Blog Feeds

Anti-Empire

Anti-Empire

offsite link How the US Could Have Prevented the Russ... Sat Nov 26, 2022 04:06 | Anti-Empire

offsite link Putin Talks Free Fertilizer for Hungry A... Fri Nov 25, 2022 14:04 | Anti-Empire

offsite link “Trusting the Plan” in the Russian W... Sun Nov 20, 2022 12:03 | Anti-Empire

offsite link Putin’s SMO Half-Assery Has Been an In... Sat Nov 19, 2022 03:50 | Anti-Empire

offsite link Thank You! Wed Nov 16, 2022 15:13 | Anti-Empire

Anti-Empire >>

The Saker
A bird's eye view of the vineyard

offsite link Meeting with mothers of servicemen participating in the SVO (transcript) Sat Nov 26, 2022 21:33 | The Saker
Note: this is a machine translated (Yandex) translation of the full Russian text posted here: http://kremlin.ru/events/pr... It was sent to me from a reader. Vladimir Putin met with mothers of

offsite link Finis Sinarum: Why I think China Cannot Win This Sat Nov 26, 2022 21:24 | The Saker
America Has Infiltrated China By Thorsten J. Pattberg for the Saker blog In this naturally calm and composed piece of art, I will expose the global blueprint for the defeat

offsite link Ukraine is proud of its war crimes Sat Nov 26, 2022 21:24 | The Saker
by Batko Milacic for the Saker blog Ukraine and the United States were the only two countries in the world that did not vote in the UN for the Resolution

offsite link Moveable Feast Cafe 2022/11/25 ? Open Thread Fri Nov 25, 2022 20:30 | herb
2022/11/25 20:30:02Welcome to the ‘Moveable Feast Cafe’. The ‘Moveable Feast’ is an open thread where readers can post wide ranging observations, articles, rants, off topic and have animate discussions of

offsite link Kiev by night Fri Nov 25, 2022 18:21 | The Saker

The Saker >>

Public Inquiry
Interested in maladministration. Estd. 2005

offsite link RTE in breach of its own editorial principles Anthony

offsite link Waiting for SIPO Anthony

offsite link Formal complaint against Robert Watt Anthony

offsite link RTE bias complaint Anthony

offsite link Fergus Finlay and the maternity hospital ‘gotcha’ trap Anthony

Public Inquiry >>

Voltaire Network
Voltaire, international edition

offsite link Zelensky trapped by Moscow and Washington, by Thierry Meyssan Tue Nov 22, 2022 07:02 | en

offsite link "Voltaire, International Newsletter" n15 Sun Nov 20, 2022 14:01 | en

offsite link ?Voltaire, International Newsletter? n14 Thu Nov 17, 2022 10:39 | en

offsite link Is the conflict in Ukraine a civil war? Tue Nov 15, 2022 17:44 | en

offsite link Who are the Ukrainian integral nationalists ?, by Thierry Meyssan Tue Nov 15, 2022 07:02 | en

Voltaire Network >>

Anti-Empire - Sat Nov 26, 2022 04:06

Unlike many, I don’t see the Russo-Ukrainian war as being primarily about NATO’s posture in Eastern Europe. I think the main reason is the very understandable Russian saltiness over Communists having spun off a regional variant of East Slavs (Rus) into non-Russians and ultimately anti-Russians. The Soviet Union cut off the project of Russian national construction from the Ukraine, giving the competing Ukrainian nation-building project monopoly access. Then massively backed that Ukrainianism with state resources and compulsion. (Considerably beyond what the tsars had done for Russianism in Ukraine.) Without this abrubt state intervention the Ukraine would have probably developed into a part of Russia with a strong regional identity, but one without a strong secessionist movement. Similar to Valencia in Spain, Wales in Britain, Brittany in France, or Texas in the US.

It was precisely this insight that allowed me to correctly conclude over the winter of 21/22 that the threat of war in Ukraine was real. While the rest of the alt-media that knows nothing about Russia aside from its standoff with NATO remained supremely confident that war in Ukraine would not take place. (One wonders if NATO-Russia relations alone had made a Russo-Ukrainian war inevitable why weren’t they able to divine it would happen.)

However, I do see NATO as one of many contributing factors to the war. In fact, in my voice-in-the-wilderness pieces warning about the war I spent about 1/3rd of the space writing about NATO. So while the American Empire this one time isn’t the main cause of the war (that distinction goes to Lenin), NATO can be seen as the straw that broke the camel’s back.

As such it was within Washington’s power to prevent the war if it wanted to. What is more, DC could do this while maintaining that Ukraine remains free to “chose its allies” and that its door to NATO is open.

On the eve of the war in February Joe Biden suddenly discovered that Russians and Ukrainians shared “deep ties” and made the following appeal:

“To the citizens of Russia: You are not our enemy.  And I do not believe you want a bloody, destructive war against Ukraine — a country and a people with whom you share such deep ties of family, history, and culture.”

All of a sudden as war seemed imminent and DC expected a quick Russian victory talk of “deep” Russo-Ukrainian ties became legitimate. If these ties could be mobilized to forestall the imminent Russian takeover then all of a sudden the US would remember them.

Well what if the US had paid homage to these alleged “deep ties” between the two a lot sooner? What if at any time between 2008 and 2020 the Imperial Capital formulated its NATO Ukraine policy thus:

“Ukraine interest in greater military ties with NATO and membership flatter us. Door for Ukraine membership is open and we are committed to accepting it as a member.“

“At the same time we are aware that while NATO is not an ant-Russian alliance, it is sadly sometimes percieved as one.

“Thus keeping in mind the deep ties of family, history, and culture as exist between Ukraine and Russia we do not wish to be a bone of discontent between the two or for NATO to harm these ties.

“Thus we will accept Ukraine into NATO when Russia is also ready to make this step.

“Until then we will not seek military ties with Ukraine or have forces there.”

Very simple. US wants Ukraine but in a package with its partner Russia with whom it shares “such deep ties of family, history, and culture”.

Had this been US policy I don’t think there would have been a war. With such a US stance Kiev would have to act differently, with more realism, creating space for normal Russo-Ukrainian relations. And if these existed Putin would have something to lose by going to war. — A situation that in 2021 no longer existed.

But of course why would that be US policy? Trying to raise tension between Kiev and Moscow and hurt the “deep ties” between Ukraine and Russia had been Washington’s policy precisely.

This war is a godsend for the Empire, especially since it didn’t result in the abrupt Russian takeover.

Unlike many, I don’t see the Russo-Ukrainian war as being primarily about NATO’s posture in Eastern Europe. I think the main reason is the very understandable Russian saltiness over Communists having spun off a regional variant of East Slavs (Rus) into non-Russians and ultimately anti-Russians. The Soviet Union cut off the project of Russian national construction from the Ukraine, giving the competing Ukrainian nation-building project monopoly access. Then massively backed that Ukrainianism with state resources and compulsion. (Considerably beyond what the tsars had done for Russianism in Ukraine.) Without this abrubt state intervention the Ukraine would have probably developed into a part of Russia with a strong regional identity, but one without a strong secessionist movement. Similar to Valencia in Spain, Wales in Britain, Brittany in France, or Texas in the US.

It was precisely this insight that allowed me to correctly conclude over the winter of 21/22 that the threat of war in Ukraine was real. While the rest of the alt-media that knows nothing about Russia aside from its standoff with NATO remained supremely confident that war in Ukraine would not take place. (One wonders if NATO-Russia relations alone had made a Russo-Ukrainian war inevitable why weren’t they able to divine it would happen.)

However, I do see NATO as one of many contributing factors to the war. In fact, in my voice-in-the-wilderness pieces warning about the war I spent about 1/3rd of the space writing about NATO. So while the American Empire this one time isn’t the main cause of the war (that distinction goes to Lenin), NATO can be seen as the straw that broke the camel’s back.

As such it was within Washington’s power to prevent the war if it wanted to. What is more, DC could do this while maintaining that Ukraine remains free to “chose its allies” and that its door to NATO is open.

On the eve of the war in February Joe Biden suddenly discovered that Russians and Ukrainians shared “deep ties” and made the following appeal:

“To the citizens of Russia: You are not our enemy.  And I do not believe you want a bloody, destructive war against Ukraine — a country and a people with whom you share such deep ties of family, history, and culture.”

All of a sudden as war seemed imminent and DC expected a quick Russian victory talk of “deep” Russo-Ukrainian ties became legitimate. If these ties could be mobilized to forestall the imminent Russian takeover then all of a sudden the US would remember them.

Well what if the US had paid homage to these alleged “deep ties” between the two a lot sooner? What if at any time between 2008 and 2020 the Imperial Capital formulated its NATO Ukraine policy thus:

“Ukraine interest in greater military ties with NATO and membership flatter us. Door for Ukraine membership is open and we are committed to accepting it as a member.“

“At the same time we are aware that while NATO is not an ant-Russian alliance, it is sadly sometimes percieved as one.

“Thus keeping in mind the deep ties of family, history, and culture as exist between Ukraine and Russia we do not wish to be a bone of discontent between the two or for NATO to harm these ties.

“Thus we will accept Ukraine into NATO when Russia is also ready to make this step.

“Until then we will not seek military ties with Ukraine or have forces there.”

Very simple. US wants Ukraine but in a package with its partner Russia with whom it shares “such deep ties of family, history, and culture”.

Had this been US policy I don’t think there would have been a war. With such a US stance Kiev would have to act differently, with more realism, creating space for normal Russo-Ukrainian relations. And if these existed Putin would have something to lose by going to war. — A situation that in 2021 no longer existed.

But of course why would that be US policy? Trying to raise tension between Kiev and Moscow and hurt the “deep ties” between Ukraine and Russia had been Washington’s policy precisely.

This war is a godsend for the Empire, especially since it didn’t result in the abrupt Russian takeover.

Anti-Empire - Fri Nov 25, 2022 14:04

Vladimir Putin just finished hosting Dmitry Mazepin at the Kremlin. Mazepin is an oligarch, and a bigshot at the Russian Union of Industrialists, a big business interest group.

Mazepin is also the owner of Russian fertilizer giant Uralchem.

The oligarch briefed Putin on Uralchem’s efforts to transport some of the 262,000 tons of fertilizer frozen in European ports to African countries for free. Europeans no longer want the fertilizer but their sanctions are also blocking its transport so the Russians are working with the UN to unfreeze it for charity.

Mazepin also reminded Putin that the July deal to lift the Russian naval blockade of Ukraine for grain ships included language that signatories will support the export of Russian ammonia, but that this export remains impossible.

Uralchem would normally export ammonia — a component in fertilizer — via a pipeline to Odessa port. But since the war, Ukraine has closed the pipeline citing US sanctions on suspected Uralchem owners Dmitry Mazepin and Arkady Rotenberg.

The grain deal extension that was just signed this month also includes some of this aspirational ammonia language, but again to no effect.

