The violence in Ukraine is escalating with Russia now bombing civilian targets across the Northeast city of Kharkiv. The U.N. Human Rights Office says more than 220 Ukrainian civilians have been killed, more than 520 injured in less than one week of fighting. The Department of Justice announced the creation of a new unit to go after the finances and assets of Russian oligarchs called Task Force KleptoCapture. Georgia Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene faces GOP backlash after appearing at White nationalist, pro-Putin event.
CAL PERRY, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: That`s something that I think these governments are going to be concerned about. They`re already under the economic crunch of a pandemic. They`re already dealing with internal issues. And so, for them, yes, it`s going to be a political concern. Absolutely.
JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: Bingo. That`s what I love talking to you Cal Perry because yes, you have the great context for us.
All right, Cal Perry, thank you very much. Stay safe.
That is tonight`s "REIDOUT", ALL IN with Chris Hayes starts now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST (voice over): Tonight on ALL IN.
As a Russian military closes in, Ukraine fights back with what they have.
JOHN KIRBY, PRESS SECRETARY, PENTAGON: The Ukrainians are fighting bravely and creatively.
HAYES: How Russia is losing the propaganda war, even in Russia.
ANTONY BLINKEN, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: We know many of you want no part of this war.
HAYES: Tonight, the fight against the invasion and what the Russian military is capable of next. Then --
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Tonight, I say to the Russian oligarchs and the corrupt leaders who built billions of dollars off this violent regime, no more.
HAYES: New sanctions against Russia`s elite. Will they work?
And while Republicans heckled and jeered, they could not drown out the Joe Biden success story.
ALL IN starts right now.
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HAYES (on camera): Good evening from New York. I`m Chris Hayes.
The violence in Ukraine is escalating with Russia now bombing civilian targets across the Northeast city of Kharkiv.
One journalist on the ground tells NBC News the city`s downtown looks like a war zone, which of course it is. The U.N. Human Rights Office says more than 220 Ukrainian civilians have been killed, more than 520 injured in less than one week of fighting. They note that is likely an undercount.
One Ukrainian woman who fled Kharkiv described what she experienced firsthand to NBC News.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KATERINA BELASH, FLED FROM KHARKIV: I left Kharkiv two days ago when things got worse, and my house got burned by a bomb. And my loved ones died, so.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who died?
BELASH: My friends in basements, they were hiding in basements. Because right now, it`s so hard that they use -- they use some new kind of -- new kind of forbidden bombs that destroy everything on bigger distance. So, it`s pretty much done. My whole city is just dust.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: My whole city is just dust. That sense of horror and despair appears to be Russia`s explicit goal. The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Putin has made a shift in tactics towards targeting civilians specifically, as a way to demoralize Ukrainian resistance.
And there`s a reason to believe Russian President Vladimir Putin was caught off guard, both by the strength of Ukrainian resistance and the overwhelming rebuke from the rest of the world.
Because he basically has done this same play book twice already and essentially gotten away with it. First back in the late 1990s, when Russia invaded Chechnya, it was a breakaway Republic under the guise of an anti- terrorism operation leading to a bloody conflict, two rounds of which lasted years and left thousands dead.
And then, again in Syria in late 2015, when Russian forces intervened in that country`s civil war, in order to keep dictator Bashar al-Assad in power.
For the better part of the decade, Russia has been accused of bombing civilian targets in Syria, including schools and hospitals facing relatively little outcry from the international community, certainly nothing compared to what we`re seeing now.
And Syria is also where Putin tested out internationally, the disinformation tactics Russia is known for today, muddying the waters about Assad`s crimes against his own people and the nature of Russia`s military targets. At one point, even painting humanitarian rescue workers as terrorists.
So, on the one hand, you can see why Putin thought he would be able to get away with it again in Ukraine, he would send his troops in on a made up charge of fighting extremism, and the world would mostly let them invade a sovereign country relatively unchecked. That is not how it played out. Things are different this time. And there are a number of reasons why that`s true.
First, let`s be honest and clear here. There are transparent racial, ethnic and religious biases and bigotry at play. In both Chechnya and Syria, Putin claimed he was fighting a war on terrorism. He was applauded in Chechnya by many in the West for doing so.
Both Chechnya and Syria have majority Muslim populations. They`re a subject of a kind of skepticism many Western countries are not. The sad truth is that the moral logic of the global war on terror, essentially labeled certain civilians is expendable in the eyes of many. That`s been true for U.S. actions in countries like Afghanistan, Iraq as well.
But in Ukraine, Putin`s attempts to paint the government as extremists, right? Running the same playbook. This time it wasn`t ISIS, it was the Nazis. He was going to denazify Ukraine. It`s fallen flat.
