Most of the readers here know, at least peripherally, who Dmitry Tymchuk is. He’s Kyiv Post‘s military expert, a former soldier in an Army Air Defense unit in the mid to late 90’s, the National Guard until 2000 and in the Defense Ministry after that. Most recently, he has started up the Center of Military and Political Research in Kiev; he is what passes for a think tank in Ukraine. He writes a blog on military matters, regularly updated, in which he informs his Ukrainian “brothers and sisters” about the latest depredations of the Moskali scoundrels who are coming, any day now, to kill little Ilona and Stas and Maxim in their beds.
In fact, the Moskali invaded Ukraine just yesterday. Yes, sad to say, the fact is confirmed that a Russian military column broke through yesterday to Lugansk, to aid the beleaguered defenders of that city. Up to 40 of them are heavy armored vehicles, which customarily means tanks. How they managed to break through, considering the glorious Ukrainian army has Lugansk surrounded and controls all checkpoints, he is not able to say. This intelligence report is backed up by a photograph of some Russian armored units at the roadside – a truck and a pair of infantry vehicles – in Donetsk, Russia. There apparently are no photographs of the ones in Lugansk, so pictures of Russian army units in Russia are used instead. But we should not doubt Mr. Tymchuk, because this is confirmed. The Kyiv Post “has not independently verified his findings”, but will be quite happy to accept corrections just as soon as you send them photographs of a Russian armored column not in Lugansk.
If I could have a little sidebar with you for just a moment before we go on, I’d like to talk briefly about jobs in which the experts are full of shit. According to Cracked Magazine – admittedly, not the most reliable source, but I think as long as we’re talking Dmitry Tymchuk, reliability is not a deal-breaker – the 6 Most Statistically Full Of Shit Professions are, in ascending order;
6. Stock Market Experts. The majority of professionally managed funds picked by stock market experts (70 to 85 percent) actually underperform the Dow or S&P indexes, which are technically supposed to represent the average performance of the market to begin with.
5. Wine Tasters. In a university experiment, tasters were given two bottles of the same wine. One was labeled a “vin de table” (France’s version of “Night Train”) and one was labeled a “grand cru” (top-rated vineyard since 1855). According to the article: “Whereas the tasters found the wine from the first bottle ‘simple,’ ‘unbalanced,’ and ‘weak,’ they found the wine from the second ‘complex,’ ‘balanced,’ and ‘full.'”
4. Art Critics. My personal favourite. In 1964, Swedish art critics were fooled into praising the works of Pierre Brassau with descriptions like “Brassau paints with powerful strokes, but also with clear determination. His brush strokes twist with furious fastidiousness. Pierre is an artist who performs with the delicacy of a ballet dancer.”
“Pierre Brassau” was actually a chimpanzee. I totally believe that one, because I recall reading an article about a Jack Russell terrier named Tillamook Cheddar (“Tillie”, to her friends) who makes pieces of art by gnawing or clawing at impressionable surfaces such as carbon paper. She has sold more than a hundred paintings, some fetching (ha, ha; “fetching”, see what I did there?) up to $2,200.00. All I can say is, some people have way too much money and no sense whatsoever.
3. Criminal Profilers. I know on TV they always describe the killer right down to the mole on his left temple without ever seeing him, but life is not TV. FBI profilers hunting the Unabomber identified their suspect as a married man living in a house in the suburbs, most likely an airplane mechanic. He was finally arrested in 1996 at his remote cabin where he had been living as a wild-haired, crazy mountain man for 25 years. They were partly right – he was a man. But often criminal profilers have no better results than the Quilters Club of America using educated guesses and common sense.
2. Weather Forecasters. We all love to hate these doofuses (doofii?), especially when they predict great weather for the ball game or the wedding, and what you actually get is a flash flood. Some say they could not predict yesterday’s weather today. Although I have seen meteorological technicians at work, and know from personal observation that they do actually use maps and charts and pressure readings and suchlike, TV weatherguessers are actually right about the same percentage of the time as flipping a coin. You could meet or perhaps even beat their record in most climates without ever getting out of bed, by simply predicting “it won’t rain” every single day.
1. The most full-of-shit profession, at least in the view of this source, is Sportswriters. An actual semi-scientific study in 1971 of sportswriters’ ability to accurately call college and NFL games yielded a success rate of .476, which is statistically – you guessed it – slightly worse than flipping a coin.
Which brings us back to Dmitry Tymchuk. How full of shit is he? Well, let me tell you; if you took a weather forecaster, and stuffed him full of sportswriters until he couldn’t hold any more , the result would not be as full of shit as Tymchuk is.
Let’s look at some examples. I love this part, because Tymchuk is so delightfully daft, while so obviously blowing sunshine up the asses of his devoted fan club as if he were some sort of one-man nationalist wind tunnel, that you find yourself almost liking him, in the same way you might be abstractedly fond of a crazy uncle tied with a length of log chain to an old boiler in the back yard.