Putin assured Mazepin that Russia will be working to try to get the UN and Ukraine to reopen the export pipeline. (Something Zelensky has said is possible only if Russia agrees to a POW exchange on the basis of “all for all”.)

There are different angles that Putin’s interest in ammonia and fertilizer exports could be seen from.

1. An idealist might say that getting fertilizer out to the hungry world was important and that this was precisely the noble and humanist pursuit that a Russian leader should be associated with.

2. A cynic might say that in the middle of a bloody war that he was sending regular Ivans from Sverdlovsk to fight and die in, it was in poor taste of Putin to make the monetary losses for a fertilizer oligarch a big concern of his.

3. A realist might say that whether laudable or deplorable, all this ammonia business was small-fry and the last thing a war leader should be spending his time on. This is supposedly an “existential” war against “satanism” that Putin has already sacrificed 25,000 Russian lives to. One in which the path to victory seems very uncertain and that the West has unloaded so many weapons into that it is starting to run out of things to send. So why isn’t Putin spending his every waking minute visiting every last foundry, steel mill, and defense plant in the country, ringing their ears to increase production and twisting the arms of moneymen to give them everything they need, regardless of the cost? (Instead Moscow doesn’t even want to pay for the mobilization but is instead pushing the cost onto the regions.)

At the same time as Putin was hosting Mazepin to discuss the humanitarian subjects of fertilizer for Africans and profits for oligarchs, Russia's richest prison gang, Wagner PMC was sending a “message” to Euro parliament. The “message” turned out to be a red-stained hammer implying that it was the hammer used in the murder of Yury Nuzhin.

https://twitter.com/boorn7/status/1595717376061972480

Putin is at least partly singing onto fertilizer giveaways and talking about them for PR reasons. So I wonder why Prigozhin is allowed to run around spoiling this.

Regardless of whether Putin should be spending energy on the opening up of an ammonium pipeline through Ukraine, Prigozhin certainly shouldn’t feel himself free to send a murder weapon to Euro parliament while that is happening. And how is it going to reflect on Russia’s image? Certainly not in a way that any normal Russians can welcome, I can tell you that. The Russian mainstream reaction on Yaplakal forums is heavily negative as you might expect.

Arguably there might be a utility to keeping a dog like Prigozhin with his career-criminal world outlook around. I would argue against it, but maybe there is such a reason. But there is absolutely no reason not to leash such a dog, but to allow him to run around to the point of now even interfering with foreign policy.

We can talk about all the ways the Russian state was eroded in the 1990s during Yeltsin, but even Yeltsin didn’t find himself with a part of his foreign policy outsourced to an ex-convict oligarch.

https://twitter.com/DupontBrigitte4/status/1595776118594080770

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ifOyCqdmSpw

Vladimir Putin just finished hosting Dmitry Mazepin at the Kremlin. Mazepin is an oligarch, and a bigshot at the Russian Union of Industrialists, a big business interest group.

Mazepin is also the owner of Russian fertilizer giant Uralchem.

The oligarch briefed Putin on Uralchem’s efforts to transport some of the 262,000 tons of fertilizer frozen in European ports to African countries for free. Europeans no longer want the fertilizer but their sanctions are also blocking its transport so the Russians are working with the UN to unfreeze it for charity.

Mazepin also reminded Putin that the July deal to lift the Russian naval blockade of Ukraine for grain ships included language that signatories will support the export of Russian ammonia, but that this export remains impossible.

Uralchem would normally export ammonia — a component in fertilizer — via a pipeline to Odessa port. But since the war, Ukraine has closed the pipeline citing US sanctions on suspected Uralchem owners Dmitry Mazepin and Arkady Rotenberg.

The grain deal extension that was just signed this month also includes some of this aspirational ammonia language, but again to no effect.

Putin assured Mazepin that Russia will be working to try to get the UN and Ukraine to reopen the export pipeline. (Something Zelensky has said is possible only if Russia agrees to a POW exchange on the basis of “all for all”.)

There are different angles that Putin’s interest in ammonia and fertilizer exports could be seen from.

1. An idealist might say that getting fertilizer out to the hungry world was important and that this was precisely the noble and humanist pursuit that a Russian leader should be associated with.

2. A cynic might say that in the middle of a bloody war that he was sending regular Ivans from Sverdlovsk to fight and die in, it was in poor taste of Putin to make the monetary losses for a fertilizer oligarch a big concern of his.

3. A realist might say that whether laudable or deplorable, all this ammonia business was small-fry and the last thing a war leader should be spending his time on. This is supposedly an “existential” war against “satanism” that Putin has already sacrificed 25,000 Russian lives to. One in which the path to victory seems very uncertain and that the West has unloaded so many weapons into that it is starting to run out of things to send. So why isn’t Putin spending his every waking minute visiting every last foundry, steel mill, and defense plant in the country, ringing their ears to increase production and twisting the arms of moneymen to give them everything they need, regardless of the cost? (Instead Moscow doesn’t even want to pay for the mobilization but is instead pushing the cost onto the regions.)

At the same time as Putin was hosting Mazepin to discuss the humanitarian subjects of fertilizer for Africans and profits for oligarchs, Russia's richest prison gang, Wagner PMC was sending a “message” to Euro parliament. The “message” turned out to be a red-stained hammer implying that it was the hammer used in the murder of Yury Nuzhin.

https://twitter.com/boorn7/status/1595717376061972480

Putin is at least partly singing onto fertilizer giveaways and talking about them for PR reasons. So I wonder why Prigozhin is allowed to run around spoiling this.

Regardless of whether Putin should be spending energy on the opening up of an ammonium pipeline through Ukraine, Prigozhin certainly shouldn’t feel himself free to send a murder weapon to Euro parliament while that is happening. And how is it going to reflect on Russia’s image? Certainly not in a way that any normal Russians can welcome, I can tell you that. The Russian mainstream reaction on Yaplakal forums is heavily negative as you might expect.

Arguably there might be a utility to keeping a dog like Prigozhin with his career-criminal world outlook around. I would argue against it, but maybe there is such a reason. But there is absolutely no reason not to leash such a dog, but to allow him to run around to the point of now even interfering with foreign policy.

We can talk about all the ways the Russian state was eroded in the 1990s during Yeltsin, but even Yeltsin didn’t find himself with a part of his foreign policy outsourced to an ex-convict oligarch.

https://twitter.com/DupontBrigitte4/status/1595776118594080770

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ifOyCqdmSpw

Anti-Empire - Sun Nov 20, 2022 12:03

Until the moment that Kherson withdrawal was suddenly announced on Russian state TV last week, the official line was that Russia would defend the city forever, but that residents should evacuate anyway due to some business with the nearby dam.

Well, what if you were someone who wasn’t worried about the dam, but you were satisfied that the Russian military would defend Kherson until the end of times as you were being actively told? In that case, you probably stayed.

And then you ended up like this:

Like this:

https://twitter.com/DanReznikWSWS/status/1593271061080145920

Or like this:

https://twitter.com/bayraktar_1love/status/1593622437849079808

Or like this:

https://twitter.com/bayraktar_1love/status/1593318300401995778

And these are just the cases publicized by the SBU or captured by Western media.

To be a Russian and to swallow official state truths “vaccination will be voluntary”, “war is unthinkable”, “mobilization is not on the agenda”, “we’re staying in Kherson forever” can be literally life-threatening. Critical thinking and distrust of the government is a skill that in the Russian World can be critical just to bare survival.

It is also quite absurd that for the longest time Moscow couldn’t articulate to the people what the war was for or aboutand then when it finally seemed to have figured out something moderately convincing and inspiring it lasted all of five seconds. — That’s how long it took for anyone who bought into it to the west side of the Dnieper to be unceremoniously stabbed in the back.

On September 30th Putin announced Kherson was now Russia and threw a big party in Moscow. 40 days later Russia was pulling out.

Great powers do have the tendency to ultimately betray the locals who take their side in a difficult and messy conflict. But that usually happens after 10 or 15 years of fighting. Putin’s Russia did it after 6 weeks. It was a jet-powered stab in the back.

People of Donbass started the war as second-class citizens of the Russian World, subject to a general mobilization while Russia wouldn’t even contribute serving conscripts to the joint war. The annexation to Russia was supposed to start slowly changing that, equalize their rights within the Russkiy Mir. Indeed at least Donbass students are now ordered demobilized since they’re exempt from partial mobilization in Russia.

But for pro-Russian Khersonians the annexation just further exposed how expendable they really were. They were told that they were formally Russia. And then they were told that this didn’t matter, that their piece of Russia alone the Russian military would not defend. Worse, they didn’t even get a honest, non-BS warning to get the hell out. They were lied to until the very last minute.

Rybar reporting on November 10:

As a result, according to the available information, there are about 70-100 thousand residents left in the city. But after the withdrawal of Russian troops was officially announced in the evening of November 9, many people began to evacuate.

Boats and ferries to the left bank from Kherson still operate, but they cannot deal with the flow of people wishing to evacuate. People are crossing by boat, private citizens charge 500 UAH ($13) per person, saving lives. There is a pontoon crossing, but it has a small capacity.

Authorities have announced that boats will operate until November 11, that is, tomorrow. [In fact there were no boats as the Ukrainians entered the next day.]

It can be assumed that Ukrainian armed forces will enter the city in the next few days (according to some reports, Ukrainian troops have already reached Chornobaivka, and recon groups are already in Kherson city). Not all of those who wished to evacuate will be able to do so.

How did this happen? For a long time, Russian authorities were proving that they'd come to Kherson for good, and would not leave. Even before November 9, there were contradictory statements about the readiness to fight for the city to the end. And now, we are where we are.

Many of those who are now trying to leave Kherson risk dying if they stay. This includes the members of commissions that organized the referendum, whose info was handed to Ukrainian authorities. They face up to 15 years in prison or simply death via "filtration measures".

Until the moment that Kherson withdrawal was suddenly announced on Russian state TV last week, the official line was that Russia would defend the city forever, but that residents should evacuate anyway due to some business with the nearby dam.

Well, what if you were someone who wasn’t worried about the dam, but you were satisfied that the Russian military would defend Kherson until the end of times as you were being actively told? In that case, you probably stayed.

And then you ended up like this:

Like this:

https://twitter.com/DanReznikWSWS/status/1593271061080145920

Or like this:

https://twitter.com/bayraktar_1love/status/1593622437849079808

Or like this:

https://twitter.com/bayraktar_1love/status/1593318300401995778

And these are just the cases publicized by the SBU or captured by Western media.

To be a Russian and to swallow official state truths “vaccination will be voluntary”, “war is unthinkable”, “mobilization is not on the agenda”, “we’re staying in Kherson forever” can be literally life-threatening. Critical thinking and distrust of the government is a skill that in the Russian World can be critical just to bare survival.

It is also quite absurd that for the longest time Moscow couldn’t articulate to the people what the war was for or aboutand then when it finally seemed to have figured out something moderately convincing and inspiring it lasted all of five seconds. — That’s how long it took for anyone who bought into it to the west side of the Dnieper to be unceremoniously stabbed in the back.

