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Russian wife to soldier husband: If you rape any Ukrainian women, make sure to use contraception

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I’ve gone back and forth and back again on whether to take this at face value after listening to the audio of the phone call, which Ukrainian intelligence claims to have intercepted. It could be a very, very dark joke; the woman giggles during part of it. Maybe she heard the rumors that Russian troops are raping Ukrainians and, disbelieving them, teased her husband about it. It’s possible.

Although I don’t imagine there are many American women married to servicemen prone to joking with their husbands to be careful while they’re off raping the locals.

The other possibility is that Ukraine and its inhabitants have been so thoroughly dehumanized in Russian media that the wife’s point was made semi-seriously. I.e. “do what you’ve got to do to subdue the Ukrainian Nazi savages but spare me the details.”

Would anyone put anything past these people at this point?

“So yeah, do it over there … Ukrainian women there. Rape them, yeah,” the woman is heard saying, the Daily Mail reported.

“Don’t tell me anything, understand!?” she adds, laughingly.

“Uh-huh. So I should rape and not tell you anything,” the hubby inquires, clarifying that she was giving him the green light.

“Yes, so that I wouldn’t know anything. Why do you ask?” the woman says.

“Can I really?” he asks again, incredulously.

“Yeah, I allow you — just use protection,” she tells him with a giggle.

I’m leaning 80/20 that it’s a joke. Russian women can’t possibly be this depraved, even if their husbands are. But lest you assume it’s just Ukrainian propaganda, Radio Free Europe dug into it and claims to have tracked down the two people on the call. They really are a Russian soldier and his wife, not actors. The intercepts Ukrainian intelligence keeps posting to YouTube and other social media platforms may well be authentic, in other words.

Is this one a joke too?

Whether the call between husband and wife was a joke or not, rapes by Russian troops are happening and will certainly keep happening. They may even increase going forward now that Russia has been humiliated and is seeking to ramp up the cruelty to reestablish its dominance over Ukraine.

There’s a more consequential unconfirmed report circulating this afternoon than the phone call above. Is Putin about to go all-in?

How excited do you think Russian families will be to send their barely trained conscript sons off to the meat grinder in Ukraine, particularly after Putin promised them no conscripts would be sent to war?

The lunatics on state media sounded ready for total mobilization after the sinking of the Moskva in the clip I posted earlier. According to one former Russian MP, just 58 members of the 510-man crew were rescued. I suspect part of the reason Russia’s pride has been so wounded by the attack is that, until yesterday, it was possible for them to believe the war was going well and that victory is inevitable. That’s what the “news” has been telling them, after all. The Moskva’s demise and the embarrassingly flimsy Kremlin spin to explain (it was a fire aboard that supposedly caused it) may have shattered Russian illusions about the state of battle and spooked them into wondering whether the rumors they keep hearing from abroad, that Ukraine is doing better than expected, might be true after all.

So now they’re scrambling to save face. One way to do that is to insist that this is a war between Russia and NATO, not a war between Russia and Ukraine:

Tom Nichols has made the point repeatedly that Putin may ultimately prefer to face NATO on the battlefield since there’s less shame in losing to a peer than there is in losing to smaller country that’s supposed to be a pushover. If you’re going to get knocked out, you’d rather be knocked out by Mike Tyson than by Mike Tyson’s 10-year-old daughter.

Other Russian hosts are coping by engaging in a bit of light eliminationism towards Ukraine…

…or by fantasizing about turning Mariupol into a big gulag replete with hard labor for “scumbag” Ukrainian POWs:

Could a young woman who watches garbage like that every night ultimately be convinced that Ukrainians are so loathsome that their women deserve to be raped, to the point where she’d encourage her husband to do so?

No one would rule it out, would they? No one would rule out anything at this stage.

By the way, the Ukrainians are also using some ugly tactics to try to turn opinion in Russia against Putin. I realize that the point of this operation isn’t gratuitous cruelty but rather to convince worried Russian parents that the war is a horror and should end immediately, but the thought of a mother opening her email to find a photo of her dead son’s discolored face is unspeakable. They should stop, not only out of decency but because it’s destined to convince some Russians that the Ukrainians are as heartless as the Kremlin keeps saying.

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