Russian War Crimes
040: History repeats itself in Eastern Europe
Just a head’s up that the global news section of today’s Arb Letter is extremely graphic and unsettling, covering uncomfortable topics and reviewing a very grisly piece of history. I advise skipping that section today if you are sensitive to gore or tragic events in general. I believe wholeheartedly that I have a duty as an influencer and writer to document the truth of the current conflict in Ukraine, even if that means sharing updates that the legacy media never would. It is crucial for historical/current perspective and conducive to objective decision making and opinion forming.
MARKETS & CRYPTO
U.S. stocks had a choppy Friday trading session as investors continued to think about the next potential policy moves by the US Federal Reserve, who seems to be reinvigorated recently with hawkish energy.
The European Union (E.U.) has banned the provision of high-value cryptocurrency services to Russia as part of the latest series of sanctions in response to Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Blockstream and Jack Dorsey’s Block, formerly known as Square, are starting a solar- and battery-powered bitcoin mine in Texas using solar and storage technology from Tesla.
Earnings season kicks off next week for several banks & financials, including JPMorgan, Goldman Sachs, BlackRock, and Citigroup
Tiger Global was among some of the worst performing hedge funds down nearly 34 per cent for the quarter. The Melvin Capital, Whale Rock and RiverPark’s Long/Short funds all saw drops of more than 20 per cent (Financial Times)
The top 10 per cent of hedge funds gained an average of 24.3 per cent in the first quarter, while the bottom decile dropped by 15.4 per cent, according to HFR, which tracks the sector (Financial Times).
"The market actually had to digest a lot of information — a lot of hawkish information from the Fed over the last couple of days. We had been in a sell-off mode. And I think [Thursday] we finally got a chance to take a breather and realize that the equity markets especially have some actual positive things that are going on,"
Kevin Nicholson, chief investment officer of global fixed income at RiverFront Investment Group (YahooFinance)
“I struggle to think of a quarter with more dispersion in quite a long time”
Michael Edwards, deputy chief investment officer of Weiss Multi-Strategy Advisers (Financial Times)
U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson reportedly in Ukrainian capital Kyiv for a surprise visit
Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, strongly condemned a missile strike on a train station in Kramatorsk that killed at least 50 people, including up to five children.
Shanghai carried out more rounds of mass COVID-19 testing on Saturday, testing residents at least twice in a single day as stay at home orders and limitations have decreased supplies of food and other essential goods for the city, as many supermarkets have been shut down along with food delivery couriers. Violence has broken out.
World War II was some of the most savage and raw fighting the world had and ever will see. Most people in the United States are familiar with the cliche and media covered WWII events like Pearl Harbor or D-Day. Some might even be familiar with the North African Campaign, Pacific theater, or the story behind Hitler’s Eagle Nest. But most are not familiar with the Russian campaign on the Eastern Front and the absolute carnage and massive loss of life that played out as the Germans pushed into Russia and were eventually pushed back to Berlin by Stalin’s barbaric hordes in 1945. Let me give you some perspective. It is estimated that out of the 70–85 million deaths attributed to World War II, around 30 million occurred on the Eastern Front, including nearly 9 million children.
“If we come to a minefield, our infantry attacks exactly as if it were not there.”
— Georgy Zhukov, Marshal of the Soviet Union
By this stage of the war, German soldiers had been guilty of sexual violence and other horrors in the Soviet Union for almost four years.
There were many villages and cities in Russia in which the Nazis had killed everyone, even small children and there was widespread evidence of rape.
As the Red Army advanced into what the Soviet press called "the lair of the fascist beast" in 1945 posters encouraged troops to show their anger: "Soldier: You are now on German soil. The hour of revenge has struck!" When the Russians moved in and eventually got to Berlin, what followed was hell on earth, including executions, mass rape, torture, and a vengeance fueled free for all against the German people. The number of civilian casualties in the Battle for Berlin is unknown, but 125,000 are estimated to have perished during the entire operation and occupation of the city. What was the scale of the rapes?