On September 30th Putin announced Kherson was now Russia and threw a big party in Moscow. 40 days later Russia was pulling out.

Great powers do have the tendency to ultimately betray the locals who take their side in a difficult and messy conflict. But that usually happens after 10 or 15 years of fighting. Putin’s Russia did it after 6 weeks. It was a jet-powered stab in the back.

People of Donbass started the war as second-class citizens of the Russian World, subject to a general mobilization while Russia wouldn’t even contribute serving conscripts to the joint war. The annexation to Russia was supposed to start slowly changing that, equalize their rights within the Russkiy Mir. Indeed at least Donbass students are now ordered demobilized since they’re exempt from partial mobilization in Russia.

But for pro-Russian Khersonians the annexation just further exposed how expendable they really were. They were told that they were formally Russia. And then they were told that this didn’t matter, that their piece of Russia alone the Russian military would not defend. Worse, they didn’t even get a honest, non-BS warning to get the hell out. They were lied to until the very last minute.

Rybar reporting on November 10:

As a result, according to the available information, there are about 70-100 thousand residents left in the city. But after the withdrawal of Russian troops was officially announced in the evening of November 9, many people began to evacuate.

Boats and ferries to the left bank from Kherson still operate, but they cannot deal with the flow of people wishing to evacuate. People are crossing by boat, private citizens charge 500 UAH ($13) per person, saving lives. There is a pontoon crossing, but it has a small capacity.

Authorities have announced that boats will operate until November 11, that is, tomorrow. [In fact there were no boats as the Ukrainians entered the next day.]

It can be assumed that Ukrainian armed forces will enter the city in the next few days (according to some reports, Ukrainian troops have already reached Chornobaivka, and recon groups are already in Kherson city). Not all of those who wished to evacuate will be able to do so.

How did this happen? For a long time, Russian authorities were proving that they'd come to Kherson for good, and would not leave. Even before November 9, there were contradictory statements about the readiness to fight for the city to the end. And now, we are where we are.

Many of those who are now trying to leave Kherson risk dying if they stay. This includes the members of commissions that organized the referendum, whose info was handed to Ukrainian authorities. They face up to 15 years in prison or simply death via "filtration measures".

Anti-Empire - Sat Nov 19, 2022 03:50

The US has so far transferred around one million 155 mm artillery shells to Ukraine. One million since late-Aprilearly-May when the shipments started, or 150,000 per month. That is not counting the 152 mm shells that someone (likely the US) is buying in Bulgaria and transferring via Poland to Ukraine.

Along with the financial aid, and satellite support, the shells are the most important aspect of US intervention in the Russo-Ukrainian war.

The quantities being transferred over are so great that the US stockpile is noticeably shrinking. The one million shells transferred in seven months represent about 20% of the pre-war stockpile, and the production doesn’t come close to covering the deliveries. Pre-war production in most years was well under 300,000 annually, which wouldn’t even cover two months of transfers.

It is quite likely that in the medium term the US will start rationing its deliveries, assuming that the US won’t want to go under 50% of the pre-war stockpile. I guess that in one sense this is “good news” for Russia. But viewed differently it also means that in America’s shell-delivery war against Russia the only limiting factor for DC is shell availability.

That is quite something when you consider that in March-April the US was debating with itself whether to introduce American-caliber artillery to the conflict at all, wondering if that was too much of an escalation.

Indeed from February through April there was a lot of American talk of “self-imposed red lines” on US arms shipments which has now disappeared.

In terms of deterring US arms shipments, the Russian leadership can be deemed to have failed. Now let’s be fair. There are objective reasons for that. The Empire with its vassal swarm simply is considerably more powerful than Russia. Complete deterrence was never possible. The US was always going to send over some weapons and was always going to be gradually escalating the quantities and types of weapons it was sending. However, the problem that I see is that at every step the Kremlin has acted to encourage the Americans to send more weapons, rather than to discourage them. Instead of offering deterrence — no matter how limited — Kremlin’s peculiar prosecution of the war has served as an open invitation to the Americans to send more.

One piece of news this week has been that the US has transferred over so many shells to be fired at Russian soldiers that this is straining its stockpiles. One other piece of news this week has been that Putin has re-entered the “grain deal” (after being outside of it for the whole of 2 days) and that he guarantees the safety of commercial shipping sailing to and from Ukrainian ports.

That is bizarre, isn’t it? As you have the enemy feed one million shells into Russia’s war to be fired to kill Russian soldiers, Vladimir Putin is rewarding it by entering into a “grain deal”. At this point why in the world wouldn’t the Americans be sending over these shells? What do they have to fear??

https://twitter.com/ZelenskyyUa/status/1593624260559441921

Russia forsaking a naval blockade helps out Ukraine’s budget leaving more money for the military and it eases the load on its railways. The grain would still get out eventually but every railway car that is carrying grain is a car that can’t transport something else. The Russian military will (sometimes) hit Ukraine’s railway infrastructure and at the same time, Putin will be concluding deals to make the life of the railways easier.

(I am told that the grain deal grants some SWIFT-related concessions to Russia as well which make its own export of grain and fertilizer easier, but even this part of the deal also benefits the West by lowering world prices.)

Look, I am not remotely saying that Putin could get a deal where he would allow grain to get out, and in return, the US would stop bringing in shells. That obviously would never happen. What I am saying is that by half-assing his war to such an enormous extent Putin is constantly signaling to the US that this isn’t an important conflict for him, and that the US intervening with these arms shipments isn’t a big deal.

I read his essay and therefore I know that his Ukrainian enterprise is actually enormously important to him. He views it as a belated, desperate, existential war to preserve the last vestiges of the All-Russian nation. The last bit of a united East Slav identity.

(Arguably war is precisely the wrong tool for this, but it is also the case that the very reason the invasion plan was so toothless and so disastrous, is that it went to extreme lengths to try to produce a result while avoiding any real war, — regardless of how utterly improbable that outcome actually was. If there was any chance at all that SMO could win Ukraine without a war he was going to explore that possibility to the fullest.)

But the fact that the war in Ukraine actually is enormously important to Putin and to Russia doesn’t matter, when at the same time: War has not been declared. It is deemed a “special military operation”. Conscripts have been made non-deployable. Russia didn’t mobilize for 7-months into it, and still hasn’t touched the Dniper bridges. “Grain deals” continue to be made and Russian gas continues to flow through Ukraine for Western markets. When Putin does stuff like fly off to Vladivostok to observe an irrelevant military drill while his outnumbered soldiers (and cops) are about to get hit by a massive Ukrainian offensive in Kharkov.

In fact, the main message that Moscow tried to project at home until the September disaster in Kharkov was that nothing had changed. That peacetime has not been broken and that normalcy will continue.

When you lay all that on top of each other, then why the Empire shouldn’t pour weapons by the planeload into your war? When you’re being so cavalier about your own war, then why should America be very careful not to rush ahead of its “self-imposed red lines”? There was literally the situation that the Russian effort was screaming out for manpower and Putin wouldn’t do something as simple as proclaim Russia to be in a state of war and release the 150,000 already-trained conscripts into the war even as Ukraine kept expanding its force by leaps and bounds.

Why should the US have been nervous about escalating its transfers when Putin was pursuing the war with all of the intensity owed to some no-stakes adventure in Africa?

Particularly sending shells that will now kill — not just professional Russian soldiers — but also just normal Ivans mobilized for the war is, I think, a qualitative difference. Pouring in heavy weapons into a war that regular Russian citizens are going to serve in en masse would normally be quite a grave and escalatory step to take.

Had Putin prosecuted the war with conscripts and mobiki from the start it seems likely to me that Americans would have been a lot more careful and would have balked at sending in US-made artillery quite so early. And if this greater Russian manpower also meant that the Russian war was proceeding much better the Americans would have remained respectful for even longer.

Instead, we have the situation now where regular Russians are being introduced into a conflict in which gigantic US 155-mm deliveries are already a fact and thus a “non-issue”.

And the situation where Americans are delivering shells to be fired to try and kill Russian soldiers at such break-neck speed that they’re starting to be worried for the state of their stockpiles, and looking for ways to boost production.

Regardless of what you think of the Russian war in Ukraine the inverse is of course entirely impossible. The idea that the US would invade a country, say Iraq, and that Russia would then pour weapons to help kill Americans is preposterous. There was the brouhaha about Russian-paid “bounties” in Afghanistan but that was all made up. The US hasn’t fought a war where somebody was actively arming the other side since Viet Nam fifty years ago in an entirely different world.

But to the reverse scenario of America propping up the other side in a Russian war, Putin has no answer. In fact, with his dilly-dallying, he assured the Americans of his confusion and invited the problem of fast-growing US intervention into his home.

The big problem with defending Putin’s performance in this war is that it hasn’t even been average. It’s not just not-judo and not-5D. It has been anti-judo and anti-5DIt’s just one rudimentary unforced mistake after another.

I understand that he was hoping against hope that when he rolled across the border that Zelensky would just flee and the Ukrainian state would fall apart. That he could have Russo-Ukrainian unity restored without the need for a fratricidal war. And that he had only the fuzziest idea of how to proceed if that didn’t happen.

But the fact is that it didn’t happen. The fact is that people are dying and that his procrastination is making it worse. Worse for Russia, and worse for himself.

Even his own position is not improved by this endless refusal to take command of the situation. Yes, on February 24 it was his action that got him into a great big mess. But since then it has been his inaction that has been digging his hole deeper. Small problems today grow into bigger problems tomorrow.

Since February 24 he has looked like a man who, afraid of what is in the envelopes, refuses to read his mail until the unpaid bills pile up to where he loses the house.

There are 300,000 regular Ivans from Sverdlovsk headed to the front where a daily barrage of 5000 US-made shells awaits them. Perhaps this is not the time for grain deals, gas deals, and signing onto G20 COVID declarations? Perhaps now is the time to give NATO a reason for pause?

Or else, as tonight some Ivan’s gut spills out from an American 155-mm he can die in the comfort of knowing that Russia “hasn’t even started anything serious yet”?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DRXQZUcrvzM

Well, what are you waiting for? The Americans are starting without you.

The US has so far transferred around one million 155 mm artillery shells to Ukraine. One million since late-Aprilearly-May when the shipments started, or 150,000 per month. That is not counting the 152 mm shells that someone (likely the US) is buying in Bulgaria and transferring via Poland to Ukraine.

Along with the financial aid, and satellite support, the shells are the most important aspect of US intervention in the Russo-Ukrainian war.

The quantities being transferred over are so great that the US stockpile is noticeably shrinking. The one million shells transferred in seven months represent about 20% of the pre-war stockpile, and the production doesn’t come close to covering the deliveries. Pre-war production in most years was well under 300,000 annually, which wouldn’t even cover two months of transfers.

It is quite likely that in the medium term the US will start rationing its deliveries, assuming that the US won’t want to go under 50% of the pre-war stockpile. I guess that in one sense this is “good news” for Russia. But viewed differently it also means that in America’s shell-delivery war against Russia the only limiting factor for DC is shell availability.

