The French poet Rimbaud gave up poetry to become a gun runner in Africa, saying as he sailed off Tout ca c’est la littérature – which we could translate as this is all drama.
The war in Ukraine is the stuff of high drama, with two very different narratives but real victims. The blood spilt is recorded live and the dead die very real deaths.
The narrative proposed by the West is that the Ukrainians are brave victims of an unprovoked attack. Our media express outrage. Both sides claim right is on their side, encouraging moral certainty in their cause.
Russian media portray Russia and its native speakers as victims of a nationalist Ukraine with nuclear ambitions armed by an expansionist EU and Nato, highlighting the Ukrainian onslaught to reverse the democratic referendums of the breakaway regions.
The truth is opaque, nuanced and nebulous. Neither side comes out of this well, EU virtue signalling, NATO proclaiming innocence, Ukrainian racism, and Russian murderous violence. All claim to be the goods guys and the others are the villains
The narrative regarding the oligarch’s superyachts likewise lacks transparency. Although yachts are owned by SPVs that are registered offshore, it is not difficult to establish who is the prime beneficiary and de facto owner. Funds are held by management companies who pay for fuel, maintenance food and crew. If a company pays crew their wages and provisions are they in breach of sanctions? Do they use the funds of seized yacht to repatriate crew members from distant islands?
Individuals and the representatives of companies have in the past languished in US jails for sanction busting. The US now considers Russian as much a threat to national security as Iran which has been till now No 1 on their sanctions shit list.
How this drama will unfold is yet to be written. We are almost at the end of Act 1 now. Act 2 will likely be a long dragged-out affair. The oligarchs have been scripted in as protagonists in a sub plot featuring the bad guys. Cut to the boardroom of a yacht manager in Monaco. Self interest and self preservation is the theme.
Cue the theme music
Pity the children