3 Years of War in Donbass

I don’t follow many people on YouTube, since it’s not really my format, but EmperorTigerstar is one of the few people I make an exception for.

Not only has he mapped all the classics – WW2WW1Napoleonic Wars, history of Europe and the Roman Empire – but also plenty of relatively less well known conflicts  such as the Wars of German/Italian Unification, Balkan Wars, Chinese Civil War, and Rise/Fall of Assyria

Anatoly Karlin is a transhumanist interested in psychometrics, life extension, UBI, crypto/network states, X risks, and ushering in the Biosingularity.


Inventor of Idiot’s Limbo, the Katechon Hypothesis, and Elite Human Capital.


Apart from writing booksreviewstravel writing, and sundry blogging, I Tweet at @powerfultakes and run a Substack newsletter.


  1. With so many former chieftains and warlords being eliminated by Moscow within the ‘DNR’ and ‘LNR’, it’s a wonder that these outposts of the ‘Russian world’ have not shrank even more (thank god for Russian tanks, heavy artillery and advisors). From the video, it appears that these new ‘republics’ include about one-third of the contested territories. Perhaps, these two ‘republics’ should unite into one, and rename themselves ‘NovoRossiya’ and elect one new Party Secretary to run the whole show? Duplication of efforts has to be costly, as no doubt the Kremlin bean counters are aware…

  2. What a catastrophe. I would be better that the EU just force Ukraine to give Luhansk and Donetsk some face-saving new status and that would be that.

    How do “front lines” look here?

    It is a km of depth where roadblocks are erected, vehicles stopped for control and snipers are sitting in abandoned houses?

  3. In the first months of the war the front lines were poorly-defined, but for most of the conflict and to this day they’ve been very real, with roadblocks and a no man’s land which everyone there calls “neitralka” (from the word “neutral”). I’ve read of local civilians being able to go back and forth across the line, but I’m assuming that they have to present documents, have their cars searched, etc.

  4. E. Harding says

    Really shows you how desperate things got in August 2014.

  5. I doubt it was ever that bad in July and I wonder what his sources are.

    There seems to be 2 versions of what happened in July/August 2014.
    The official version seems to be that theATO was winning every battle and driving right through the rebels. Maps shown regularly on the BBC news site supported this version.
    The obvious conclusion was then made repeatedly – that the rebels could only have survived with massive support for tens of thousands of Russian serving troops (and therefore there is no need to produce satellite pictures of them!!!)

    At the time though there was an alternative version. That the Ukrainians were actually losing most of the battles. That they were becoming dangerously surrounded with only a narrow supply/escape route. That the Ukrainians had suffered very heavy losses of military vehicles. That they had all their forces stuck in a cauldron (kotler – I am not sure of the Russian, but a trap).

    There is a lot to support this version.
    The official western version is pretty much word for word the Kiev version and Kiev has a very inaccurate/dishonest record in truth telling.
    The BBC maps which were presented as being objective and neutral, by September carried attribution to the Kiev authorities – not really a surprise.
    Kiev’s military leaders ended with a bad rep for incompetence and brutality. Any retreating officer who did not immediately claim he had met overwhelming Russian troops might well have been executed. One can see easily how such forces with such leaders might easily fall into a trap.
    Minsk1 seems very clearly to be very favourable to the rebels and essentially a which Poroshenko was forced by the Europeans to accept in order to save many lives. (Ditto Minsk2)
    No one doubts that a few Russian experts were involved, but 100+ in one place would ha e been easy to find, photograph by satellite or journalist. (To the next western journalist who claims that although he couldn’t find Russians himself, but is sure they are there I say go ask the prostitutes. They can always tell you.

    Against this I can only find one argument. Strekov of has been widely criticised by rebels for retreating unnecessarily st one major battle. A cauldron trap theory would suggest that this was military genius, not cowardice. But perhaps Strelkov committed other sins, or perhaps the tactics were to be kept secret (and indeed the Ukrainians did seem to make the same mistake in Jsnuary).

  6. Philip Owen says

    Strelkov was supposed to bring 12,000 rifles with him from the arsenal. He didn’t. It was his main job at the time.

    “The BBC maps which were presented as being objective and neutral, by September carried attribution to the Kiev authorities – not really a surprise.” As you say yourself, the BBC maps indicated that they were from Kiev. I don’t think the Ukrainian army even lost that many fights before they stalled. A completely incompetent army simply advanced too far, too fast and ran out of fuel and other supplies. They probably did get to where they showed on the map. They then turned into sitting ducks. The 2nd Ukrainian advance on Debaltsevo was ignored by the irredentist media in favour of describing the fight at the airport.

  7. I had thought that Strelkov’s sin was retreating at Sloviank in July, not failing to get arms. But I don’t claim any great expertise. My problem with the maps is that they seem to show great gains by Kiev, but as we agreed these gains were not real. A narrow channel into the heart of Donbas would be realistic. The almost complete turn from yellow to blue is not.