That is quite something when you consider that in March-April the US was debating with itself whether to introduce American-caliber artillery to the conflict at all, wondering if that was too much of an escalation.

Indeed from February through April there was a lot of American talk of “self-imposed red lines” on US arms shipments which has now disappeared.

In terms of deterring US arms shipments, the Russian leadership can be deemed to have failed. Now let’s be fair. There are objective reasons for that. The Empire with its vassal swarm simply is considerably more powerful than Russia. Complete deterrence was never possible. The US was always going to send over some weapons and was always going to be gradually escalating the quantities and types of weapons it was sending. However, the problem that I see is that at every step the Kremlin has acted to encourage the Americans to send more weapons, rather than to discourage them. Instead of offering deterrence — no matter how limited — Kremlin’s peculiar prosecution of the war has served as an open invitation to the Americans to send more.

One piece of news this week has been that the US has transferred over so many shells to be fired at Russian soldiers that this is straining its stockpiles. One other piece of news this week has been that Putin has re-entered the “grain deal” (after being outside of it for the whole of 2 days) and that he guarantees the safety of commercial shipping sailing to and from Ukrainian ports.

That is bizarre, isn’t it? As you have the enemy feed one million shells into Russia’s war to be fired to kill Russian soldiers, Vladimir Putin is rewarding it by entering into a “grain deal”. At this point why in the world wouldn’t the Americans be sending over these shells? What do they have to fear??

https://twitter.com/ZelenskyyUa/status/1593624260559441921

Russia forsaking a naval blockade helps out Ukraine’s budget leaving more money for the military and it eases the load on its railways. The grain would still get out eventually but every railway car that is carrying grain is a car that can’t transport something else. The Russian military will (sometimes) hit Ukraine’s railway infrastructure and at the same time, Putin will be concluding deals to make the life of the railways easier.

(I am told that the grain deal grants some SWIFT-related concessions to Russia as well which make its own export of grain and fertilizer easier, but even this part of the deal also benefits the West by lowering world prices.)

Look, I am not remotely saying that Putin could get a deal where he would allow grain to get out, and in return, the US would stop bringing in shells. That obviously would never happen. What I am saying is that by half-assing his war to such an enormous extent Putin is constantly signaling to the US that this isn’t an important conflict for him, and that the US intervening with these arms shipments isn’t a big deal.

I read his essay and therefore I know that his Ukrainian enterprise is actually enormously important to him. He views it as a belated, desperate, existential war to preserve the last vestiges of the All-Russian nation. The last bit of a united East Slav identity.

(Arguably war is precisely the wrong tool for this, but it is also the case that the very reason the invasion plan was so toothless and so disastrous, is that it went to extreme lengths to try to produce a result while avoiding any real war, — regardless of how utterly improbable that outcome actually was. If there was any chance at all that SMO could win Ukraine without a war he was going to explore that possibility to the fullest.)

But the fact that the war in Ukraine actually is enormously important to Putin and to Russia doesn’t matter, when at the same time: War has not been declared. It is deemed a “special military operation”. Conscripts have been made non-deployable. Russia didn’t mobilize for 7-months into it, and still hasn’t touched the Dniper bridges. “Grain deals” continue to be made and Russian gas continues to flow through Ukraine for Western markets. When Putin does stuff like fly off to Vladivostok to observe an irrelevant military drill while his outnumbered soldiers (and cops) are about to get hit by a massive Ukrainian offensive in Kharkov.

In fact, the main message that Moscow tried to project at home until the September disaster in Kharkov was that nothing had changed. That peacetime has not been broken and that normalcy will continue.

When you lay all that on top of each other, then why the Empire shouldn’t pour weapons by the planeload into your war? When you’re being so cavalier about your own war, then why should America be very careful not to rush ahead of its “self-imposed red lines”? There was literally the situation that the Russian effort was screaming out for manpower and Putin wouldn’t do something as simple as proclaim Russia to be in a state of war and release the 150,000 already-trained conscripts into the war even as Ukraine kept expanding its force by leaps and bounds.

Why should the US have been nervous about escalating its transfers when Putin was pursuing the war with all of the intensity owed to some no-stakes adventure in Africa?

Particularly sending shells that will now kill — not just professional Russian soldiers — but also just normal Ivans mobilized for the war is, I think, a qualitative difference. Pouring in heavy weapons into a war that regular Russian citizens are going to serve in en masse would normally be quite a grave and escalatory step to take.

Had Putin prosecuted the war with conscripts and mobiki from the start it seems likely to me that Americans would have been a lot more careful and would have balked at sending in US-made artillery quite so early. And if this greater Russian manpower also meant that the Russian war was proceeding much better the Americans would have remained respectful for even longer.

Instead, we have the situation now where regular Russians are being introduced into a conflict in which gigantic US 155-mm deliveries are already a fact and thus a “non-issue”.

And the situation where Americans are delivering shells to be fired to try and kill Russian soldiers at such break-neck speed that they’re starting to be worried for the state of their stockpiles, and looking for ways to boost production.

Regardless of what you think of the Russian war in Ukraine the inverse is of course entirely impossible. The idea that the US would invade a country, say Iraq, and that Russia would then pour weapons to help kill Americans is preposterous. There was the brouhaha about Russian-paid “bounties” in Afghanistan but that was all made up. The US hasn’t fought a war where somebody was actively arming the other side since Viet Nam fifty years ago in an entirely different world.

But to the reverse scenario of America propping up the other side in a Russian war, Putin has no answer. In fact, with his dilly-dallying, he assured the Americans of his confusion and invited the problem of fast-growing US intervention into his home.

The big problem with defending Putin’s performance in this war is that it hasn’t even been average. It’s not just not-judo and not-5D. It has been anti-judo and anti-5DIt’s just one rudimentary unforced mistake after another.

I understand that he was hoping against hope that when he rolled across the border that Zelensky would just flee and the Ukrainian state would fall apart. That he could have Russo-Ukrainian unity restored without the need for a fratricidal war. And that he had only the fuzziest idea of how to proceed if that didn’t happen.

But the fact is that it didn’t happen. The fact is that people are dying and that his procrastination is making it worse. Worse for Russia, and worse for himself.

Even his own position is not improved by this endless refusal to take command of the situation. Yes, on February 24 it was his action that got him into a great big mess. But since then it has been his inaction that has been digging his hole deeper. Small problems today grow into bigger problems tomorrow.

Since February 24 he has looked like a man who, afraid of what is in the envelopes, refuses to read his mail until the unpaid bills pile up to where he loses the house.

There are 300,000 regular Ivans from Sverdlovsk headed to the front where a daily barrage of 5000 US-made shells awaits them. Perhaps this is not the time for grain deals, gas deals, and signing onto G20 COVID declarations? Perhaps now is the time to give NATO a reason for pause?

Or else, as tonight some Ivan’s gut spills out from an American 155-mm he can die in the comfort of knowing that Russia “hasn’t even started anything serious yet”?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DRXQZUcrvzM

Well, what are you waiting for? The Americans are starting without you.

Anti-Empire - Wed Nov 16, 2022 15:13

Thanks a bunch to the 9 readers who donated this time around! Also thanks to the nearly 400 of you who donated to AE at any point in the last 3.5 years!

I'm going to have to change some things around here, but I'm going to make sure all of you who donated will get your money's worth, and more.

The reason for the changes is that a second fundraiser in a row has now fallen short of the target.

I am very glad that an incredible twelve fundraisers that came before that were successful. It was a great ride and a great privilege to have served you!

Now let's see if I can shake things up in a way to make AE in some form sustainable again, or else I'll have to call it quits and get a real-life job. (Which is also fine.)

 

-- Marko Marjanović, owner/publisher/editor/author/webmaster of Anti-Empire

 

Target wasn't met, but $250 was raised which will do something and it does help. Thank you loyal readers!

Thanks a bunch to the 9 readers who donated this time around! Also thanks to the nearly 400 of you who donated to AE at any point in the last 3.5 years!

I'm going to have to change some things around here, but I'm going to make sure all of you who donated will get your money's worth, and more.

The reason for the changes is that a second fundraiser in a row has now fallen short of the target.

I am very glad that an incredible twelve fundraisers that came before that were successful. It was a great ride and a great privilege to have served you!

Now let's see if I can shake things up in a way to make AE in some form sustainable again, or else I'll have to call it quits and get a real-life job. (Which is also fine.)

 

-- Marko Marjanović, owner/publisher/editor/author/webmaster of Anti-Empire

 

Target wasn't met, but $250 was raised which will do something and it does help. Thank you loyal readers!

Anti-Empire - Tue Nov 15, 2022 21:56

If waiting for the next AE article to drop ever gets too much you could always visit some of the same sources I use. Here is some of the stuff I pay attention to and recommend.

Ukraine Russia Report is a good subreddit to follow just because they have pro-Russian and pro-Ukrainian posters and content alike. It’s good to be exposed to both to keep yourself honest. And the participants are far smarter than the posters on the Ukrainian Conflict subreddit which is far bigger, but a giant circle-jerk and just deranged. (The pro-Ukrainian version of our 5D imbeciles.)

https://www.reddit.com/r/UkraineRussiaReport/

https://twitter.com/200_zoka/status/1567979459416039424

Moving on to Telegram. The pickings in English are scarce, the biggest channels remain cringe. I would recommend Zoka, who was perhaps the first of the pro-Russian battlefield updates people to get red-pilled. Starting out actively dismissive of Strelkov he later admitted that Strelkov Was Right.

https://t.me/zoka200

The other one is Ghost who somehow manages to be both low-brow and a huge snowflake at the same time, but after Liman and Kherson he has become a lot more red-pilled himself now, so that’s something.

https://t.me/ghostnewsx

In the Russian language, the best channel is Strelkov’s own. But since he has left for the front (he’s a deputy commander in a merc battalion) he has stopped updating it. However, he left us with a prophecy:

https://twitter.com/DrazaM33/status/1582462159707340800

He offered the kremlins a way to shut him up, and they finally took it. Right after they had delivered the fiascos he had been warning about for months. Good luck legend, and watch your back. Don’t end up like Stremousov.

https://t.me/strelkovii

Another very good channel is Donrf. Another very realistic guy, and with tons of on-the-ground knowledge from DNR. He also posts everything to his LiveJournal blog where he started.

https://t.me/donrf22

The Russian Telegram channels are numerous, with different focuses, and the big ones are also extremely active so that it’s impossible to fully follow more than a few. Sladkov and WarGonzo are the two best battlefield correspondents, there’s the Greyzone and Reverse Side of the Medal if you want to know what low-level Wagnerites are thinking, there’s the POW/gore channel Chub Detection, there’s the black piller El Murid… there are all kinds and it’s impossible to monitor them all.