Russia`s disinformation machine was not given the benefit of the doubt for many reasons, including the transparency of U.S. intelligence services in the run up to the invasion, which plainly said in real time, this would be Russia`s plan. And we`re proven basically right at every juncture.
There`s also the fact that Ukraine is in Eastern Europe, that the site of the worst barbarism in human history, the most horrifying wars and genocides and that puts the invasion front of mind for many Western countries on a continent that has been bloodied by conflict over the centuries.
Perhaps most importantly, Ukraine is also the richest country to be subjected to this kind of attack in the digital age. Smartphones and social media are utterly ubiquitous. This is a country that is obviously outmatched in terms of numbers and weaponry.
So, the only remaining tool it has to constrain Russian aggression is to basically win over public opinion globally, the hearts and minds of people which means we are seeing an unprecedented amount of footage from real people in real time. And it is providing Ukraine with its only real hope of fighting back against its occupation, rallying public global opinion to exert pressure on Putin via the information war.
And so far, has been effective strategy. Videos Ukrainian resistance are everywhere on social media feeds that are pushing a consistent narrative of a country heroically fighting back against a brutal oppressor.
Now, we should note that none of the videos are about to show you were shot by NBC News, they were posted to social media. We cannot verify for certain where they were taken.
But this video I`m about to show you posted on Facebook on Saturday, a group of people attempting to physically resist what appears to be a Russian tank in a city about 105 -- 50 miles north of Kyiv.
One man even kneels in front of the tank in attempt to stop it from moving forward. Recalling that famous image from China in Tiananmen Square. Similar scenes are playing out throughout the country like in Melitopol, where a group of protesters called Russian forces occupiers and told them to go home, even attempting to physically push their trucks away as a Russian soldier fires a gun into the air.
This video was verified by the New York Times visual investigations team, which by the way is doing an incredible job. It is in Konotop where a group of civilians stood up to Russian troops marching through the streets holding grenades, crowd curses at the soldiers telling to put their weapons away and ultimately forces them to retreat.
The town`s mayor then asked the crowd if they`re willing to fight the Russian occupation.
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ARTEM SEMENIKHIN, THE MAYOR OF KONOTOP, UKRAINE: (INAUDIBLE) if we go against them, they`ll raze the city to the ground with their artillery. But if all agree, let`s fight.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why didn`t you want to do it yesterday?
SEMENIKHIN: Shut up. Who wants to fight?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Of course. Let`s fight.
SEMENIKHIN: Who wants to fight?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Of course.
SEMENIKHIN: We`ll evacuate women and children, and let`s fight. I am for fighting them.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right on.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am for fighting them.
SEMENIKHIN: The decision has got to be unanimous. Because the artillery has now been targeted at us.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Oh, that is an impactful, inspiring call to arms. It`s important to remember, this is all essentially war propaganda. It is propaganda in the service of the victims of this conflict. It is the tool they have. And perhaps no one has benefited more from Ukraine`s information war than its President Volodymyr Zelensky.
The former television actor turned politician has been keeping in frequent communication with this country and the world. First in a series of formal addresses the public, then in more informal videos posted to more than a million followers on his telegram channel. Where Zelensky presents himself as a fighter on the ground, ready to sacrifice for his country. It is all part of an appeal to the world, perhaps especially the Russian people to oppose the war.
A sentiment echoed earlier today by U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
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BLINKEN: This is President Putin`s war. This isn`t the Russian people`s war. It`s becoming clear by the day that the Russian people oppose it. Members of the Russian military oppose it and had no idea what they were being sent to do.
And now, the Russian people will suffer the consequences of their leader`s choices.
So, my message to the people of Russia, if they`re even able to hear it, as the Kremlin cracks down even harder on media outlets reporting the truth. My message is that we know many of you want no part of this war.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Vera Bergengruen is an investigative correspondent for Time. She recently wrote about how Putin is losing at his own disinformation game in Ukraine. And Ben Collins, of course, an NBC News Senior Reporter who wrote about Facebook and Twitter removing disinformation accounts targeting Ukrainians.
Vera, let me start with you. It is striking how effectively Ukrainian resistance again outmatched militarily in desperate and dire straits a country invaded understands quite clearly that the only constraint they have on military force is global public opinion via social media. How successful has this strategy been?
VERA BERGENGRUEN, INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT, TIME: Well, we can obviously see that it`s been very successful. I mean, when you see how much we knew about -- most people knew about Ukraine a week ago, and how much -- how strongly they feel about Ukraine now about its president, how all of these images that we`ve seen a really kind of embedded themselves into our consciousness. I mean, they`ve been very, very successful with that.
