022) Poor Moldova is finally seeing the light, but it might be the Russian panzer train barreling her way. As I described in this post, Moldova was assigned to the Soviet Union by the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact of August 23, 1939, that was the last major nail in the coffin of the old world.  The Soviets enabled the Nazis to start WWII, the biggest conflagration the world has ever seen. In the end, it did not work out for Stalin, when on June 22, 1941, Hitler decided to attack Russia. Twenty seven milion Russians, too many killed by the Red Army's complete disregard for human life and by German grotesque cruelty, perished. This casualty estimate may be inflated to balance the earlier NKVD mass atrocities in 1937 and 1938.  But what's a few million Soviets (not just Russians) this or that way, when a new better Soviet Union 1.0 was being erected?  

Putin is following in the footsteps of that 1939 pact, and wants Moldova back in his Soviet Union 2.0.  Moldova is also hampered by the fanatically pro-Russian and completely brainwashed Transnistria. A week ago, the New York Times published a video interview with several brain-dead Russian-speaking people there, who only watch Rossiya 24 and TV-1 News, and have clinically altered minds.  

P.S.5 (05/20/2022) I am glad that Dr. Timothy Snyder (a professor of history at Yale University and the author of many books on fascism, totalitarianism and European history) has repeated this blog in the New York Times. We Should Say It. Russia Is Fascist. May 19, 2022.

P.S.6 (05/20/2022) I was dismayed beyond belief (disgusted as hell?) with the May 19, New York Times Editorial Board pontification, The War in Ukraine Is Getting Complicated, and America Isn’t Ready.  How dare those little Chamberlain, Quisling or Petain persons speak for us, Americans?  I was trying to imagine those insular people in their safe offices negotiating by email the treacherous words they would publish in their global bully pulpit; the words that would make the Russian/Hungarian-sponsored right-wing traitors here nod their shaven, swastika tattooed heads with understanding.  Several of these persons are of Jewish descent.  Have they forgotten what other people like them did to their ancestors in 1938? In 1939?  In 1940?  In 1941?  For fuck's sake, have their lost their minds, or did they talk too much to the powerful Russian, pro-Putin mafia in Israel? Have they not heard the real world leaders, like the Ukrainian President Żeleński, or  the Estonian Prime Minister Kajakallas, explain to the likes of them how one must deal with the mad-dog Russian fascists?!
This expression of my distraught is dedicated to the distinguished Member Persons (They/Them) of the New York Times Editorial Board. BTW, have you noticed how other countries with real existential threats elect young intelligent leaders, while we in the US elect geriatric mummies with dementia? 


  1. Hi Prof. Tad,

    I am wondering that do we have enough oil and gas if green energy policy is abandoned?

    I remember that you have mentioned the global oil and gas production might peak and the shell oil and gas can't save us. Some of news report saying that nuclear and coal might be revived due to this conflict.


  2. Well, there is this thing called degrowth or shrinkage or permanent recession. We need to shrink the global economy by about 30% to make ends meet. It will not be easy, and most people have exactly zero understanding why this will and must happen. These angry disoriented people will be electing the new Le Pens, Trumps, Modis, Orbans and Putins, and the world will change into a living hell. Each advanced stage of decline is very painful, be it the Roman Empire then or the global economy today.

  3. The forgotten or obscured history of WWII.

    Poland had the oil field that made the rest of the war possible. It was a grade ideally suited for the manufacture of TNT.

  4. Hi Prof. Tad,

    I am not sure if you have watched a French documentary regarding the east Ukraine. Some said it is a propaganda from Russia, but I believe this documentary is true.
    Donbass - 2016. Documentary Anne-Laure Bonnel

    It seems that the situation in the east Ukraine is even worse than war. It is a blind hatred like in Israel and Palestine. Ukraine might face a very difficult situation since Ukrainian-speak Ukrainian and Russian-speaking Ukrainian won't get along with each other.

    Maybe I am too pessimistic but I am afraid that when the thing, you call "degrowth or shrinkage or permanent recession", happened, Ukraine-like conflict might happen everywhere globally.

  5. Look at Meester Haynesville!

    North of 16 BCF per day. And just look at how it had a peak, went into decline (eliciting all the enthusiasm of the peakers) and then rebounded to confound them! Score board.

    Them's the cold hard facts. Sorry, math and all that.

    By the way, the US is doing north of 110 BCF/d total withdrawals of NG (excluding AK, which is reasonable given they basically pump it right back into the ground (no market, no transport, no flaring). This is on the order of 40 TCF/yr.

    If you look at Hubbert's 1956 peak oil paper: (page 22, bottom panel), he has US doing under 4 TCF/yr in 2022. In other words, we are doing 10 times his prediction. Also, we are at record levels. And he had predicted a peak and monotonic decline after 1974.

  6. Here is one of the peak gas guys. A Harvard physicist, dropped out of science at Cal Tech and moved to environmental law...and writing peak oil articles.

    He makes hay of a few month slowdown (weather/price related) and says that shale gas was peaked at ~45 dry BCF/d in 2015-2016.

    Turns out we are doing almost double that (~80 BCF/d, dry shale gas) right now.

    So much for the Hubbert Gaussian!

    I realize this guy passed away in 2022 (can find his obit on the web). But he was proved wrong several years ago...and no update over the years. Peak oil/gas seems very full of this sort of thing. It's almost like as creationism is to conservatives, so is peak oil to liberals. It's not even a point of analysis for them...more a point of religion. Science with a capital S.


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