Of the general war channels, Rybar is the most interesting because there now exists a project on Twitter to translate parts of it:

https://twitter.com/rybar_en

I was critical of Rybar in the past, mercilessly (and deservedly) so, but over time it has gotten considerably better and more red-pilled. It started out very uncritically but after one disillusionment after another, it is now a soft-Strelkovite channel.

https://t.me/rybar

Actually, this gradual shift from cheerleading to becoming sharply critical of how the kremlins are running the war effort has marked the entire Russian military blogosphere (including the Telegram microblogs). The only exceptions are the very few who were realists from the very start. (Only in the English language can you still find Kremlin apologists.)

Moving onto HTML. Military Review is the big one. A hangout of former servicemen and military buffs with 30 million monthly views. It was home to some outspoken realist voices from the start, chiefly the irrepressible Viktor Biryukov (from LNR).

But early on much of the publication and its stable of authors had escapist tendencies. Perhaps out of a sense of loyalty they avoided being openly critical. Instead of pointing out problems with the running war they were churning out irrelevant off-topic material on old history and hardware. That is all over now. They’ve had a ton of fantastic stuff recently, and now most everyone there is a Strelkov reincarnate.

https://en.topwar.ru/

Kenigtiger is another Russian LiveJournal blogger, who is well-regarded in the realist (reality-based) community. He is a LNR veteran.

https://kenigtiger.livejournal.com/

Another valuable resource is the Yaplakal forum. This is just a giant general message board with a news/events section as one of many. Why it is so valuable is that you can see what stories Russian “normies” are reading and how they feel about things.

Not what they are being served by the boomer state TV, but how they actually feel.

It was interesting to observe that Yaplakal posters when the war broke out switched from anti-Covidianism and government-hating typical of ordinary Russians, to uncritical hurrah patriotism, but which lasted only weeks. The “normie” Russian internet users actually came down to earth much faster than did the military blogosphere like Rybar. In Russia it was the “normies" who instinctively recognized something was going terribly wrong and that Shoigu was full of shit before the specialists did. (Or at least before the specialists spoke up.)

Check it out. Maybe you’ll be surprised by the level of cynicism and realism on the ground in Russia. You think I’m too critical of Putin/Kremlin? Every Russian I have ever spoken to got annoyed with me within 10 minutes for being too pro-Putin and sounding too much like their boomer TV for their taste. And that’s just the gopniks I was drinking 2-liter plastic beers with on a Moscow Khrushchyovka rooftop at 3 am. (There was a 9-pm liquor ban but they knew an Uzbek shop that would sell it anyway.)

https://www.yaplakal.com/forum1

Erwan Castell at Alawata Rebellion is another guy to read. A French veteran and volunteer in the Donbass. Will speak harsh truths and point out incompetence when necessary. He's also on Telegram.

https://alawata-rebellion.blogspot.com/

Finally, in the English language, Daniel L Davies is interesting. He is a retired US Army lieutenant colonel but who was critical of US strategies and wars in Afghanistan and Syria. He remains moderately bullish on Russia’s prospects.

His is the most Russia-bullish take that I still find credible and could conceivably buy.

https://www.19fortyfive.com/author/daniel-l-davis/

If you’re on Twitter you can follow some of the accounts below:

AndrisBonebonoHyhshsSawtelledarko3-3-3smochlorineAlichemistBurmeseakMuirStrelkovWasRightSteLedevarbolBTEnriqueVVVVVCPisma.

A mix of Russians, Balkanics, Syrians and Westerners. They don’t post much to their timelines but they make realist comments under stuff so it should make the algorithm serve you up realist discussions from time to time.

Happy reading!

https://twitter.com/wartranslated/status/1578356564301271040

If waiting for the next AE article to drop ever gets too much you could always visit some of the same sources I use. Here is some of the stuff I pay attention to and recommend.

Ukraine Russia Report is a good subreddit to follow just because they have pro-Russian and pro-Ukrainian posters and content alike. It’s good to be exposed to both to keep yourself honest. And the participants are far smarter than the posters on the Ukrainian Conflict subreddit which is far bigger, but a giant circle-jerk and just deranged. (The pro-Ukrainian version of our 5D imbeciles.)

https://www.reddit.com/r/UkraineRussiaReport/

https://twitter.com/200_zoka/status/1567979459416039424

Moving on to Telegram. The pickings in English are scarce, the biggest channels remain cringe. I would recommend Zoka, who was perhaps the first of the pro-Russian battlefield updates people to get red-pilled. Starting out actively dismissive of Strelkov he later admitted that Strelkov Was Right.

https://t.me/zoka200

The other one is Ghost who somehow manages to be both low-brow and a huge snowflake at the same time, but after Liman and Kherson he has become a lot more red-pilled himself now, so that’s something.

https://t.me/ghostnewsx

In the Russian language, the best channel is Strelkov’s own. But since he has left for the front (he’s a deputy commander in a merc battalion) he has stopped updating it. However, he left us with a prophecy:

https://twitter.com/DrazaM33/status/1582462159707340800

He offered the kremlins a way to shut him up, and they finally took it. Right after they had delivered the fiascos he had been warning about for months. Good luck legend, and watch your back. Don’t end up like Stremousov.

https://t.me/strelkovii

Another very good channel is Donrf. Another very realistic guy, and with tons of on-the-ground knowledge from DNR. He also posts everything to his LiveJournal blog where he started.

https://t.me/donrf22

The Russian Telegram channels are numerous, with different focuses, and the big ones are also extremely active so that it’s impossible to fully follow more than a few. Sladkov and WarGonzo are the two best battlefield correspondents, there’s the Greyzone and Reverse Side of the Medal if you want to know what low-level Wagnerites are thinking, there’s the POW/gore channel Chub Detection, there’s the black piller El Murid… there are all kinds and it’s impossible to monitor them all.

Of the general war channels, Rybar is the most interesting because there now exists a project on Twitter to translate parts of it:

https://twitter.com/rybar_en

I was critical of Rybar in the past, mercilessly (and deservedly) so, but over time it has gotten considerably better and more red-pilled. It started out very uncritically but after one disillusionment after another, it is now a soft-Strelkovite channel.

https://t.me/rybar

Actually, this gradual shift from cheerleading to becoming sharply critical of how the kremlins are running the war effort has marked the entire Russian military blogosphere (including the Telegram microblogs). The only exceptions are the very few who were realists from the very start. (Only in the English language can you still find Kremlin apologists.)

Moving onto HTML. Military Review is the big one. A hangout of former servicemen and military buffs with 30 million monthly views. It was home to some outspoken realist voices from the start, chiefly the irrepressible Viktor Biryukov (from LNR).

But early on much of the publication and its stable of authors had escapist tendencies. Perhaps out of a sense of loyalty they avoided being openly critical. Instead of pointing out problems with the running war they were churning out irrelevant off-topic material on old history and hardware. That is all over now. They’ve had a ton of fantastic stuff recently, and now most everyone there is a Strelkov reincarnate.

https://en.topwar.ru/

Kenigtiger is another Russian LiveJournal blogger, who is well-regarded in the realist (reality-based) community. He is a LNR veteran.

https://kenigtiger.livejournal.com/

Another valuable resource is the Yaplakal forum. This is just a giant general message board with a news/events section as one of many. Why it is so valuable is that you can see what stories Russian “normies” are reading and how they feel about things.

Not what they are being served by the boomer state TV, but how they actually feel.

It was interesting to observe that Yaplakal posters when the war broke out switched from anti-Covidianism and government-hating typical of ordinary Russians, to uncritical hurrah patriotism, but which lasted only weeks. The “normie” Russian internet users actually came down to earth much faster than did the military blogosphere like Rybar. In Russia it was the “normies" who instinctively recognized something was going terribly wrong and that Shoigu was full of shit before the specialists did. (Or at least before the specialists spoke up.)

Check it out. Maybe you’ll be surprised by the level of cynicism and realism on the ground in Russia. You think I’m too critical of Putin/Kremlin? Every Russian I have ever spoken to got annoyed with me within 10 minutes for being too pro-Putin and sounding too much like their boomer TV for their taste. And that’s just the gopniks I was drinking 2-liter plastic beers with on a Moscow Khrushchyovka rooftop at 3 am. (There was a 9-pm liquor ban but they knew an Uzbek shop that would sell it anyway.)

https://www.yaplakal.com/forum1

Erwan Castell at Alawata Rebellion is another guy to read. A French veteran and volunteer in the Donbass. Will speak harsh truths and point out incompetence when necessary. He's also on Telegram.

https://alawata-rebellion.blogspot.com/

Finally, in the English language, Daniel L Davies is interesting. He is a retired US Army lieutenant colonel but who was critical of US strategies and wars in Afghanistan and Syria. He remains moderately bullish on Russia’s prospects.

His is the most Russia-bullish take that I still find credible and could conceivably buy.

https://www.19fortyfive.com/author/daniel-l-davis/

If you’re on Twitter you can follow some of the accounts below:

AndrisBonebonoHyhshsSawtelledarko3-3-3smochlorineAlichemistBurmeseakMuirStrelkovWasRightSteLedevarbolBTEnriqueVVVVVCPisma.

A mix of Russians, Balkanics, Syrians and Westerners. They don’t post much to their timelines but they make realist comments under stuff so it should make the algorithm serve you up realist discussions from time to time.

Happy reading!

https://twitter.com/wartranslated/status/1578356564301271040

Kelley Vlahos - Mon Nov 14, 2022 21:47

Source: Responsible Statecraft

Lost in the whirlwind of midterm election news last week was an announcement that not only will Washington send $400 million worth of additional weapons to Ukraine, but it is pushing forward with a new joint forces command, to be stationed in Germany, to “handle weapons shipments and personnel training.”

According to the Department of Defense, the new command, which was previously reported this summer, will be officially called the Security Assistance Group Ukraine, or SAGU, and will be based out of U.S. Army Europe and Africa headquarters in Wiesbaden, Germany. It will be a led by a 3-star general.

The command will involve 300 U.S. military personnel but will likely work closely with U.S. Army Europe and Africa’s training center in Grafenwoehr and Hohenfels as well as the service’s garrison in Baumholder. In addition, “the thousands of U.S. soldiers now positioned at training areas in Poland and Romania … could factor into the plans,” Stars & Stripes reported.

The new command is expected to have a long term presence, according to Stars & Stripes:

By establishing a dedicated headquarters focused on Ukraine support, the Pentagon is putting in place an organization to carry out what is expected to be a long-term mission.

The Wiesbaden headquarters is slated to be manned with personnel from across the military branches, making it a joint service operation. Tours are initially planned to last between six months and a year, but longer accompanied tours are also possible.

The U.S. government has now provided over $18 billion in weapons to Ukraine, and officials are crediting Kyiv’s successes against the Russian invasion to a constant flow of military assistance to the country. This new command signals a digging-in by the Western powers with the U.S. at the head, my Quincy Institute colleagues tell me.

“It is definitely a sign that the U.S. is preparing for a long war in Ukraine and long-term military competition with Russia,” says George Beebe. “You don’t put a 3-star in charge just to keep track of weapons flows in Ukraine.”

