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Moscow's Calling - 5

Two friends discussing the Ukraine stalemate

By Lana V LynxPublished about a year ago 6 min read
By Oleh Smal, Ukrainian cartoonist

This conversation happened on January 18, 2022.

“Hello, Donnie?”

“Hello, Vlad,” (sounding dry and unexcited), “What can I do for you?”

“Wow, Donnie, why so cold?”

“Well, you call me like once a year…”

“Not true, Donnie. We just talked like 10 days ago.”

“Yes, because I called you first for your Christmas.”

“C’mon, Donnie, are you really mad at me because I don’t call first?”

“Kinda, yeah.”

“But you know how busy I am, with everything going on in Ukraine and Kazakhstan. Besides, you can call me any time. I will always take your calls. You know that, we are friends. Friends can pick up the phone and call their friends at any time.”

“Well, if you say so. Although sometimes I feel like when I’m calling, you are not very happy to hear me, Vlad. Not very happy.”

“Come on, Donnie, I’m always happy to get your call. You don’t expect me to scream in excitement like a schoolgirl, do you?”

“Can you?”

“Can I what, Donnie?”

“Scream like a girl in excitement when I call?”

“No” (firmly).

“Well, it never hurts to ask, right?” (both chuckle). “Anyway, what’s up, Vlad? How’s your adventure in Kazakh land?”

“Well, the protests were calmed down and now my troops are coming back.”

“Yeah, I’ve seen that on TV. Many people were saying you’d never leave.”

“You of all people should know, Donnie, that many people are often wrong.”

“Yeah, I know. But still, it was kind of surprising.”


“Many people were saying that you’d grab this chance to take back the northern parts of Kazakh Stan that used to be Russia.”

“Again with ‘many people,’ Donnie. The troops were there for one reason only – to reestablish peace and order in the cities on fire, and after they were done they just went back home.”

“Really, that was their mission?”

“Of course. What else can there be?”

“Some people here were saying that strong leaders like you never leave once they set foot in another country. Like you never really left Syria.”

“Oh it’s ‘some people’ now, Donnie? Who are they exactly?”

“You know I’m not very good with names, Vlad. I’m good with ideas.”

“Sure, Donnie,” (snorts into his sleeve, mocking “good with ideas, ha-ha!”). So where do you think that idea of me not leaving Kazakhstan came from?”

“I don’t know, Vlad, I just heard it. I’m just telling as I heard it.”

“Alright, Donnie. I guess it’s not that bad, to keep my enemies guessing about what I’d do or won’t do.”

“So why did you withdraw your troops then?”

“Because I wanted the West to see that I can keep my word. I’d said the troops won’t stay there, and they left immediately after the situation was regulated. Also, I can’t keep my troops there when I need to keep my focus on Ukraine.”

“By the way, what is going on in Ukraine?”

“What do you mean? Nothing that I know of, at the moment.”

“I was told you started joint military exercises with Belarus and also had you jets fly over some Norwegian island?”

“Ah, that I did indeed. Except the island is Swedish. They can’t really expect me to do nothing while they are piling up their military equipment and troops in the Baltics and train the Ukrainian soldiers.”

“Who ‘they,’ Vlad?”

“The fucking NATO, Donnie, the organization that you were supposed to destroy for me.”

“And I did, as much as I could.”

“Yeah, obviously not enough. How come they are now stronger than ever, and sing the same song in unison: ‘If Russia invades Ukraine, we will respond appropriately!’ What do they even mean, ‘appropriately’? Are they going to start a war with Russia over the fucking Ukraine, a non-country that was always a part of Russia??”

“Are you going to invade Ukraine, Vlad?”

“I don’t know yet. But it’s kinda fun to explore my options and push the envelope, to do these military exercises and see how they react.”

“I see. Say, Vlad, I’ve heard somewhere recently that Finland used to be a part of Russia too.”

“You heard that right, Donnie. We still have a part of Finland called Karelia.”

“Oh yeah, so what happened with the rest of it?”

“It’s an independent country now.”

“So how come it got split?”

“Well, we had a short and brutal war to reannex Finland in 1938, right before the Second World War.”

“Interesting. Who won?”

“It was a tie” (menacingly).

“Really? I didn’t know a war could end in a tie.”

“Of course it can’t. We lost then, but got Karelia back after the war. That’s why ultimately it was a tie. We got even.”

“So why don’t you have the same claim to Finland as to Ukraine?”

“Are you kidding me, Donnie? Because Ukraine is a Slavic country, that’s where Russia started, we have deep ties with Ukraine, we are essentially one people. And Finland is an EU member, no one knows where the Finns came from and which group of languages Finnish belongs to. I doubt even the Finns know where they came from.”

“Oh wow, you are like a walking encyclopedia, Vlad! You know so much.”

“It’s nothing, Donnie, just the history of my country.”

“So are you going to invade Ukraine then, Vlad?”

“You know what? Every time I talk with you, I am more inclined to do so. If only I could get an insight into what kind of response it would entail.”

“Response? From whom?”

“Biden and NATO, Donnie, who else?”

“I can’t help you with that, Vlad. All I hear is that if you invade the response will be tough and appropriate.”

“That’s what I hear too. If only I could gauge what it means. Do you think it would be a military action?”

“I doubt it. My advisors tell me no one wants to have another war in Europe.”

“That’s what I’m thinking too. But then what can it be?”

“Well, they can cut you off from the SWIFT system, I heard that thrown around as an option.”

“Seriously? You think they can do that?”

“Well, the Dems seem to be determined.”

“That’s too bad. Worse than an open war.”

“Really? Why do you say so?”

“Because I won’t be able to use the western financial system to take the money out of Russia to my offshore accounts.”

“Oh, I see. That’s a serious problem.”

“It is indeed. So can you help me, Donnie?”

“To do what, Vlad?”

“Find out if they are seriously going to cut me off from SWIFT if I invade Ukraine.”

“Well, I can’t promise, Vlad, but I’ll try.”

“Would you, please, Donnie? I’d really appreciate it. I’ll call you in a couple of days for an answer.”

“Give me a week, Vlad.”

“I can’t, Donnie, I can’t stretch the military exercises with Belarus for a whole week as a distraction. I can’t fly my planes over the Gotland Island for a week either.”

“What? What were you doing?”

“Nothing, Donnie, nothing, don’t worry about this crap, it’s just a distraction to keep the west guessing about my intentions. I like playing that game with them. So, I’ll call you in a couple of days?”

“Alright, you can call but I may not have any answer for you by then. I’ll be happy to talk with you, though. It’s always great pleasure.”

“Please do your best, Donnie. I’ll rely on you.”

“OK, Vlad, let me work some contacts. Bye for now,” (happily hangs up first).

“Bye, Donnie.” After hanging up, “What a useless moron! I’m sure he has no contacts, such a waste of time. I don’t know why I keep talking to him.”


About the Creator

Lana V Lynx

Avid reader and occasional writer of satire and dystopia under a pen name of my favorite wild cat.

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