“On the Fundamentals of National Resistance” – TTG

Information operations partisan style – poster declaring “Get ready! We know all your patrol routes! Kherson – it’s Ukraine!”

By ten-forty-five it was all over. The town was occupied, the defenders defeated, and the war finished. The invader had prepared for this campaign as carefully as he had for larger ones. On this Sunday morning the postman and the policeman had gone fishing in the boat of Mr Corell, the popular storekeeper. He had lent them his trim sail-boat for the day. The postman and the policeman were several miles at sea when they saw the small, dark transport, loaded with soldiers, go quietly past them. As officials of the town, this was definitely their business, and these two put about, but of course the battalion was in possession by the time they could make port. The policeman and the postman could not even get into their own offices in the Town Hall, and when they insisted on their rights they were taken prisoners of war and locked up in the town jail. 

The local troops, all twelve of them, had been away, too, on this Sunday morning, for Mr. Corell, the popular storekeeper, had donated lunch, targets, cartridges, and prizes for a shooting competition to take place six miles back in the hills, in a lovely glade Mr. Corell owned. The local troops, big, loose-hung boys, heard the planes and in the distance saw the parachutes, and they came back to town at double-quick step. When they arrived, the invader had flanked the road with machine-guns. The loose-hung soldiers, having very little experience in war and none at all in defeat, opened fire with their rifles. The machine-guns clattered for a moment and six of the soldiers became dead riddled bundles, and three half-dead riddled bundles, and three of the soldiers escaped into the hills with their rifles. 

By ten-thirty the brass band of the invader was playing beautiful and sentimental music in the town square while the townsmen, their mouths a little open and their eyes astonished, stood about listening to the music and staring at the grey-helmeted men who carried sub-machine-guns in their arms. 



Comment: Thus begins John Steinbeck’s “The Moon Is Down,” his famous tale of occupation and resistance. I read this book the Summer before starting high school. It was assigned reading by the Jesuits of Fairfield Prep. I don’t know why other than that it is a literary classic. Maybe it was a precursor to their flirtation with liberation theology. I already knew about partisan resistance from my family’s stories. I would visit the topic again later in my career.

The concept of national resistance is enshrined in Ukrainian law. In addition to the regular active armed forces, there are several categories of reservists and the Territorial Defense Forces. Civilian partisan resistance is to be in addition to these forces. Ukraine was under no illusion that their forces were strong enough to prevent an invasion and ensuing occupation. The task of continuing national resistance on occupied Ukrainian territory fell to Ukraine’s special operations forces. They conducted rudimentary resistance training in peacetime and now organize and lead partisan forces in war. That’s were we are now. It doesn’t happen overnight. It develops over time. Over months and years. Over forty years ago I wrote of the development of the Lithuanian resistance to Soviet occupation. I linked to that article if anyone is interested. We are just now beginning to see the effects of organized partisan resistance in the areas occupied by Russia.

Southern Ukraine is becoming a hotbed for such activity. The photo above  is of a poster warning the occupiers of their fate… having one’s throat slit by a Ukrainian babushka. IO is an important element in partisan warfare. It always has been and forever will be. As one reporter noted, “It’s an increasingly rough business being a Russian occupier in Ukraine where the locals want them dead. Kherson partisans have taken out around 300 Russians, mostly at night with small arms, knives and poison.” Other notices posted on telephone poles and building walls in Kherson have appeared, saying “Russian occupiers and everyone who supports them. We are close, already operating in Kherson. Death awaits you all! Kherson is Ukraine.” 

The mayor of neighboring Melitopol, Ivan Fedoriv, claims at least a hundred Russian soldiers and Rosgvardia police were killed in night ambushes. In late March, Valery Kuleshov, a pro-Russian blogger living in Kherson, an alleged collaborator with the occupying forces, was shot dead in his car in a gangland-style assassination. Pavlo Slobodchikov, an alleged collaborator, was gunned down in his vehicle two days later. A few days ago, “Russians discovered two bodies in the morning hours in the area of house No. 52 on Heroes of Ukraine Street in Melitopol, a hotbed of Ukrainian resistance. The deceased were two high ranking Russians who met a timely end at the hands of local partisans.” When asked how the two Russians died, the reporter answered, “It wasn’t instantaneous, from what I understood.”