Anatol Lieven suggests this cements the current trajectory of US-European security. “In my view, it indicates that Ukraine is to be a ‘major non-NATO ally’ and a U.S. dependency, and that the U.S. will try to build the whole of European security around support for Ukraine and hostility to Russia.”

Of course, Washington has stopped short of putting U.S. boots on the ground in Ukraine to help President Zelensky in his aim of driving Russia out of his country. Polls continue to show that is not what the American people want. But having a 3-star just over the border, commanding billions in weapons and training efforts is getting as close as it gets.

It will be interesting to see if the administration keeps up its recent ostensible desire for peace negotiations. Certainly this new command “shows Moscow that the alternative to compromise is a U.S. that is ready and willing to provide robust military support for Ukraine for a long time to come,” says Beebe.

Source: Responsible Statecraft

Lost in the whirlwind of midterm election news last week was an announcement that not only will Washington send $400 million worth of additional weapons to Ukraine, but it is pushing forward with a new joint forces command, to be stationed in Germany, to “handle weapons shipments and personnel training.”

According to the Department of Defense, the new command, which was previously reported this summer, will be officially called the Security Assistance Group Ukraine, or SAGU, and will be based out of U.S. Army Europe and Africa headquarters in Wiesbaden, Germany. It will be a led by a 3-star general.

The command will involve 300 U.S. military personnel but will likely work closely with U.S. Army Europe and Africa’s training center in Grafenwoehr and Hohenfels as well as the service’s garrison in Baumholder. In addition, “the thousands of U.S. soldiers now positioned at training areas in Poland and Romania … could factor into the plans,” Stars & Stripes reported.

The new command is expected to have a long term presence, according to Stars & Stripes:

By establishing a dedicated headquarters focused on Ukraine support, the Pentagon is putting in place an organization to carry out what is expected to be a long-term mission.

The Wiesbaden headquarters is slated to be manned with personnel from across the military branches, making it a joint service operation. Tours are initially planned to last between six months and a year, but longer accompanied tours are also possible.

The U.S. government has now provided over $18 billion in weapons to Ukraine, and officials are crediting Kyiv’s successes against the Russian invasion to a constant flow of military assistance to the country. This new command signals a digging-in by the Western powers with the U.S. at the head, my Quincy Institute colleagues tell me.

“It is definitely a sign that the U.S. is preparing for a long war in Ukraine and long-term military competition with Russia,” says George Beebe. “You don’t put a 3-star in charge just to keep track of weapons flows in Ukraine.”

Anatol Lieven suggests this cements the current trajectory of US-European security. “In my view, it indicates that Ukraine is to be a ‘major non-NATO ally’ and a U.S. dependency, and that the U.S. will try to build the whole of European security around support for Ukraine and hostility to Russia.”

Of course, Washington has stopped short of putting U.S. boots on the ground in Ukraine to help President Zelensky in his aim of driving Russia out of his country. Polls continue to show that is not what the American people want. But having a 3-star just over the border, commanding billions in weapons and training efforts is getting as close as it gets.

It will be interesting to see if the administration keeps up its recent ostensible desire for peace negotiations. Certainly this new command “shows Moscow that the alternative to compromise is a U.S. that is ready and willing to provide robust military support for Ukraine for a long time to come,” says Beebe.

TASS - Mon Nov 14, 2022 20:56

Source: TASS

Russian-US talks did take place in Ankara on Monday at the initiative of the United States, Russian Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told TASS today.

"Such negotiations did, indeed, take place. They were initiated by the US side," the Kremlin spokesman said.

Peskov avoided disclosing the subject matter of the conversations. Earlier, Reuters, citing a White House official, reported that the director of the US Central Intelligence Agency, William Burns, was in the Turkish capital, where he had arrived to meet with his Russian counterpart.

The Kommersant daily wrote that talks were in progress in Ankara between Russian and US delegations. The director of the foreign intelligence service (SVR), Sergey Naryshkin, was reportedly representing Russia.

The Turkish authorities have not released any official comments. The NTV channel, citing sources in the Turkish special services, speculated that the meeting could be important for establishing lines of communication between Russia and the United States.

Source: TASS

Russian-US talks did take place in Ankara on Monday at the initiative of the United States, Russian Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told TASS today.

"Such negotiations did, indeed, take place. They were initiated by the US side," the Kremlin spokesman said.

Peskov avoided disclosing the subject matter of the conversations. Earlier, Reuters, citing a White House official, reported that the director of the US Central Intelligence Agency, William Burns, was in the Turkish capital, where he had arrived to meet with his Russian counterpart.

The Kommersant daily wrote that talks were in progress in Ankara between Russian and US delegations. The director of the foreign intelligence service (SVR), Sergey Naryshkin, was reportedly representing Russia.

The Turkish authorities have not released any official comments. The NTV channel, citing sources in the Turkish special services, speculated that the meeting could be important for establishing lines of communication between Russia and the United States.

Anti-Empire - Sun Nov 13, 2022 12:55

Abandoning Kherson (six weeks after it was supposedly annexed to Russia) might be the “correct”, pragmatic military decision in the immediate context in which it was made.

However, this does not:

  • Excuse the shockingly poor decision-making that created this context in which a withdrawal then made sense.
  • Excuse the weeks of lying there would be no retreat after it had already been greenlit and was being prepared for
  • Change the reality that Russia has now lost what was the most strategically valuable of its 2022 gains by far

Let’s start with the last point.

No Kherson means that Russia will more likely than not come out of this war a loser just as much as Ukraine will. No springboard on the right bank means a march on Odessa is most likely out of the question for this war. Without Odessa it’s very difficult to construe an outcome that would count as a Moscow victory. Russia could take half of the left bank (highly unlikely with the present posture) and without Odessa it will be a pyrrhic victory.

Then there is the lying. It is now clear as day that the purpose of the civilian evacuation was to make a military withdrawal politically digestible. Yet the whole time Russian officials maintained “Russia is here forever” and that the real reason for the evacuation was intel on some murky Ukrainian plot against the river dam.

What is the purpose of this constant lying? Who does this help? Why is Putin’s system pathologically incapable of leveling with the people and so comfortable with these Orwellian swings? One day a retreat from this esteemed Russian city was unthinkable and probably some NATO-planted rumor to discredit the armed forces. The next day it was the most impeccably correct military decision of all time. One that even the anti-RUMOD Kadyrov and Prigozhin are mobilized to defend if they want to keep favor with the boss who greenlighted it weeks ago as they surely now.

Then there is the supposed military impeccability of the decision to withdraw that we’re now informed we must celebrate. Thing is, the retreat does indeed have a ruthless military logic behind it — but only if you’re looking at the event through a straw. If a person takes an axe and chops off his leg then he probably should pull out of the upcoming track race he had signed up for. But does that really mean that we’re looking at someone who is great at track-racing logic??

Surovikin explains that he has to fall back because his supplies are shot. And I explain that he is telling the truth because his bridges are shot by HIMARS. But what are we talking about here? Russia incorporates Kherson into its sovereignty and hangs out billboards “Russia is here forever”“Kherson — With Russia for ages”“Kherson — Russian city” and then turns around and abandons the city of Suvorov, Ushakov, and Potemkin to the enemy because the Americans had sent over something as lightweight as puny little HIMARS (90-kg warhead with 90-km range)?

Firstly, you already knew that your bridges were shot when you “annexed” the city and told the folks Russia is never leaving. Secondly, are the Americans then gods? If the Americans are able to make an intervention into a Russian war as tiny as sending over some tiny little rockets and this being enough for Russia to abandon a storied Russian city, then maybe we should all become Washington slaves and start injecting hormone blockers right this minute because all resistance is obviously futile?!

But of course, the real reason Surovikin had to fall back isn’t because of HIMARS but because the Kherson bridgehead wasn’t expanded into something with real depth for several months while there was still plenty of opportunity and time. —Even without the HIMARS factor having a shallow bridgehead where an enemy advance of just 5 or 10 km can put your bridges in enemy howitzer range (and an advance of 30 km can cut you off) is a needlessly high-risk situation. —One that is acceptable early on as the bridgehead is being formed, or while you are occupied elsewhere, but that over the medium term you would be looking to rectify.

Had this been done, then by the time HIMARS made the appearance it would have been far less impactful. The reason this wasn’t done is by now known to all my readers. It’s the same old refrain of force availability and dispersion. Later on there just weren’t enough men compared to what the Ukrainians had. And early on when the Russians were still ascendant they were just way too dispersed over way too many objectives to properly leverage that.

So no. That the Russians withdrew because they are slaves to ruthless military logic and thus naturally had to retreat when their supply was lost is only true through a straw. But throw away that straw and the broader truth is that the Russian army was forced to abandon a Russian city because the Russian leader for 7 months stood in defiant rebellion against military logic and having started a major land war in Europe then starved his own military of the men to fight it.

Tens of thousands of pro-Russians of Kherson who welcomed the Russians are now made homeless, sentenced to live out their lives as exiles, Russia is humiliated, and the Americans look like gods being able to inflict humiliation on Russia incredibly cheaply.

There is nobody in the world who praised Russia more than I for the other painful withdrawal from Kiev. I made the argument that is now being made for Kherson. I said the withdrawal would free up resources tied up in an obviously doomed expedition and address Russia’s dispersion problem. I praised Russia for having the guts to walk away and not fall pray to the sunk cost fallacy, no matter how difficult it may have been to abandon gains that had been paid for with blood. I proclaimed myself to be “in awe of the sheer ruthlessness of Russia’s withdrawal”.

So I understand that a withdrawal can be a good and logical thing. I’m the one who made that precise argument. 8 months ago.

But what I’m fed up with is that withdrawals are the only time Russia will ruthlessly yield to cold hard military logic. When it comes to anything else, such as resourcing the military, the name of the game is half-assery, procrastination and lethargy.

After Kiev I probably expected that Moscow’s decisiveness in calling a necessary retreat would also gradually start showing up in other matters. Like solving the problem of insufficient mass. That wasn’t the case. It took another six months for that and even then it was done in a half-assed way with conscripts remaining undeployable. Between Kiev, Kupyansk and Kherson a clear pattern now exists where it is somewhat easy for the military to get a permission for a withdrawal when they need one, but it is extremely difficult for the military to get anything else, such as the material and the manpower backing needed for the job.

And there’s nothing praiseworthy about that. Having delivered to NATO the gift of opening this war Putin is allowing Ukraine and the West to be introducing more men and new equipment to the battlefield quicker than Russia is. With consequences in KupyanskIzyum, Liman and Kherson that we have all witnessed.

It doesn’t matter that Ukraine’s economic mobilization isn’t that extensive and that American aid isn’t that vast on its own when Russia’s own industrial mobilization has been so utterly lethargic.