And like you noted, a lot of this is intentional. A lot of this is just the way that, you know, propaganda has always worked or putting out heroic narratives has always worked. But they`ve also been speaking directly to the Russian people. They`ve been trying to break through Russian narratives, which is very hard to do.
I mean, Putin`s disinformation machine has been, you know, touted so much over for decades as this really scary thing that can really cause a lot of damage. And they seem to be kind of cutting it off at the root, but not allowing these Russian narratives to take hold at all. They`re kind of saying you`re going to hear that troops are deserting, you`re going to hear that Zelensky has fled.
And before any of this can really kind of take hold or cause panic, they`re really kind of getting out in front of it. And so, that has been extremely effective. And I don`t think we`ve ever really seen that before.
HAYES: Yes, the disinformation apparatus of the Russian state, Ben, has been quite formidable. And I -- you really saw it in Syria where they were able to really kind of muddy the waters and so enough confusion to sort of hide some of the most monstrous and barbarous actions that were being taken place, both by Assad and the Russian military. That has not been the case this time, why not?
BEN COLLINS, NBC NEWS SENIOR REPORTER: They haven`t been able to drown out the sheer amount of civilian video from Ukraine. Their whole goal is not to overwhelm people with their message, it`s just to confuse the message to figure out -- for regular people to figure out who the good guy is, and to mess it up.
That`s not -- it`s very clear right now who the good guy is and who the bad guy is, who was invading another country.
And the other thing is, I must say this, they did not have a plan for this going this badly. We are looking through some of those same websites that were taken down by Facebook, because they had ties to the troll farm, the 2016 troll farm that attacked the United States. They`re run by this guy named Aleksandr Milkovich (PH).
They are posting through this as if they have already won the war. The top things on their website posted by these fake identities on -- you know, that were posted by people with A.I. generated faces that Facebook took down.
They are posting about the future of Ukraine, now that it has been -- now that the government has been decapitated. That has not happened. They are just going through the motions with their propaganda right now, they have not been able to transition in time to meet the reality.
HAYES: Yes, and Vera you made -- you made a really important point here. And I think this is a key part of this too, this is that war so often involves the demonization of the enemy. The other and in many cases across lines of of language, religion, place, right?
These are -- you know, you were watching these videos of Russian speaking Ukrainians, speaking to Russian soldiers in Russian, calling them, you know, fascist, which has a particular sort of biting valence, right? In a part of the world that celebrates and honors the group what`s called the Great Patriotic War against Nazis and fascism, right?
Like, the effectiveness of this being able to communicate with these people who you really do share a lot with seems to me a huge part of what`s so powerful about this appeal right now.
BERGENGRUEN: Definitely, and I think one of the most interesting things exactly, like you said, is that, you know, they`re not dehumanizing the enemy. They`re not, you know, kind of making them out to be, for the most part these monsters.
And besides, the usual kind of like bravado that comes with the military, I mean, they`re really kind of just making it out to be scared kids. And they`re humanizing the enemy, they`re saying these are just -- these are, you know, they`re running out of food, they`re running out of fuel, they`re young conscripts, they have no idea where they are, and they`re posting these videos where they`re allowing them to call home, where they`re giving them you know, hot tea.
And those, you know -- and those -- I mean, those are just -- those are real, and it really can`t be stated enough how effective just showing that is instead of, you know, just kind of you know, making a lot of threats and trying to rally each other up about how they`re going to defeat the enemy.
They`re also just kind of saying, look, just go home, you know, we know you don`t want to be here. And again, it`s something we haven`t really seen before.
HAYES: Yes, and we`ve also seen him and there`s moves to restrict, there was already a very narrow space inside Russia for independent media, those are already being constrained now. In the wake of this, you have the order to shut down the country`s only independent T.V. channel and a sort of liberal and independent radio station, notorious one, that had sort of broadcast for all kinds of errors.
You`ve also got, Ben, now foreign entities just turning off the spigot on a lot of the means by which Russia had promoted Russian propaganda over the last 10-20 years even.
COLLINS: Yes, you`re seeing most of Europe turn off R.T., turn off Ruptly and all these other channels, and it`s impossible to get them through some smartphones in Europe now as well.
You know, and I can`t stress how big of a deal that is, by the way, that they are not the biggest thing on YouTube anymore. Because for 10 years there, they were proud of the fact that they were, you know, R.T. was one of the most viewed channels on all of YouTube, not news channels, channels.
So, to have this go from one of the most channels on YouTube to literally invisible, not accessible by traditional means in a lot of ways is a big deal.