A high profile act of sabotage occurred on 18 May as reported by the online “Mirror Weekly” out of Kyiv. Some reported the act was carried out by special operations commandos, other said it was local partisans. Given Ukraine’s defense laws and strategy, it was probably a raiding party consisting of both.

In the occupied Melitopol near the meat-packing plant on Wednesday, a remote detonation of an armored train of the Russian occupiers was carried out, the Zaporizhia Region Defense Headquarters said. Closer to noon, information about the sounds of an explosion and a shooting came from Melitopol. As it became known later, the armored train of the occupiers exploded while moving on an explosive set on rails.

“The train consists of 10 cars, the blast was carried out under a car with personnel. According to the results of the explosion, two railway tracks were damaged, the armored train was stopped, and a locomotive with 10 fuel tanks, which was following the armored train, was also stopped, ”the headquarters said. There was also a shootout in the city after the explosion. We will remind that in the end of April in the Zaporizhia region near Melitopol the railway bridge leading to the Crimea was destroyed. Later, the Armed Forces confirmed the sabotage against the enemy.


Even in the cities of Luhansk and Donetsk, the locals are becoming fed up with their Russian benefactors. Wives and relatives of those forcibly conscripted by Russian and local authorities are protesting the lack of medical care and compensation of the wounded conscripts and are demanding the return of those not yet dead or wounded. Protests have numbered up to 700 participants lately. Acts of sabotage far beyond just hiding those of draft age are bound to begin even in the heart of the DNR and LNR.

The Russians have a lot more to worry about than the steady flow of Western weapons and aid and the still mobilizing, equipping and training Ukrainian reserves. It’s going to be a long, hot Summer followed by another cold, miserable Winter. The partisans will see to that.




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39 Responses to “On the Fundamentals of National Resistance” – TTG

  1. Fred says:

    “It’s going to be a long, hot Summer followed by another cold, miserable Winter. ”

    So those stories of the Russians being shattered with huge losses in combat forces, ‘a rotten wall’ ready to fall over with a good shove, turn out not to be entirely accurate? But, may I ask a question I am sure is of trivial importance? Who is going to pay to run the Ukrainian government and subsidize the Ukrainian economy during this “long, hot Summer” and “another cold, miserable Winter”? Who will be paying those bills next year, and the year after?

    • TTG says:


      If the Russians dig in and go over to pure defense, they’ll be a lot harder to dislodge even with their heavy losses. But they’ll still have to keep their supply line running. A raging artillery war along with increased partisan activity will continue to grind away at the mighty Russian war machine now hampered by Western sanctions and their own internal sabotage. Nothing could help them more than a frozen conflict.

      Who’s going to pay for all this? I don’t know. I haven’t the slightest idea how this national and international world of high finance works. But I’m willing to bet that the world economy is going to look a lot different a year from now. And i don’t think the Davos crowd is going to like it.

      • tpcelt says:

        You do know. It will be the US. Once again.

        • Sam says:

          “You do know. It will be the US. Once again.”

          To be more specific future generations of Americans. In DC no spending is too much because it is all borrowed from our great-grand-children. Trillions were spent in the boondoggles in Afghanistan, Iraq, and the bailouts of Wall St financial speculation. Of course it is no different everywhere else in the world, where current generations are pulling forward a standard of living that does not match their productivity.

          After the war is over and the reconstruction begins we’ll see the harsh terms that the west will extract. Who knows maybe the Saudis and the CCP will provide beguiling terms?

          • blue peacock says:

            Add in the trillions spent on the covid “emergency” aka hysteria. The price tag of spending by the federal government has notched up an order of magnitude these days. Now spending packages are in the trillions, no longer billions.

            They locked down, then sent trillions to Big Pharma and other Big Businesses while each citizen got a measly $600 check and kicked small businesses and the working class in the ass. We’re living in an age of unprecedented kleptocracy and consolidation of economic & political power by the ruling elites. The financial bill sent to future generations.

      • Fred says:


        “Who’s going to pay for all this? I don’t know. ”

        Please don’t insult my intelligence.