A few days ago, Tymchuk insisted the attack on a fleeing civilian convoy, which burned some people alive in their cars, was the work of the rebels . There must be some coordination between them and the townspeople, so that they can exit through rebel-held checkpoints, and it is a little difficult to imagine the rebels would do this and then open fire on them. But the militia are “rabid animals [that] can only be destroyed”, says Tymchuk, echoing his fearless leader Yatsenyuk, who previously referred to the east-Ukrainian Russian speakers as “subhumans” .
And this is a big part of the reason it is so important to Tymchuk that the Russian military be proven to be officially involved, in strength, in the insurgency in the east – or, better still, invading Ukraine. Because Igor Plotnitsky, insurgent leader in Lugansk, denies that Russia is involved in the insurgency, if it can be shown he lied about that, then it is easy to believe he is also lying when he says it was the Ukrainian army which shot up the convoy, even though the latter has established a reputation for shooting wildly at everything that moves. Some time back it was reported they had killed wounded militiamen in their hospital beds in Krasny Liman, after “liberating” the town. I doubt any depth of viciousness is beyond them. And Tymchuk attributes exactly the same debased callousness to the militia. Hopefully we will see who is right, but from what I have seen so far, the nutty ideologists are all on the same side.
In June, Dmitry Tymchuk said that Russian troops who remained in their own country – although they are near the sacred line known as “Ukraine’s border”, were “a global provocation”. Earlier that same month, U.S. President Barack Obama announced a $1 Billion “European Reassurance Initiative” which would bolster the presence of U.S. troops and fighter aircraft already in nearby countries such as Poland. Nobody remarked that it might be a global provocation. Like in “Animal Farm”, some animals are evidently more equal than others. Should anyone be confused as to who is the aggressor here, Mr, Tymchuk went on to compare Vladimir Putin unfavourably to Hitler, who was “a child” (albeit a somewhat husky child with extraordinarily developed facial hair) in comparison to Mr. Putin. Mr. Tymchuk noted the further buildup of Russian military heavy weapons in Snizhne – without providing any evidence at all, each of his “confirmations” is an article of faith – and noted that the GRAD systems used by the militia are “an ideal instrument for bloody provocations by insurgents. For them, murdering peaceful civilians and attributing victims to the ATO forces is commonplace. Alas.” It should be noted that these are different from the GRAD systems used by the Ukrainian army – glory to heroes! – in that the latter dispense clouds of flowers when they explode, and recoil in horror if they are directed in proximity to civilians, returning to their launcher with high-pitched yelps. You will be glad to know, though, that in June the Kiev government appointed a Commissioner to the President of Ukraine for the Peaceful Settlement of the Conflict in Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts, Iryna Gerashchenko. I hope they’re not paying her much, because she appears to be doing little to earn a salary.
Later that month he said that it was beyond belief that the acting Foreign Minister, Andriy (it’s very important to Ukrainians that their names be spelt slightly differently than the same names in Russian) Deshchitsiya had been forced to resign for being filmed chanting “Putin huylo” outside the Russian Embassy. According to Tymchuk, he was just “performing a couple of words from a popular song in a circle of friends” (I’m sure you spotted the resemblance to the whitewash Pussy Riot got), and his brave actions prevented further violence – why, the man should have been promoted! Tymchuk clearly sees nothing undignified or incorrect in this behavior by a senior member of the national executive. But they banned The Bloodhound Gang from Ukraine for 5 years just because their bass guitarist simulated urinating on the Ukrainian flag, and pretended to touch it with his friendly penis while singing a happy little ditty in the company of friends. Sometimes you just have to shake your head at the monstrous injustice.
Tymchuk argues that Deshchitsiya was actually in the right, because Putin is a huylo, a fact which has been verified by independent experts. I’m sure this is just his idea of humour.
Earlier this month, Tymchuk – growing steadily more clownlike in his buffoonery, insisted that Russia had shot down MH-17 with a BUK launcher driven through Ukraine by an all-Russian full-time crew. No word if there were any unicorns among them. They fucked up and launched their missile from the wrong place, which meant they also hit the wrong plane – they had planned to shoot down one of their own Aeroflot flights so as to justify the Russian invasion, planned for July 18th. This, of course, was “confirmed”.
Look, we could go on with this, because every one of his posts is filled with high-voltage nuttery (why, folks call him up and ask, Dmitry, is it time for me to grab the wife and kids and get out of here? I wonder why?) but it’s not as much fun as I thought it would be. It’s really…kind of sad. Like watching somebody lose their mind.
I really hope Ukraine loses this war. Not because I have anything in particular against Ukrainians, but because if they win, all this lunacy is going to be plowed over and covered up by its western pals. Including who shot down MH-17, and the war crimes perpetrated daily by the Ukrainian army against civilians. If they lose, there’s just a chance their western cheerleaders will throw them under the bus in an effort to disassociate themselves from implication. And since the convocation of the kangaroo government in Ukraine ushered in a new age of comfort with fascism, we can hope that defeat will also usher in acceptance of the punishment that accompanied its eventual failure.