And by the way, TV Rain, which is the one that was shut off in Russia, they outed a lot of the people in the troll farm. They did a lot of work routing Russian propaganda from within Russia, and now they are not accessible.
So, this is -- this is a completely different dynamic than we`ve ever had before in terms of Russian propaganda, and they`re just -- frankly, they`re just losing, Chris.
HAYES: Vera Bergengruen and Ben Collins, thank you both. That was great.
Still to come, while Russia loses ground in the information fight, the military is still pushing slowly towards Kyiv, a 40-mile-long convoy now paused outside the nation`s capital. But what happens if and when that force starts moving again? The military situation in Ukraine, after this.
HAYES: About 26 hours after Russia first invaded Ukraine, my colleague Ali Velshi spoke with Oleksandr Tkachenko, Ukraine`s Minister of Culture and Information Policy who was sitting in a car outside Kyiv.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You do not feel they`re going to succeed in taking out your administration and your government?
OLEKSANDR TKACHENKO, UKRAINE`S MINISTER OF CULTURE AND INFORMATION POLICY: No way.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What will you do if they -- if they occupy Kyiv? What happens? What are your contingency plans? Will you go West to Lviv? Will you form a government in exile if the Russians force you to?
TKACHENKO: They will never take Kyiv?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: After that interview, Ali Velshi was joined on the air by retired four-star General Barry McCaffrey who served in the U.S. Army for more than three decades.
General McCaffrey said it was very touching, listening to Tkachenko`s words. Said it was astonishing how Ukraine`s leadership stepped up to this "massive imbalance of forces".
Since then, Ukrainians have continued to show remarkable bravery and resourcefulness. The harsh reality is that the Russian military is bigger and stronger. And as we have seen over the last few days, they`re willing to use force against civilians.
To talk about the capabilities and capacity of the Russian military. I`m joined now by General Barry McCaffrey.
General, it`s good to have you on. Just strictly from a sort of military standpoint here from all that I have seen, the reporting I`ve read, the people I`ve even interviewed. There does seem to be consensus that this initial phase of the Russian assault has gone poorly. It has not met the short term tactical and strategic aims of the Russian military. Do you think that`s true?
GEN. BARRY MCCAFFREY (RET.), MSNBC MILITARY ANALYST: Yes, it`s remarkable. At the operational level of war, this massive Russian invasion force, air, ground, sea amphibious capabilities, they had weeks to plan the thing. They`ve ended up in an armored movement to contact to seize a big city, where their frontage is one vehicle wide and their stall looks like a parking lot in places. It`s going to take them a long time to unscrew this mess.
You know, a company you can pull together in a couple of hours, but an army, they`re not off the roads. They`re not in assembly areas. They are having logistics problems, and these brave Ukrainians are fighting at the point of this fear.
But Chris, some tough days are lie ahead. They are -- they`ve been told by Putin, you better grab Kyiv. And so, they`re going to try and do it.
The Ukrainians will fight inside the city and devour Russian infantry. But it`ll knock down the city and kill a lot of civilians.
HAYES: Yes, I mean, I want to be -- I want to sort of be as clear eyed as possible here. Because I think there`s a sense that this has gone poorly for the Russians so far, and the Ukrainians have been incredibly resourceful.
But we have seen, you know, what they`re capable -- both willing and capable -- willing to do and capable of doing to civilian blocks of population centers. They have tremendous advantage and firepower.
I mean, this -- it`s going to be very difficult, right? For the Ukrainians to sustain resistance if this drags on weeks and weeks.
MCCAFFREY: Well, I actually think, you know, if the Ukrainian decide to fight it out to the death if they have 15 30,000 individual fighters in the city of Kyiv, it could stretch out for a month and it could I suppose change the political calculus that Putin asked the same through (PH).
I mean, he`s under this enormous strategic peril now, NATO re-army, the Germans doubling their defense budget for next year, and economic sanctions and the scorn of the world community. So, it`s possible I suppose that these brave Ukrainians could force a draw.
But I think the Russians are under no misconception that Putin is going to have them shot if they don`t get into that city. So, we`ll have to see how it comes out. It`s a tragedy. Putin`s already lost the war strategically. This won`t be over. This is a 10-year event he just signed up for and how could he govern this impoverished country. Though, he`s in trouble.
HAYES: Yes, your point there, I mean, we kept saying this and we said it even on the program in the run up to this where it looked like this might happen, it was threatening to happen. That it -- and then, what questions seemed incredibly unanswered?
I remember feeling that way about the U.S. war in Iraq, and then, what question. And here we`re not to the -- and then what? We`re in the midst of this horrible humanitarian disaster we`re watching. We`re watching people die and be killed.