    • Is there not a bill going through Congress now to make a payment?

  2. Terry wando says:

    Resistance Circa 1983 will make sure you end up in Valhalla…..as always

  3. Babeltuap says:

    Yeah, I have no skin in this game but it does appear Russia’s economy is getting stronger. Even McDonald’s found a buyer for their Russian restaurants. They will remain open and be rebranded.

    I would however like to see some of those beautiful Russian stolen yachts. There has to be an interests in making some coin with tours and even cruises in US harbors. On the otherhand with the homeless drug addict crisis they would probably board and squat ruining the entire enterprise.

    • blue peacock says:

      “…it does appear Russia’s economy is getting stronger. ”

      I suppose for a person with a hammer everything is a nail.

    • James says:

      McDonalds in Russia always struck me as weird. They seemed to have a virtual monopoly on western fast food in the country (ie no KFC, no Pizza Hut, etc) … essentially no competitors at all. I always assumed they had a very powerful “roof” – maybe the FSB.

      (Yes I did occasionally see an exception like the Sbarro next to Red Square, but always in trace amounts.)

    • Harry says:

      The Russian economy is not getting stronger. They will go through a very tough 6 months. However, as for whether the Ru didnt think to build up supplies of everthing they would need to weather a prolonged sanctions regime, well…I have never known them to be idiots. Perhaps, because Putin felt obliged to keep this all quiet, there is a serious error in ensuring procurement robustness. But the odds that they dont have 95% of everything they need to prosecute this war seems limited to me.

  4. Leith says:

    I’m reminded of that video in early March showing a young girl in a car tossing a Molotov Cocktail at a Russian armored personnel carrier.

    You have to also wonder about whether it is Ukrainians in Russia starting suspicious fires hundreds or even thousands of miles from the Ukro/Russky border? Or firebombing Russian Army recruitment centers? Although the latter may well be Russian minorities punctuating their dissent.

    s it

    • fredw says:


      I remember that video of the girls hurling Molotov cocktails. That struck me as a perfect way to provoke war crimes by making the troops afraid of everybody. It doesn’t take much to set the mood. I remember the sorts of stories that circulated in Vietnam. Those rumors (most very implausible) created a mindset that saw everybody not American as a threat. Inevitably innocent people were going to die at the hands of terrified GIs. Guilty people could be expected to be more cautious and to keep themselves less exposed. The Taliban cranked up the pressure with their green-on-blue attacks. To avoid being involved in mass murder requires serious and sustained leadership attention. I don’t think the Russians have set about murder as a policy. Things could be much worse if they did. But they don’t seem to care either, and they certainly don’t seem to have reserves of competent leadership to expend on the issue.

      • TTG says:


        The whole point of partisan resistance is to make the invader feel unwanted and hunted. And it does inevitably exact a cost on both the partisans and the population. The alternative is to passively acquiesce to the demands of the invader, even if it means acquiescence to the rape, torture and slaughter of one’s family and neighbors. Either way, it gets ugly.

        Given the scale of war crimes in Bucha and surrounding areas, I’m not convinced that murder and brutality was not official Russian policy. Maybe it was just depravity in a few Russian units. Maybe it’s the entire Russian military that’s depraved. I do find it hard to believe that this could be a Russian cultural trait. If I believed that, it could become an excuse for the commission of war crimes against the Russian people. And the cycle would continue.

  5. Jovan P says:

    The Russians, if smart, will have no choice but to invest a lot of money in the infrastructure/business/pensions on the territories of Ukraine they take. They already somewhat did that in Crimea. That will cripple any potential partisan movement, due to lack alternative on the side of the Ukraine regime (lack of possible answer to Fred’s question on who will pay, when obviously nobody will want to).

    OTOH the Russians will have to take very seriously not only partisan movements, but any serious discontent. And that’s due to the fact that this avoidable and tragic conflict took the lives of tens of thousands Ukrainian fathers and sons.

