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The War Before the War

Life along the dividing line between Donbas and Ukraine. Interviewed two days before Russia invaded.

There’s nothing one can do. I was born during the war in 1941 and probably I will die during the war. I wish it could be sooner.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • John Venlet April 20, 2022, 6:48 AM

    That old woman has more grit and realistic attitude than most. I pray that her death will be a natural death, rather than by barrel of a gun, or a lobbed shell.

  • Jack April 20, 2022, 6:57 AM

    Courage and acceptance of a thing, without anger, she knows she cannot change. I doubt you’d see much of that in Americans, blacks and women in particular, were they subject to the same conditions.

  • Mike Austin April 20, 2022, 7:42 AM

    “Only the dead have seen the end of war.”—Santayana

  • billrla April 20, 2022, 9:01 AM

    I can identify more with that woman than with those who walk their dogs on my own street in Los Angelesistan. In fact, my great grandparents came from what is now Ukraine, but was then, Russia and Galicia.

  • James ONeil April 20, 2022, 9:36 AM

    If our beloved leaders have there way, soon coming to a neighborhood near us, as well as the other three horsemen.

  • Casey Klahn April 20, 2022, 11:32 AM

    I was composing a Wikipedia style history of the Russia-Ukraine War in my head, and wondering if the ones we do read in the future will start in 2013 or 2022. This Babushka wants you to know she’s already in a war. I must admit the take-over of the Crimea and the Donbas region was textbook perfect.

    Can’t say the same for the Rooskies now. An historic example of corruption and mismanagement of a war. As a former army officer, I cringe at the incompetence and outright stupidity I observe coming out of the Russian armed forces. This 50 plus day current battle is an epic-level failure, so far, for Ivan. I am more interested in this observation than even in the politics of whose right and whose wrong.

    Gene Hackman in The Unforgiven, when someone claims innocence: “Innocent of what?” No one is righteous in this war. If I read the phrase: “Russia’s security needs on its border with NATO” one more time, I’m going up on the roof with a .44. That is absurdist.

    Anyway…calming down. I want to write a brief on 5th GEN Conlict and it hasn’t got a side in this dog and pony war in Ukraine. It might interest you, the citizen living in your private abode. Tolstoy said you may not be interested in war, but it is interested in you. If I’m not mistaken, I think he was writing this after The Crimean War. Quote one of my drill sergeants from 1976 (fresh from Vietnam) “War is hell, but actual combat is a mother fucker!”

    I’ll be sighting in my new Mike One Alpha, after a mandatory cooling off period of 12 days. Funny, I wasn’t angry when I bought it, but the 12 days do get on your nerves, don’t they? Any suggestions of how to PBZ with the absolute minimum of ammunition (three oh eight)? Gone is the luxury of shooting box after box. I made the acquisition on Patriot’s Day, which is a sacred day for national guard veterans. Enough said.

    • Marvin April 20, 2022, 2:11 PM

      re: sighting in your new .308.
      You can do it with only 2 or 3 rounds. You need an absolutely solid way to clamp the weapon to a heavy object (large table, workbench, big heavy picnic table, etc.) Clamp the gun so it will not move due to recoil when you fire the gun. Use a large piece of paper or cardboard as a target and fire one round at it. DO NOT MOVE THE GUN. Wherever the first shot hits on the paper, adjust your optics so they are zeroed at the hole the first round made. Then fire another round to double-check that your optic is sighted in at the same place and you’re finished calibrating with only two rounds. Both holes in the paper should be within one MOA of each other. A third might be good to double check your work but is technically unnecessary. Stability and solidity of the base and clamping method is the key here. The gun must not move during the first shot. Be creative. Use woodworkers clamps with good padding, or a vise mounted to a heavy table, etc. Any movement during the first shot nullifies the whole process.

      • ghostsniper April 20, 2022, 5:37 PM

        In theory I agree.
        The trick is in the DO NOT MOVE THE GUN part.
        How is that possible?
        I have a heavy Caldwell sled and even clamped down with a ratchet strap my 223 still jumps a little.

        I used one of these, cept in 223, and zero’d my hard sights on it.


        Then I took the gun to the neighbors range and was stunned to see the bullet hit right where it was supposed to. It was a brand new gun build, never fired before.

        Casey, I can vouch for the quality of the device in the link as I have purchased and used 2 of them. Make sure to take the batts out after you’re done.

      • Jack April 21, 2022, 6:54 AM

        That’s the way you do it in a perfect world but I’ve never been there. With a new rifle and a standard rifle scope I’ll shoot it 3-4x to dirty the barrel and then I’ll barrel sight it at 25 yards to get it on paper, adjust the optics and fire a round. If I’m in the bull I’ll move the target to 100 yards and shoot again. Typically the 2nd shot will be low but wherever that 2nd round hits, I’ll measure the distance (and I usually use a ruler) and then adjust the windage and elevation. It may take a few more shots to get it to hit where you want but in the end, like Jack O’Connor recommended, I’ll try to put that round 3″ high at 100 yards.

      • gwbnyc April 21, 2022, 7:35 AM

        return to aim point, then zero to where the shot landed.

        I called this the “hasty zero”, served my purposes for several decades.

        • Casey Klahn April 21, 2022, 10:57 PM


    • ghostsniper April 20, 2022, 5:39 PM

      What’s this 12 day business? A waiting period? Is this a Washington thing?
      I have a permit and get the gun on the spot. As it should be, unless ruled by criminals.

      • Dirk April 20, 2022, 8:31 PM

        Wash, Ore and Calif, are all communist. I’m often amused when I here the words Democratic Socialist. Boys and girls of the DS party, you nothing more then a scum bag communist.

        Oddly enough every time the conversations over. They look at me like I got a dick growing outta my forehead. Those are proud moments for me!

        • Vanderleun April 20, 2022, 9:07 PM

          They’re proud moments because even though, as your friends and family know well, you are a dickhead, you also have what the girls and the boys lack. Balls.

          • Dirk April 21, 2022, 7:43 AM

            I view it as just being honest. When one frames those words, into what they really are, people seem to be kinda shocked. Calling another a communist public, tends to make their truth painful.

            Most real Americans don’t want to be thought of as Communists.

  • KCK April 20, 2022, 10:33 PM

    Re: the 3 round point blank zero. I’m a sharpshooter and my shooting bench is, like, the world’s best bench. I can tolerate a normal bench rest firing. Also, this is going to be with the ghost sight. 2 dials, that’s it. If my eyesight is old-timer enough, I will get a reflex sight in 1x. A combat gun is not for LR shooting, and I have that spec covered with my deer rifle.

    On another gun note, I have some legal questions for a lawyer type. If that is you, I will give you my email. Thanks ahead of time.

    • ghostsniper April 21, 2022, 4:19 AM

      Don’t shoot nobody if you don’t have to but if you do, do it good.
      Did I put enough double negatives in there?

      • gwbnyc April 21, 2022, 7:41 AM

        a police chief once told my brother, “if you drop him in your driveway drag him over your doorstep and make sure there’s only one side to the story.” then he asked if he needed a clean pistol.

      • KCK April 21, 2022, 8:36 AM

        John Wayne: “I never shot anybody that didn’t need shooting!”

  • King Coal April 22, 2022, 9:00 PM

    The coal bucket. The evil coal bucket full of dirty filthy black carbon. The truth is nothing is more efficient and simply sustainable way to heat. I know. Because I buy less than a ton from King Coal to heat all winter. Morso 1410 squirrel controls the process. The coal bucket is why I’d believe everything that lovely old lady had to say was truth.