But what even victory would look like at this point, I think has to feel incredibly abstract from the Russian perspective.
MCCAFFREY: Yes, well, at some point, you know, they got to put 10-15 battalions into Kyiv and fight block by block and fire tank gun, main guns into buildings, and they`ll start firing artillery of 5,000 to 15,000 rounds a day, it won`t be precision strikes with a dozen missiles.
In the meantime, the rest of Europe is going to see millions of these desperate people, many of the mothers and with small children fleeing into Poland, Romania, Moldova, etcetera.
So, Putin has got himself in such a fix and I for the life of me can`t see how he backs out, not just politically, I don`t think he`s got command and control over these forces anymore. How does he extricate them to do something different?
HAYES: Elaborate on that last point.
MCCAFFREY: Well, you know, once you -- once you got an army committed to movement, and they`re stuck on roads, and you know, one video I`m watching is three lanes wide. There`s no return lane for God`s sake.
MCCAFFREY: The ground is gone marshy, as of the great thaw is nine march. So, they`re already having trouble getting off road, but just the planning, he didn`t put discrete packages of the tank combat team down these hard-top roads. You got it all stuck in a math. Unraveling this thing is going to take him days.
HAYES: I see, you`re saying the sheer logistics of essentially trying to -- if you were to say effectuate a U-turn, if you were to say for whatever reason for calculation to cut your losses, or you come up with some face- saving talks in Minsk, you declare a ceasefire, something like that. Just the sheer logistical situation right now is there -- even just that would be difficult to reverse course.
MCCAFFREY: Yes, you know, I`ve watched a video of SP 152 artillery vehicles that fell off the side of the road and they`re abandoned, there`s no vehicle track recovery going on.
There was a sort of a funny -- not funny video of gypsies who stole a tank that had been abandoned on the road. One of the Ukrainians was laughing about it.
So, this does not look like a blitzkrieg, it looks like you know, a mess. And I`m surprised that the Russian soldiers, by the way, have first rate equipment. They`re going to -- they`re brave people. There`s no question about that. They`ll follow orders.
Their officers have -- are on their fifth invasion now. And they think they won the last four. So now, they put Mr. Putin over a barrel. They`re not going to be able to deliver the goods without killing a load of people in Kyiv and Kharkiv. And down South in Odesa. They`re just stuck in a mess.
And meanwhile, apparently the agency in the Europeans are still able to get, I`m surprised, stingers and javelin missile systems and ammunition into and are trying to distribute them in a fighting unit.
So, the battle looms. The big battle looms in the next 72 hours, but right now, Ukrainians, actually strategically are winning, time is their ally.
HAYES: All right, General Barry McCaffrey. Thank you. McCaffrey, thank you very much. That was really illuminating. Appreciate that.
Next as the ruble plummets and interest rates rise, ordinary Russian citizens are starting to feel the brutal pressure from sanctions.
But now, President Biden announced new targets Russian oligarchs. Tightening grip on Russia`s economy, after this.
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BIDEN: Tonight, I say to the Russian oligarchs and the corrupt leaders who built billions of dollars off this violent regime, no more.
The United States -- I mean it. The United States Department of Justice is assembling a dedicated task force to go after the crimes of the Russian oligarchs.
We`re joining with European allies to find and seize their yachts, their luxury apartments, their private jets. We are coming for their ill-begotten gains.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: And they are. Today, the Department of Justice announced the creation of a new unit to go after the finances and assets of Russian oligarchs. It is called Task Force KleptoCapture. It is dedicated to enforcing all the sanctions that would in place in response to Russia`s invasion of Ukraine, and there are a lot of them.
In a little less than a week, the U.S. and its allies have shut off major Russian banks from the global banking system known as SWIFT, frozen Russian central bank assets, which is an enormous deal. They`ve targeted President Vladimir Putin and his Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, among other Russian elites.
That does not include the other measures taken by the Biden administration, things like restricting exports of certain technologies to Russia, like semiconductors, banning Russian airliners from U.S. airspace.
But even with all that economic pressure, the big question now is, will it work? And I think more profoundly, what does working even mean?
Adam Tooze is a professor of history and director of European Institute at Columbia University. His economic newsletter Chartbook on substack.com is an absolute must read.
I`m so glad to have you, Adam to talk this through. I think, first, let`s talk about the sort of what seems obviously the most sort of lowest hanging fruit, which is this sort of oligarch targeted measures. How meaningful are those? How much of this is rhetoric? Or how much are European countries and the U.S. actually going to go after?