We are literally talking about a state that has not taken the steps in advance to ensure all mobiks have medkits with some gauze in them. A state that proclaims itself to be in an “existential” war and commands a PPP-adjusted $4.5 trillion economy with $130bn in yearly hydrocarbon earnings, but one in which it is left to the citizens to fundraise for the soldiers’ medkits, where the quality of mobik’s equipment varies wildly based on the region he hails from (because the central budget won’t pay for it), and which waited 7 months before it ever went to Iran for its excellent small drones. 7 months into a war Russia should have had its own plants to churn out these things by itself at scale. Instead it took it 7 months just to go to Iran and buy a small batch.

The Russian military tried to maintain the initiative on the battlefield for as long as it could have, bearing great sacrifices to do so. But when it comes to marshaling resources of the rear for the front the Kremlin has relinquished initiative to the Ukrainians and NATO from the start. In a war that the longer it lasts the less favorable the big picture is for Russia, the Kremlin is allowing Ukraine and the US all the time in the world to gear up way ahead of Russia.

What does it mean to be Moscow and to throw your military into Ukraine (piecemeal, just the contract component), then cut it off from reinforcements even as Ukraine and NATO are constantly adding more men and new equipment?

What does it mean to just stand by and watch, and not meaningfully reinforce your military as you then see it go from fast advances, to slow advances, to glacial advances, to stalemate, and finally to humiliating defeats?

What does it mean to wait until humiliating defeats until you move into action and mobilize the rear for the sake of the military and even then only in the most partial and limited way?

What is this? Is this some kind of a secret ploy to make NATO and Ukrainian nationalism look good?

I understand Putin’s MO where he does these minimal escalations and then he waits until they are completely and utterly exhausted before he will do another minimal escalation on his end. But in a war that is just pure poison. That is pretty much the exact opposite of how to win wars.

https://twitter.com/KevinRothrock/status/1591069701777539072

Look, I think what happened is that Kremlin went into the war with an extreme disconnect of ambition and means. I think that this disconnect is becoming smaller as the goals are made less ambitious and the investment into the war rises. But I think that of the two, the ambition is coming down much faster than investment in the war is rising.

I mean this is almost impossible to contradict. Putin has been much more willing to allow retreats than to gear up to the point that these retreats would not have been necessary. That he permitted even a retreat from Kherson which would have been invaluable to a spring push toward Odessa is telling.

Going back to Kherson, let’s not kid ourselves. What has been lost is greater than a historic city or the only regional capital Russia captured in this war. What has been lost is a right-bank bridgehead that was invaluable and Russia’s greatest accomplishment of this war. Capturing intact crossings over the Dnieper on the first day of the war was an incredible feat and incredible stroke of good luck. No one is ever going to capture an intact Dnieper crossing in this war ever again.

It was the kind of success that in a war you are looking to reinforce. Instead, in a microcosm of the entire war, the Russian army was starved of reinforcements even as Ukraine and NATO kept training more and more men for the other side, until the tide shifted and accomplishments paid for by blood had to be abandoned.

And that is how a year that started with the Eastern Military District in northern Kiev suburbs, the Central District in eastern Kiev suburbs, the Western District in Kupyansk, and the Southern District in Kherson ends with nothing but a Crimea land bridge to show for this entire war.

So by all means, praise the Kherson withdrawal as yielding to realities if you wish. But let us also be sincere about what reality precisely is being yielded to. The reality that Putin in his endless procrastination on the mobilization question had already lost Russia Kherson months ago. We just didn’t know it yet. (They didn't tell us how bad the supply was.)

Let’s not fall for the distraction here. Surovikin is being praised for having made the correct and difficult military decision so that you would forget the reason he had to make one was that Putin for 7 months didn’t.

 

https://twitter.com/wartranslated/status/1590833194655715328

Abandoning Kherson (six weeks after it was supposedly annexed to Russia) might be the “correct”, pragmatic military decision in the immediate context in which it was made.

However, this does not:

  • Excuse the shockingly poor decision-making that created this context in which a withdrawal then made sense.
  • Excuse the weeks of lying there would be no retreat after it had already been greenlit and was being prepared for
  • Change the reality that Russia has now lost what was the most strategically valuable of its 2022 gains by far

Let’s start with the last point.

No Kherson means that Russia will more likely than not come out of this war a loser just as much as Ukraine will. No springboard on the right bank means a march on Odessa is most likely out of the question for this war. Without Odessa it’s very difficult to construe an outcome that would count as a Moscow victory. Russia could take half of the left bank (highly unlikely with the present posture) and without Odessa it will be a pyrrhic victory.

Then there is the lying. It is now clear as day that the purpose of the civilian evacuation was to make a military withdrawal politically digestible. Yet the whole time Russian officials maintained “Russia is here forever” and that the real reason for the evacuation was intel on some murky Ukrainian plot against the river dam.

What is the purpose of this constant lying? Who does this help? Why is Putin’s system pathologically incapable of leveling with the people and so comfortable with these Orwellian swings? One day a retreat from this esteemed Russian city was unthinkable and probably some NATO-planted rumor to discredit the armed forces. The next day it was the most impeccably correct military decision of all time. One that even the anti-RUMOD Kadyrov and Prigozhin are mobilized to defend if they want to keep favor with the boss who greenlighted it weeks ago as they surely now.

Then there is the supposed military impeccability of the decision to withdraw that we’re now informed we must celebrate. Thing is, the retreat does indeed have a ruthless military logic behind it — but only if you’re looking at the event through a straw. If a person takes an axe and chops off his leg then he probably should pull out of the upcoming track race he had signed up for. But does that really mean that we’re looking at someone who is great at track-racing logic??

Surovikin explains that he has to fall back because his supplies are shot. And I explain that he is telling the truth because his bridges are shot by HIMARS. But what are we talking about here? Russia incorporates Kherson into its sovereignty and hangs out billboards “Russia is here forever”“Kherson — With Russia for ages”“Kherson — Russian city” and then turns around and abandons the city of Suvorov, Ushakov, and Potemkin to the enemy because the Americans had sent over something as lightweight as puny little HIMARS (90-kg warhead with 90-km range)?

Firstly, you already knew that your bridges were shot when you “annexed” the city and told the folks Russia is never leaving. Secondly, are the Americans then gods? If the Americans are able to make an intervention into a Russian war as tiny as sending over some tiny little rockets and this being enough for Russia to abandon a storied Russian city, then maybe we should all become Washington slaves and start injecting hormone blockers right this minute because all resistance is obviously futile?!

But of course, the real reason Surovikin had to fall back isn’t because of HIMARS but because the Kherson bridgehead wasn’t expanded into something with real depth for several months while there was still plenty of opportunity and time. —Even without the HIMARS factor having a shallow bridgehead where an enemy advance of just 5 or 10 km can put your bridges in enemy howitzer range (and an advance of 30 km can cut you off) is a needlessly high-risk situation. —One that is acceptable early on as the bridgehead is being formed, or while you are occupied elsewhere, but that over the medium term you would be looking to rectify.

Had this been done, then by the time HIMARS made the appearance it would have been far less impactful. The reason this wasn’t done is by now known to all my readers. It’s the same old refrain of force availability and dispersion. Later on there just weren’t enough men compared to what the Ukrainians had. And early on when the Russians were still ascendant they were just way too dispersed over way too many objectives to properly leverage that.

So no. That the Russians withdrew because they are slaves to ruthless military logic and thus naturally had to retreat when their supply was lost is only true through a straw. But throw away that straw and the broader truth is that the Russian army was forced to abandon a Russian city because the Russian leader for 7 months stood in defiant rebellion against military logic and having started a major land war in Europe then starved his own military of the men to fight it.

Tens of thousands of pro-Russians of Kherson who welcomed the Russians are now made homeless, sentenced to live out their lives as exiles, Russia is humiliated, and the Americans look like gods being able to inflict humiliation on Russia incredibly cheaply.

There is nobody in the world who praised Russia more than I for the other painful withdrawal from Kiev. I made the argument that is now being made for Kherson. I said the withdrawal would free up resources tied up in an obviously doomed expedition and address Russia’s dispersion problem. I praised Russia for having the guts to walk away and not fall pray to the sunk cost fallacy, no matter how difficult it may have been to abandon gains that had been paid for with blood. I proclaimed myself to be “in awe of the sheer ruthlessness of Russia’s withdrawal”.

So I understand that a withdrawal can be a good and logical thing. I’m the one who made that precise argument. 8 months ago.

But what I’m fed up with is that withdrawals are the only time Russia will ruthlessly yield to cold hard military logic. When it comes to anything else, such as resourcing the military, the name of the game is half-assery, procrastination and lethargy.

After Kiev I probably expected that Moscow’s decisiveness in calling a necessary retreat would also gradually start showing up in other matters. Like solving the problem of insufficient mass. That wasn’t the case. It took another six months for that and even then it was done in a half-assed way with conscripts remaining undeployable. Between Kiev, Kupyansk and Kherson a clear pattern now exists where it is somewhat easy for the military to get a permission for a withdrawal when they need one, but it is extremely difficult for the military to get anything else, such as the material and the manpower backing needed for the job.

And there’s nothing praiseworthy about that. Having delivered to NATO the gift of opening this war Putin is allowing Ukraine and the West to be introducing more men and new equipment to the battlefield quicker than Russia is. With consequences in KupyanskIzyum, Liman and Kherson that we have all witnessed.

It doesn’t matter that Ukraine’s economic mobilization isn’t that extensive and that American aid isn’t that vast on its own when Russia’s own industrial mobilization has been so utterly lethargic.

We are literally talking about a state that has not taken the steps in advance to ensure all mobiks have medkits with some gauze in them. A state that proclaims itself to be in an “existential” war and commands a PPP-adjusted $4.5 trillion economy with $130bn in yearly hydrocarbon earnings, but one in which it is left to the citizens to fundraise for the soldiers’ medkits, where the quality of mobik’s equipment varies wildly based on the region he hails from (because the central budget won’t pay for it), and which waited 7 months before it ever went to Iran for its excellent small drones. 7 months into a war Russia should have had its own plants to churn out these things by itself at scale. Instead it took it 7 months just to go to Iran and buy a small batch.

The Russian military tried to maintain the initiative on the battlefield for as long as it could have, bearing great sacrifices to do so. But when it comes to marshaling resources of the rear for the front the Kremlin has relinquished initiative to the Ukrainians and NATO from the start. In a war that the longer it lasts the less favorable the big picture is for Russia, the Kremlin is allowing Ukraine and the US all the time in the world to gear up way ahead of Russia.

What does it mean to be Moscow and to throw your military into Ukraine (piecemeal, just the contract component), then cut it off from reinforcements even as Ukraine and NATO are constantly adding more men and new equipment?

What does it mean to just stand by and watch, and not meaningfully reinforce your military as you then see it go from fast advances, to slow advances, to glacial advances, to stalemate, and finally to humiliating defeats?

What does it mean to wait until humiliating defeats until you move into action and mobilize the rear for the sake of the military and even then only in the most partial and limited way?

What is this? Is this some kind of a secret ploy to make NATO and Ukrainian nationalism look good?

