Anne Applebaum in The Atlantic: “If an American president announced a major speech, booked the networks for 8 p.m., and then disappeared until the following morning, the analysis would be immediate and damning: chaos, disarray, indecision. The White House must be in crisis. In the past 24 hours, this is exactly what happened in Moscow. The Russian president really did announce a major speech, alert state television, warn journalists, and then disappear without explanation. Although Vladimir Putin finally gave his speech to the nation this morning, the same conclusions have to apply: chaos, disarray, indecision. The Kremlin Must Be in Crisis.”

+ “The Kremlin says reports of fighting-age men fleeing are exaggerated. But on the border with Georgia, miles-long queues of vehicles have formed including men trying to escape the war.” Russians flee to border after military call-up. Whether for ethical reasons or self preservation, this is the right move.

+ Meanwhile, allies (or former allies) of the Kremlin keep suffering mysterious deaths. “The former head of a Russian aviation research institute died on Wednesday, reportedly by falling down the stairs, in the latest in a string of deaths of Russian officials.”