By Nicky Reid aka Comrade Hermit
Exile in Happy Valley
Where is the sun? Have we been marching through this darkness forever? It’s barely December but it already feels like the longest winter in recent memory. In fact, it feels like last winter never really ended. That was when Putin’s army foolishly goosestepped into a NATO-baited trap in Ukraine and then proceeded to ruthlessly attempt to kill their way out of their own imperial hubris. That was nine months ago but it feels a lot more like nine years. Nine years of indiscriminate carpet bombing and bottomless mass graves. Nine years of crippling economic terrorism and recession inducing embargoes. Nine years of collapsing empires collapsing the world for the egos of delusional old men who should have died and gone to hell decades ago. Nine years of a pointless death march to a third world war that can only end in thermonuclear oblivion. Nine goddamn years of winter darkness with no sign of light in sight.
During this darkness the only thing that has become frighteningly clear is that there are no more good guys left alive in this fight. No heroes to give this endless graveyard some assemblance of meaning. Just thieves and killers and their victims piling up between them. Vladimir Putin has made this painfully clear by checking off every box in the neocon guide to imperial lunacy and Volodymyr Zelensky has made this even more painfully clear as that so-called beacon of democracy has used the NATO provoked invasion of his country as an excuse to rule it like Putin’s Russia. Whatever heroes that might have once existed on this battlefield are all dead now. The Donbass rebels and Kharkiv partisans who both bravely sacrificed themselves to kick some marauding army of assholes off their lawn have been replaced by two armies of conscripted slaves.
Your average Russian invader is a mirror image of your average Ukrainian Nazi. Just some poor 19-year-old kid who should be getting stoned and laid back in the sleepy ruins of an abandoned factory town he never stepped two feet from before a cigar chomping monster with brass stars on his shoulders sent him to kill some other poor 19-year-old kid he’d probably much rather split a spliff with than blow away. All so two crypts of ancient oligarchs can sell missiles and prove that their dicks can still get hard like the bad old days. World war three is nothing but Viagra for the monied predator class and apparently it takes an entire generation of shredded corpse meat to get those rapists off.
In a nine-month long season like this hope becomes as rare as sunlight but strange things have been unfolding over the last few weeks that could tempt even the most suicidal of pessimists to pull that cocked revolver from their mouth. In fact, if you study the ruins of Kherson with just the right set of eyes at just the right time of night, you might just be able to spot a fleeting ray of sunlight threatening to warm the frozen horizon. I myself had no choice but to drop my loaded Nagant as I reached for my dusty old pair of binoculars this November while a curious series of events unfolded like a holiday miracle on ice.
On November 6th, news hit my dark corner of the net that after months of virtual radio silence National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan had made contact with Putin’s Foreign Policy Advisor Yuri Ushakov and Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev. This news was followed shortly by word that Sullivan had also been privately pushing Volodymyr Zelensky to drop his refusal to even engage in peace talks before a mythical regime change in Moscow took place.