I understand Putin’s MO where he does these minimal escalations and then he waits until they are completely and utterly exhausted before he will do another minimal escalation on his end. But in a war that is just pure poison. That is pretty much the exact opposite of how to win wars.

https://twitter.com/KevinRothrock/status/1591069701777539072

Look, I think what happened is that Kremlin went into the war with an extreme disconnect of ambition and means. I think that this disconnect is becoming smaller as the goals are made less ambitious and the investment into the war rises. But I think that of the two, the ambition is coming down much faster than investment in the war is rising.

I mean this is almost impossible to contradict. Putin has been much more willing to allow retreats than to gear up to the point that these retreats would not have been necessary. That he permitted even a retreat from Kherson which would have been invaluable to a spring push toward Odessa is telling.

Going back to Kherson, let’s not kid ourselves. What has been lost is greater than a historic city or the only regional capital Russia captured in this war. What has been lost is a right-bank bridgehead that was invaluable and Russia’s greatest accomplishment of this war. Capturing intact crossings over the Dnieper on the first day of the war was an incredible feat and incredible stroke of good luck. No one is ever going to capture an intact Dnieper crossing in this war ever again.

It was the kind of success that in a war you are looking to reinforce. Instead, in a microcosm of the entire war, the Russian army was starved of reinforcements even as Ukraine and NATO kept training more and more men for the other side, until the tide shifted and accomplishments paid for by blood had to be abandoned.

And that is how a year that started with the Eastern Military District in northern Kiev suburbs, the Central District in eastern Kiev suburbs, the Western District in Kupyansk, and the Southern District in Kherson ends with nothing but a Crimea land bridge to show for this entire war.

So by all means, praise the Kherson withdrawal as yielding to realities if you wish. But let us also be sincere about what reality precisely is being yielded to. The reality that Putin in his endless procrastination on the mobilization question had already lost Russia Kherson months ago. We just didn’t know it yet. (They didn't tell us how bad the supply was.)

Let’s not fall for the distraction here. Surovikin is being praised for having made the correct and difficult military decision so that you would forget the reason he had to make one was that Putin for 7 months didn’t.

 

https://twitter.com/wartranslated/status/1590833194655715328

Anatoly Karlin - Fri Nov 11, 2022 21:40

Source: Anatoly Karlin

Russia is withdrawing from Kherson.

While Z sphere & Russian patriotic Telegram copes, I just view it as a belated recognition that the kremlins are not fighting the war seriously, and war aims need to be pared down correspondingly.

https://twitter.com/powerfultakes/status/1589402947754283010

This is what I wrote in another channel.

TLDR, if Russians couldn't defeat Ukraine when they had massive materiel superiority, that's certainly not happening now; not when kremlins are either ideologically or organizationally incapable of implementing a war economy.

Basically none of the ideas I suggested for ways to defeat Ukraine now that they dithered for half a year sees any signs of being adopted. Clear now that Kalibr strikes carry a coercive nature, as they're not on the scale needed to suppress electric grid.

https://twitter.com/powerfultakes/status/1579582778433499136

For whatever reason, they're not serious about sourcing necessary supplies from China (not even just heavy weaponry, which might have been refused, but things like first aid kits, etc.). Astounding, much of the provision has actually been left to the regions.

In effect, as with COVID, the federal center devolving a core state responsibility to sub-polities that vary widely in their level of wealth and conscientiousness (and on a separate note setting up any number of problems for the post-war era).

But those are all details, at the end of the day, a state that spends ≤5% of GDP on a big war is not serious about said war, and expectations have to be adjusted accordingly; namely, hanging on to the Crimean Corridor and eventually forcing negotiations.

https://twitter.com/powerfultakes/status/1588703402124775425

Losing Izyum and Kherson were my two pre-stated conditions for considering that Russia is losing the war, and both have been fulfilled. Former rules out Slavyansk and Kharkov. Latter, even more decisively, rules out Nikolaev and Odessa.

https://twitter.com/powerfultakes/status/1568332310579417089

And no amount of idiotic copium - MAGA cutting Ukrainian aid (stillborn anyway), shivering europoors throwing in the towel (German gas tanks are full), Belorussian front, Ukraine's depopulation (de facto turning it into an armed camp), more anti-gay laws - is going to alter that.

So short of Ukrainians/Westerners losing a standard deviation or two of IQ to converge with the kremlins, or China opening a Pacific front (not necessarily that even that will be relevant if there's no war economy), there's just two actually *realistic* scenarios going forwards.

WHITEPILL SCENARIO

Russian "Pyrrhic victory" with the frontline (as initially predicted by @shanggyangg this March) encompassing the LDNR and the Crimean Corridor, but not Kherson — abandoning which is at least good step to increasing the likelihood of that happening.

https://twitter.com/shanggyangg/status/1500500964545122312

  • Veterans freed up from Kherson and new mobiks used to reinforce Crimean Corridor.
  • Focus on fortification, re-equipment, training, and preparing for upcoming Ukrainian surprises - ATACMS, fighters, drone swarms - which are likely to appear by summer.

The Crimean Corridor obviously has to hold. Without it, the Crimean Bridge is cooked as well, and Crimea's fall becomes a matter of time at that point. (BTW, a schizo scenario in which Crimea falls, but urban LDNR with tight logistics ties to Russia holds, is not impossible).

BLACKPILL SCENARIO

The alternative is that the kremlins figure that one mobilization wave is enough; deplete existing manpower with costly frontal assaults on podunk villages; continue to run a peacetime economy and not think ahead.

https://twitter.com/powerfultakes/status/1588157614063603712

In that case, it simply cannot be logically excluded that the Ukrs sweep away this depleted army in early summer 2023, occupy the Crimean Corridor, besiege Crimea; kremlins order another mobilization in panic, but who would even cooperate with such losers at that point.

Regarding nukes: If you treat this as a colonial type war by spending ≤5% of GDP on it, and flip flop on decision day to day like the whole grain deal saga, all these threats are meaningless and will not be acted on. So Crimea at any rate will be doomed.

https://twitter.com/powerfultakes/status/1590484777735712769

Now whatever the kremlins themselves might think — and in this respect, the planned surge in spending on domestic security/police, while there are ostensibly much more pressing military demands, is quite foreboding:

https://twitter.com/powerfultakes/status/1588209501731184641

...the regime will not survive a lost war. I am very sure about this and have said this from Day One. In this scenario, Putin (or whoever he might try to push forwards as a replacement President) in 2024 would be toast.

Obviously my preference is for the whitepill over the blackpill scenario, but kremlin decision-making has surprised so starkly to the downside that the latter one will not surprise me. Hence why I'm not making any predictions on this matter now.

Source: Anatoly Karlin

Russia is withdrawing from Kherson.

While Z sphere & Russian patriotic Telegram copes, I just view it as a belated recognition that the kremlins are not fighting the war seriously, and war aims need to be pared down correspondingly.

https://twitter.com/powerfultakes/status/1589402947754283010

This is what I wrote in another channel.

TLDR, if Russians couldn't defeat Ukraine when they had massive materiel superiority, that's certainly not happening now; not when kremlins are either ideologically or organizationally incapable of implementing a war economy.

Basically none of the ideas I suggested for ways to defeat Ukraine now that they dithered for half a year sees any signs of being adopted. Clear now that Kalibr strikes carry a coercive nature, as they're not on the scale needed to suppress electric grid.

https://twitter.com/powerfultakes/status/1579582778433499136

For whatever reason, they're not serious about sourcing necessary supplies from China (not even just heavy weaponry, which might have been refused, but things like first aid kits, etc.). Astounding, much of the provision has actually been left to the regions.

In effect, as with COVID, the federal center devolving a core state responsibility to sub-polities that vary widely in their level of wealth and conscientiousness (and on a separate note setting up any number of problems for the post-war era).

But those are all details, at the end of the day, a state that spends ≤5% of GDP on a big war is not serious about said war, and expectations have to be adjusted accordingly; namely, hanging on to the Crimean Corridor and eventually forcing negotiations.

https://twitter.com/powerfultakes/status/1588703402124775425

Losing Izyum and Kherson were my two pre-stated conditions for considering that Russia is losing the war, and both have been fulfilled. Former rules out Slavyansk and Kharkov. Latter, even more decisively, rules out Nikolaev and Odessa.

https://twitter.com/powerfultakes/status/1568332310579417089

And no amount of idiotic copium - MAGA cutting Ukrainian aid (stillborn anyway), shivering europoors throwing in the towel (German gas tanks are full), Belorussian front, Ukraine's depopulation (de facto turning it into an armed camp), more anti-gay laws - is going to alter that.

So short of Ukrainians/Westerners losing a standard deviation or two of IQ to converge with the kremlins, or China opening a Pacific front (not necessarily that even that will be relevant if there's no war economy), there's just two actually *realistic* scenarios going forwards.

WHITEPILL SCENARIO

Russian "Pyrrhic victory" with the frontline (as initially predicted by @shanggyangg this March) encompassing the LDNR and the Crimean Corridor, but not Kherson — abandoning which is at least good step to increasing the likelihood of that happening.

https://twitter.com/shanggyangg/status/1500500964545122312

  • Veterans freed up from Kherson and new mobiks used to reinforce Crimean Corridor.
  • Focus on fortification, re-equipment, training, and preparing for upcoming Ukrainian surprises - ATACMS, fighters, drone swarms - which are likely to appear by summer.

The Crimean Corridor obviously has to hold. Without it, the Crimean Bridge is cooked as well, and Crimea's fall becomes a matter of time at that point. (BTW, a schizo scenario in which Crimea falls, but urban LDNR with tight logistics ties to Russia holds, is not impossible).

BLACKPILL SCENARIO

The alternative is that the kremlins figure that one mobilization wave is enough; deplete existing manpower with costly frontal assaults on podunk villages; continue to run a peacetime economy and not think ahead.

https://twitter.com/powerfultakes/status/1588157614063603712

In that case, it simply cannot be logically excluded that the Ukrs sweep away this depleted army in early summer 2023, occupy the Crimean Corridor, besiege Crimea; kremlins order another mobilization in panic, but who would even cooperate with such losers at that point.

Regarding nukes: If you treat this as a colonial type war by spending ≤5% of GDP on it, and flip flop on decision day to day like the whole grain deal saga, all these threats are meaningless and will not be acted on. So Crimea at any rate will be doomed.

https://twitter.com/powerfultakes/status/1590484777735712769

Now whatever the kremlins themselves might think — and in this respect, the planned surge in spending on domestic security/police, while there are ostensibly much more pressing military demands, is quite foreboding:

https://twitter.com/powerfultakes/status/1588209501731184641

...the regime will not survive a lost war. I am very sure about this and have said this from Day One. In this scenario, Putin (or whoever he might try to push forwards as a replacement President) in 2024 would be toast.

Obviously my preference is for the whitepill over the blackpill scenario, but kremlin decision-making has surprised so starkly to the downside that the latter one will not surprise me. Hence why I'm not making any predictions on this matter now.

Anti-Empire >>

© 2001-2022 Independent Media Centre Ireland. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by Independent Media Centre Ireland. Disclaimer | Privacy