ADAM TOOZE, DIRECTOR OF EUROPEAN INSTITUTE, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY: There is an element of rhetoric, you heard it in Congress today, there`s this chair, there`s populist chair to go after the bad guys.
And you know, good riddance to them, let`s go after them, by all means. We should look into our own crooks as well. And we should look into the loopholes that enable ours to escape as well.
And if they go hard on this, and they actually try and uncover this shadowy well, they will indeed expose a whole undergrowth, which is not just Russian, because Ukrainian as well, it`s European, it`s American, but they should do that.
And they hurt -- they can hurt those people. They`re very vulnerable. If you`ve got an $800 million yacht sitting in Hamburg Harbor, you know, it`s something that`s really very exposed.
Of course, these people are immensely wealthy. So, you can take the other way, and the man is still a billionaire.
But I think the much more important question is, what difference would it make to the politics of the regime. And the crucial thing here is that Russia is no longer the Russia of the 1990s. Power is not shared between Putin and the oligarchs. The power, the visceral physical violent power is with Putin and the Siloviki, the the men of force, the security folks that come out of their first bank (PH) and out of the military, and it`s very unclear whether hitting these wealthy guys, the billionaires will really change the game for the calculus of computing.
HAYES: Yes, your point there. You`re mentioning a billionaire Alisher Usmanov, who had a yacht in -- I think it was in -- where was it? In the Northern City Hamburg.
HAYES: Yes, it`s a $600 million yacht, it has actually been seized. We see that Roman Abramovich, of course, was the owner of the Chelsea soccer club, which is, you know, incredibly iconic soccer club that will be selling that, you know, under pressure.
So, this -- it looks like this is happening, but just to center in on this point, because this is what I`ve been asking, you know, the idea is that when we talk about a regime, right, that the oligarchs almost like you might think of nobles in a court, right, can pressure the king.
And what you`re saying is that the power relations just are far too unidirectional for that to have much effect. I mean, they can be squeezed, but it`s not clear that them abandoning Putin or complaining to him will have much effect.
TOOZE: On the contrary, I think they`d be quite terrified of doing that out loud. The -- this is really -- there`s a huge shift. So, in the 90s, I think you could really describe Russia as a kleptocratic system, in a sense, really 2003-2004, it`s become something closer to state capitalism, and the rest are extremely real. They know this, that (INAUDIBLE) ends up in the, you know, the Gulag for 10 years, you do not mess around with these people.
This is a moment of existential pressure for Putin, the general was describing this incredibly, effectively a minute ago, the military situation is extremely precarious. Putin is not going to be worrying about the pocketbooks of folks who are rich, and you can make them rich again afterwards, (INAUDIBLE) whatever losses they suffer.
They`ve been through this before. Putin has a whole narrative. You`ll call them in and say, look, we`ve traveled a long way, we`ve got rich together, it`s now your time to sacrifice. And the smart one will play the game like that, I imagine.
HAYES: Of course, the larger question are average Russians who have know nothing to do with this. And of course, you know, again, you`re the West, you`re the E.U. and the U.S., you`ve got like these two, you know, allow Ukraine to be invaded and co-opted and annexed on the one hand, and nuclear war on the other and you want neither.
And you`re trying to, you know, essentially pilot your way in between those. And so, unprecedented levels of economic sanctions coercion is what has been used. What are the effects going to be on the Russian economy because this is basically uncharted territory?
TOOZE: It really is. The strike against the central bank over the weekend as you mentioned in your setup is the thing right now. Everything else is being worked out. It`s not clear which banks will be cut out of SWIFT.
The correspondents banking thing that Biden announced on Thursday is important. Because that means even the really big banks in Russia can`t deal in dollars anymore. They`re hitting the central bank. That`s a declaration of war on the national authority, it hits every element of the Russian economy. As soon as the markets hear that you just sell everything. There`s no discrimination anymore, everything has to go. Because the ruble is going to plunge all Russian assets are going to devalue right now. It`s not an economy. As soon as the markets hear that, you just sell everything, there`s no discrimination anymore, everything has to go.
Because the ruble is going to plunge, all Russian assets are going to devalue. Right now, it`s not fallen as much as you`d expect, as they basically clamp down on all currency trading, you can`t take money out of Russia anymore. So, you can`t sell the variables if you wanted to.
So, we`re in a real -- this is a regime shift. And we did this not after if you like Putin had accomplished his seizure of Ukraine to slap him on the wrist and punish him. But in the middle of a shooting war, which was the general was explaining is still undecided, right? So, this became us in a sense taking the side of the Ukrainians in this conflict, which I don`t think was the original plan.
In a sense, we`d stood back if we`re honest with ourselves 10 days ago, both the Europeans and the Americans had abandoned Ukraine to its fate. If Putin was cynically violent enough, he was going to take it.