  6. ked says:

    A united peoples self-determination movement is something to behold. Powerful, relentless, patient. Quants don’t quite get it (granted, it’s hard to get) – it’s a quality thing that comes from a collective soul, from way back. While observers deconstruct, calculate and predict, those people act out their passion for liberty. They do so irrespective of the flow of events – yes, even the outcome.
    There are great expressions in literature. Allow me to suggest a memoir of history I recently revisited, finding it apropos (like Steinbeck’s – thx). Jan Karski’s “Story of a Secret State…”.

    • English Outsider says:

      The “passion for liberty” exists on both sides of the Ukrainian civil war. Though for those in the Donbas who were ethnic Russians it has been no more than a passion for survival.

      Since February of this year we have been invited to share this fictional fantasy that Ukraine is a normal country brutally and for no reason invaded by a larger. It is in no sense a normal country as far as the regime in Kiev goes. It was indeed invaded but not for no reason. It was invaded as the only means of saving the people of the Donbas from further savagery.

      It really is impossible not to object to the romanticising of our proxies one sees in so much of the media. Is this man lying?


      Are the similar reports coming out now in great numbers about the true nature of the Kiev regime all fabricated propaganda?


      Is this invented?


      One need be no Russophile or Putinversteher to find what was attempted to be done and what was done to the people of the Donbas repulsive. That is no normal government in Kiev and it has proved again and again it is not fit to rule the Donbas. Take the Russians on fair and square, if that is truly the will of the democracies of the West, but let us not do it through such proxies as these.

      • Leith says:

        EO –

        Ukrainian resistance is not a proxy of the west. They are fighting invaders. They would fight back with or without help. They did it before. It took Stalin and his heirs 15 years from 1945 to 1960 to brutally crush Ukrainian partisans who wanted no part of being a colony of the Kremlin. They have a long memory and know what will happen to them if Putin is successful. Prior to that they fought for centuries against Imperial Russia, Poland, and the Ottomans.

        Why should they bow their heads to Putin and let him steal their country. Putin’s excuse about the Donbas is pure BS. It is the same tired old absurd malarkey that Hitler used for his far-fetched “rescue” of the Sudeten Germans in the invaded Czechoslovakia. It appears Neville Chamberlain’s Munich Betrayal is alive and well 80 plus years later.

        PS – You forgot to mention the torture and murder of ethnic Ukrainians in the Donbas by the LNR and DNR and their Russian “volunteers”.

        • English Outsider says:

          Trouble is, Leith, the ethnic Russians of the Donbas know all too well what’ll happen to them if the Kiev forces get in among them. What’s been happening for the last eight years but worse.

          That’s why the Russians invaded.

          Bur matters have now moved on from examining the rights and wrongs of it. Don’t know what it’s like in your country but here, as far as I can see, we’re all neocons now and that’s that. We’re at war with Russia and will harm it if we can.

          A convenient war, as safely remote from the most of us as a video game. We can fly our blue and yellow flags on our churches and yell slogans at the enemy. We get all the excitement and war fever just like the real thing; while our proxies do the dying for us and we encourage them to do more.

          I think Fred above sums that up:- “I prefer an honest declaration of war than a neocon expansion of a not very covert entry into one.”.

          That’s the dishonour of this war, Leith. We have used others to do our fighting for us knowing, too, that we’re not going to back them up when it comes to it. That’s what’s happening at the moment and we salve our consciences by belatedly sending help we know is too little too late.

          So an unjust war, a dishonourable, and an unwinnable. Out of it we’ll get a recession that could well break Europe apart and won’t do your country much good either. Swan song of the neocons? Doubt it, but certainly one of their more impressive performances.

          • Pat Lang says:

            OK. You are an undisguised Russian partisan. You are finished here. I do not harbor those who think international aggression is a good thing. Goodbye.

      • ked says:

        sure. but in Putin’s Russia, that Passion for Liberty can get you thrown out of the window of an apartment bldg, shot on the street, or maybe a nice Polonium Salad.

  7. mcohen says:

    The resistance is the way to go.Now that the steel works is over and has left a bitter taste of betrayal which will turn the tide in the south.
    No doubt russia will withdraw by end June having accomplished a difficult campaign under duress

  8. Lars says:

    From accounts by many who know a lot more about war fighting than I do, it appears that Russia rather quickly got themselves between a rock and a hard place. I am just a retired builder, but one thing I learned over the years, is that if things go off the rails, it is almost impossible to put it back on them and again, there are credible reports that Russia is having a hard time changing course.