The most often quoted number is a staggering 100,000 women in Berlin and over two million in German territory (BBC). While these crimes aren’t unique to any war theater throughout history and Allied soldiers certainly committed similar crimes in the war, the scale, brutality and severity of the Russian actions in Germany stands out in history.
Now history again repeats itself, as Russian forces continue to terrorize Ukraine, a country that produced the most Soviet war heros. Putin himself has not shied away from comparing this conflict to World War II Nazi Aggression. Riddle me that? Their own blood, that has turned into a cultural foe due to Kremlin propoganda and a bit of Western support, is now the Nazi enemy. Russian armed forces have been escalating war crimes and atrocities in recent days. First, was the massacre in Bucha.
Associated Press journalists saw dozens of bodies in Bucha, including at least 13 in and around a building that local people said Russian troops used as a base. Three other bodies were found in a stairwell, and a group of six were burned together (AP) Then in the last two weeks, reports of sexual assault from human rights groups.
“A 14-year-old girl was raped by 5 occupying men. She is pregnant now. In Bucha,” wrote Lyudmyla Denisova, Ukraine’s ombudsperson for human rights, referring to the Kyiv suburb where Russian forces carried out horrific atrocities.
Reports indicate 4,000 civilians ave been killed in this conflict so far, with reports of the death toll in Mariupol alone at 5,000. To the north, Ukrainian authorities said the bodies of least 410 civilians have been found in towns around Kyiv, victims of what Zelenskyy has portrayed as a Russian campaign of murder, rape, dismemberment and torture (Time).
Have we as human learned nothing? It truly is difficult to find any sort of solace when you know things like this are transpiring in our world. Absolutely sickening. Question is, after defeating Nazism, and now accusing Ukrainians of being Nazis, who is the actual Nazi waging what appears to be an all out ethnic culture war?
I believe that the Ukraine conflict is an ethnic war. One of the primary goals of ethnic war is the destruction or deconstruction of culture, and not necessarily just the military defeat of the enemy’s army. The deconstruction of culture is achieved through injuring and destroying human beings.
Mia Bloom - Professor and International Security Fellow at New America, Georgia State University
*WARNING - HIGHLY GRAPHIC PHOTOS AHEAD
Do not continue if you’re unsure/sensitive to gore. This edition of Arb Letter has raw photographic evidence of Russian missile strikes on a Ukrainian Civilian Train Station. This is meant for educational purposes only and to document the reality of this conflict.
Five children were among at least 50 people killed when a missile hit Kramatorsk railway station on Friday. The US has also blamed Russia, saying it believes it used a short range ballistic missile. Russia has denied responsibility (The Guardian).
At least 87 people were wounded in the strike, said Pavlo Kyrylenko, the governor of Donetsk Oblast. Many lost limbs. Surgeons at the city’s hospital were struggling to cope, with numerous patients in a critical condition, Kyrylenko said.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who says he expects a tough global response, and other leaders accused Russia’s military of deliberately attacking the station. Russia, in turn, blamed Ukraine, saying it doesn’t use the kind of missile that hit the station — a contention experts dismissed. The scene was beyond grisly, and while I typically like to be thorough and investigate events before making a determination of what actually a happened this seems pretty clear cut. I will update accordingly.
*WARNING - GRAPHIC
Absolutely fucking Horrific. Seeing these photos upset me greatly, and to me it is now well obvious that Putin’s overall offensive strategy, as he has shown in previous theaters of war (Georgia, Chechnya) and now again in Ukraine, willfully employs wanton strikes against civilian targets. It will be interesting to see how the world chooses to react in the face of these blatant war crimes but I am of the opinion that the time may be fast approaching for us to show Putin some teeth.
Take this weekend to count your blessings and that you don’t live somewhere where this can happen and go largely unanswered for. Somber month for sure.
*DISCLAIMER - None of this is financial advice, it is important that you do your own research and make your own investment decisions. I am a 28 year old former trader and current sales/financial technology/brand building/e comm professional looking to succeed and navigate the world like anybody else. Because I have built such a massive digital network building Arbitrage Andy & Arb Letter, Arb Letter looks to leverage that information and sentiment for you to make informed decisions that cut through the noise and bias of modern media and news.