But now, their resistance has changed the game. That has completely changed the emotional, political dynamic of this and made it much much more dangerous, frankly.
HAYES: Well, that`s very sobering. I guess the final question here is, the Moscow stock market has been closed for four days. There`s this crazy thing where they can`t open it because it`s going to plunge and they`re just keeping it close. But at a certain point, you know, the cats out of the bag.
TOOZE: Yes, this is great depression there. This is like a national bank holiday forever. Because the reality is too horrible to contemplate.
HAYES: All right, Adam Tooze, who again, is indispensable on all these topics. Thank you very much. Appreciate it.
TOOZE: Thank you.
HAYES: Next, what the State of the Union revealed about the state of the Republican Party and Senator Raphael Warnock on the biggest takeaways from the president`s speech. He joins me live just ahead, stick around.
HAYES: A week into the Russian invasion of Ukraine, we continue to see fallout from Republicans praising Vladimir Putin while they bomb civilian areas.
Including Georgia Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene who appeared to be pro-Putin event this past weekend with a known white supremacist.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NICK FUENTES, ORGANIZER, AMERICA FIRST POLITICAL ACTION CONFERENCE: And you want to know the secret? To borrow a phrase from a friend of mine, our secret sauce here it`s these young white men.
That`s what we call the secret ingredient. America and the world has forgotten about them, but not us. You know, they say about America, they say diversity is our strength, you know. And I look at China, and I look at Russia. Can we give a round of applause for Russia? Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Putin! Putin!
FUENTES: Absolutely, absolutely.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: To be clear, Russia had invaded Ukraine at that point that you saw that. That was the introduction that organizer Nick Fuentes gave. Special guest Congressman Marjorie Taylor Greene who was clearly on board for the whole thing.
She got up, she shook Fuentes` hand, she blew kisses, told the audience of Putin loving white supremacists. None of them should be cancelled.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. MARJORIE TAYLOR GREENE (R-GA): Do you know what it`s like to be canceled? And that`s why I`m here to talk to you tonight. I don`t believe anyone should be canceled. I don`t believe in -- I don`t believe in separating people and identities. I don`t believe in separating people in classes. But that`s what the Democrats believe in because that`s what Marxism is. That`s what communism is.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: I mean, I know that I shouldn`t do this. I`m adlibbing this but, I just have to note because it`s like fact-checking this ridiculously, the speaker literally talked about the secret sauce being white men, like the identity category. White men before her appearance and appeals to unity.
Now, that appearance made Greene too toxic for Trump-backed Georgia Senate candidate Herschel Walker, who will not offering criticism dropped out of her gun rights event this Saturday.
Marjorie Taylor Greene`s appearance at that event did not bother former Georgia Senator David Perdue, who`s now running for governor. He said he will still attend Greene`s event, isn`t that awesome?
Now, irrational person facing that kind of backlash for headlining of Vladimir Putin pep rally, you might want to lay low for a little bit, maybe not say, show up for the State of the Union and scream at the president like you`re in the stands of a WWE event. There were the representatives of the states of Georgia and Colorado in a desperate flee for the kind of negative attention they really do seem to thrive on.
No one was very impressed. Joe Biden`s first State of Union was well, it was really quite good. There are many things the president proposed that are totally passable, even in our super fractured partisan government.
I`ll talk to the senator from the state of Georgia Raphael Warnock about that, right after this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BIDEN: And so, we have a choice. One way to fight inflation is to drive down wages and make Americans poor, I think have a better idea to fight inflation. Lower your cost, not your wages.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: So, one of the interesting things in President Biden`s State of the Union speech last night came as he was laying out his domestic agenda. It was sort of the full agenda. He called on Congress to raise the minimum wage to $15.00 an hour, bring back the expanded child tax credit which they passed and has now lapsed, along with increased funding the higher education, including historically black colleges and universities.
He urged lawmakers to pass the PRO Act to support union organizing, the Freedom to Vote and John Lewis Voting Rights Act to support our democratic foundation.
He advocated steps to cut prescription drug costs, cap insulin prices and allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices.
He touted the plan to rebuild American manufacturing, push for clean energy tax incentives and a new corporate minimum tax and called for Congress to pass the Equality Act to protect the LGBT community.
But so that`s the whole laundry list. And that`s sort of what the speech was like largely, and the State of Unions are like that. But if your paying careful attention, you could tell which parts he had a thought -- he thought had a chance of passing and which didn`t.