    Regarding their economy that has never been all that robust, they have taken some extreme measures to prop it up, but those will not fix their long term problems and things will continue to deteriorate. There are some reports in Swedish media that some of the elite in Russia are starting to fear that they will again be on the wrong side of an Iron Curtain, fully aware how that ended the last time.

    The reality is that neither Ukraine, nor NATO can afford to let Russia win anything, or they will have to continue to fight them here and there. There may be a cease fire, but that will not stop partisans from continuing their resistance. I realize the dilemma Russia faces, since if they are seen as losing, there will be an internal upheaval, or if there is a stalemate with continued losses for life and treasury, they may also get that.

    The old methods of information control no longer works and is probably the biggest threat to the current government. I am a firm believer in tipping points and when that is reached, and I expect that it will, a lot of things in Russia will expire, blow up and cause disruption. It will be very hard to continue a military campaign under those circumstances, or much else.

    There has been some suggestions to create an off ramp for Putin, but with the war crimes, that will be a hard slog. Russia is increasingly cut off from the rest of the world and even those who would like to deal with them are wary, since they do not want to get any Russian contagion. This may end up being the biggest mistake ever made by a nation since Japan and Germany tried it and we know how that ended up.

    • Barbara Ann says:


      “This may end up being the biggest mistake ever made by a nation since Japan and Germany tried it and we know how that ended up”

      I fear so. TPTB want Russia utterly subjugated. If Russia loses this war (not just the SMO, but the wider one with the West) it would surprise me if Russia is not ultimately Balkanized and permanently broken up. Putin got Russia back on her feet after 1991 and you can be darn sure The Victors will not leave any possibility of a recovery next time. If Russia wasn’t in an existential war before February 24th she sure is now.

  9. Al says:

    Lars, well stated.
    Inflation in Russia is hitting hard.

    • Philip Owen says:

      And it’s not even begun yet. Egg shortage first, then chickens then milk. A year for pork to run out. No glasshouse veg next year either.

  10. Al says:

    Did you also read Steinbeck’s Once There Was a War?
    His collection of WWII dispatches from his close contacts with USA soldiers.

    Steinbeck has been my fav writer since Grapes of Wrath and East of Eden grabbed my attention 50+ yrs ago.

    • TTG says:


      I haven’t read that. Nor have I read his “A Russian Journal.” Thanks for the tip. I’m going to hit the library soon in search of both. I want to compare Steinbeck’s story of the troop ship with my father’s tales of troop ships. He had to make sergeant twice in the USMC because his still blew up on one crossing. My parish priest was a chaplain in the Pacific during WWII. He had plenty of tales for us kids.

      • Al says:

        My favorite hi sch teacher of all time was “Tony” Gianunzio,
        author of The Last Romantic War: A Blind Date with History.
        After graduating from hi sch in a small upper Michigan mining town, he was offered a try out with the Chicago Cubs, but instead got to Chicago by way of Great Lakes Navy Training Base Then off to the Pacific on a “tin can” escorting troop ships.
        At age 92 he was invited by the Cubs to throw out the “first pitch’ in a game. Quite an event

      • Leith says:

        When on KP duty we made deals with the ship’s cooks. They have the access to the sugar, raisins or pineapple, yeast, etc. Plus you can hide the still (or the pot if you’r just making raisinjack) in the spudlocker. Smell is not out of place there as it would have been in the troop compartment. Someone always on duty to keep an eye on it since they run 24/7 for coffee and spam sandwiches for watchstanders. Ship’s food service officer was just an extra duty hat for an already overburdened young ensign. So galley inspections were usually just to make sure the food was edible (it wasn’t unless you like those green powdered eggs and SOS, or the bean soup with mystery meat)

  11. Al says:

    Excerpt from today’s NY Times Mag
    Surviving the Siege of Kharkiv

    … There was the story of the babushka whose home was invaded by Russian soldiers. They told her they were hungry. She served them a steaming platter of dumplings. They tucked in. Soon there were eight poisoned Russians expiring on her floor. There was the secret password supposedly being used to ferret out Russian saboteurs. If you were suspicious of someone, it was said that what you had to do was ask them to say palyanitsa, a traditional Ukrainian bread roll. Russians were incapable of pronouncing it correctly. The way they said it, it sounded like the word for strawberry. If the suspect person said “strawberry,” they were probably the enemy, and if you were armed, you were to seriously consider shooting them.