And his push for prescription drug reform and an insulin cap is clearly in the possible category.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BIDEN: For Joshua, and for the 200,000 other young people with Type 1 diabetes, let`s cap the cost of insulin at $35.00 a month so everyone can afford it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Reverend Raphael Warnock is the Democratic senator in the state of Georgia and the sponsor of the Affordable Insulin Now Act that President Biden advocated for last night. And he joins me now.
You know, Senator, I know folks like yourself who work in government and want to pass things, whether they`re advocates or members of the Senate legislators, they`re watching for these signals in the State of the Union.
So, you must have been incredibly enthused by the president clearly putting this initiative which you worked very hard on front and center.
SEN. RAPHAEL WARNOCK (D-WA): Thank you, Chris. It`s great to be here with you.
Listen, as we say in my other job as pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church, when I heard the president say that, I just wanted to scream, amen. Let`s cap the cost of insulin to $35.00 per month, in terms of out of pocket costs. You know, I`ve been fighting for health care for years.
And when you think about the impact of diabetes on so many Americans, this would have a huge, huge positive impact, not only on those who have diabetes, but I think on a larger healthcare ecosystem. One in $4.00 in health care in America spent on diabetes or diabetes related care, we`ve seen the cost --
HAYES: Is that -- wait a second, that`s true, one in $4.00?
WARNOCK: One in $4.00. So, when you think about the cascading impact of diabetes, and its risk factors for heart disease, a whole range of issues, kidney failure, amputations, this is about providing affordable health care to folks who need insulin, and that`s 12 percent of Georgians, 13 percent of African Americans across the country, 10 percent of Americans in general.
So, it will help these folks who are spending as much as $6,000 a year just on insulin. And I think it will have a positive impact on a larger healthcare ecosystem, which is why I`m pushing so hard to get this done.
HAYES: Well, I mean, you know, I`m not the one you need to sell, because I`m sold on it, substantively have been for a long time.
The big question, I think in a lot of this stuff is are the votes for it? And my reading of last night was that there was sort of a category the president talked about, including some climate initiatives, some taxing of corporations and people at the very top and prescription drug reform, including insulin that he sees as there being 50 votes for because Joe Manchin can be on board with that.
Did you have that same interpretation of the structure of the speech, and your -- and the insulin being in that part of the speech?
WARNOCK: Well, I can tell you, I`ve been talking to my colleagues on both sides of the aisle, and there is interest. And there`s some folks who have been working on this issue around diabetes for a long time.
Look, diabetes is certainly not a partisan issue. It impacts a whole lot of folks on both sides of the aisle, and certainly all across the country and in my state of Georgia. So, this ought to have a path, we ought to get this done sooner than later.
HAYES: You`ve been very outspoken about the voting rights legislation and electoral reform that is passed the House. It has been combined to one piece of legislation in the Senate. President endorsing it last night.
Kyrsten Sinema, your colleague Joe Manchin saying there will be no reform of the filibuster, even for this important legislation. Is that -- is that the status quo as we speak tonight in the wake of the State of the Union?
WARNOCK: Voting rights, a preservative of all of the rights and all of the issues we care about whether we`re talking about capping the costs of insulin or dealing with climate change or dealing with a livable wage. The democracy itself is the framework in which we get to fight for these things.
And so, I`m going to continue to fight for it. I`m glad that folks are interested in the Electoral Count Reform Act, but that`s a piece of what needs to get done and and we have to keep pushing until this gets done.
Listen, our Congress will be judged by history on the basis of what we do on this issue. So, I`ll continue to fight for voting rights.
At the same time, I`ll continue to fight for health care, which I believe is a human right. And it`s certainly something the wealthiest nation on the planet can and ought to provide to all of its citizens.
HAYES: You`ve been a Senator for over a year now. It`s the first time you`ve held elected office. What`s the worst part of being a U.S. senator, Reverend?
WARNOCK: Well, look, it can be frustrating. Change is slow. It`s hard to come by. And it`s especially frustrating when you know we have the power to do something. And the question is, how do you get folks to do it?
But even on my worst days, I`m deeply honored to represent the people of Georgia in the United States Senate. You know, yesterday, I was with an 8- year-old kid named Evan, who suffers from Type 1 diabetes, and he wrote me the sweetest note, he was so glad to meet me. And he asked me to keep fighting for him.
His mom spends $9,500 a year for insulin for this 8-year-old kid. I`m going to keep fighting for Evan, I`m going to keep him front and center. And that`s what gets me up every day.
Reverend Raphael Warnock, senator of Georgia, thank you so much for your time tonight, Sir.
WARNOCK: Great to be with you.
HAYES: That is ALL IN on this Wednesday night. "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" with Ayman Mohyeldin starts now. Good evening, Ayman.