    On the far end was occult rumor. Ukrainians were prey to it, as all besieged people are. The Territorial Defense Forces soldiers all went by code names. Like animists forbidding their picture be taken for fear that the process will steal their souls, they were deathly afraid of cameras. They were convinced that any photograph would find its way into the ether and the Russians would see it and zero in on the location and send a rocket. This meant they were also very distrustful of journalists, even though — or because — Ukraine was crawling with them.

    Pellegrin was photographing a pummeled street in downtown Kharkiv when a man emerged from a storefront with a pistol. He brought up Google Translate on his phone and typed into it. “Please no pictures,” the translation read. “We don’t want an airstrike.”

    I sensed that the paranoia derived at least in part from a disbelief that what was happening to them was actually happening to them. This is an unavoidable cognitive break in wartime, one of war’s absurdities. But I also sensed Ukrainians worried that foreigners didn’t believe them, didn’t believe what was before our eyes, had been duped by the farcical Russian line that Ukraine was waging a war on itself. When one woman recounted escaping her home, she used phrases like “This is true” and “I’m not inventing this.” She was pleading with us to believe her. She repeated the Russian word klyanus, which is stronger than true. It is an oath of verity upon pain of damnation, like saying, “I swear on my soul this is true.”

    Soldiers were digging up no end of tracking devices in the rubble. Any gadget of uncertain provenance was suspect. When a unit took us around the northern edge of Saltivka, a soldier showed me a picture on his phone, saying, “We got this just three minutes ago.” I was fairly certain it was a garage-door opener. Predictably, rockets crashed in. We dashed for cover. He looked at me significantly… They suspected that some saboteur in the vicinity had directed the strike. This was routine. They pulled a man from his car at gunpoint and shoved him against it face-first. They stopped an old woman trying to cross the street and searched her purse and shopping bag. When a man in a laborer’s jumpsuit slowly rode up the street on his bicycle, they yelled at him to dismount. He was petrified and confused. They rushed at him, rifles lifted. They threw him to the ground, and one policeman put a boot on the man’s head. Another thumped him in the head with his rifle butt….

  12. cobo says:

    Thank you for this, TTG. Here is a link to what is presented as the operation to blow the bridge. I think it may be theater, as I imagine the real work was done at night. I picked it up at “The Drive/The War Zone.”

    and please, for all those to whom it means something – “Wolverines!”

    • A. Pols says:

      And like the “Wolverines” of Goebbels, these too are unlikely to play a significant part, next winter or whenever. IMO

  13. cobo says:


    This is a great article. Imagine that now, here, the communist psyop has developed to the point that young men and women in the western democracies despise, themselves, their cultures, even human life.

    It will be a long road

  14. MidHudson Mary says:

    Your comment about “summer reading” brought a flashback to my own high school summers…books that I never would have picked up on my own but was all the better for having read them…sun, sand and reading on the Connecticut beaches. My brother went to Fairfield Prep in the mid 60’s and those Jesuits were an important influence on his life. I think we may know some of the same people.

    • TTG says:

      MidHudson Mary,

      I graduated from Fairfield Prep in 1971. It was four years of a long commute from Prospect to Fairfield. The first two years were via a long, circuitous bus ride from Union City, the last two were by VW bus. I don’t know if my years there coincided with any of your brother’s, but I’m sure some of the Jesuits and lay teachers were the same. They were good and influential years for me, as well. “Ite inflammate omnia.”

  15. Leith says:

    TTG –

    An old boatsman like you should check out Steinbeck’s ‘Sea of Cortez’ while at the library.

    And try his ‘Dispatches from Viet-Nam”. He was definitely not like those other correspondents who spent their time at the bar in Saigon listening for war gossip instead of going to the bush

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