The Saker on events in Ukraine
So now we are 50 days into this Special Military Operation (SMO) and right in between the end of the first phase and the beginning of the second one. So I want to begin by list a few things which were unclear/ambiguous/misunderstood and which now are becoming clear(er):
- There is this saying “no plan survives the first contact with the enemy” which I would even expand to “no plan survives the first contact with reality”. Why? The first one is obvious, the enemy will try to foil your plans, but the second one is less known: in war there is always a large element of chaos simply because your entire country and your military are in one mode up until the initiation of combat operations and because they have to very quickly switch over a completely new reality. The point is therefore not to stick to plan A at any cost, but neither is it to ditch it all and reinvent the wheel. What is needed is a quick response time to identify the problems and fix them. I would say that with this in mind, the Russian military did a very good job by quickly transforming an integrated Ukrainian military capable of strategic operations into a broken-up entity with its various parts isolated and unable to support each other. What is my evidence for that? There has not been a single Ukrainian counter-attack higher than on a subunit (battalion, company) level. Considering that the Ukrainians have the double advantage of being on the defense and having a larger force, this is truly a remarkable achievement. Add to this the money, weapons and intelligence support from the US/NATO and it is nothing short of a triumph.
At the same time, Russia as a whole, and especially the military, did an absolutely awful job talking to the public, both in Russia and in the West. See a typical example of the image on the right. The only mistake the US PYSOPs made was that they really “overdid it”, which profoundly angered and alienated the Russian public which went from “what is going on?” to “we are in a fight for our very survival” very quickly and most Russians are now in what I would refer to a “WWII” mode: total warfare until total victory. In the West, however, the US PSYOPs truly triumphed and totally defeated the Russian counter-propaganda efforts which, the truth be told, were primitive, clumsy, slow and even self-defeating at times. Does that matter? Yes, very. Why?
- Because most people in Zone A sincerely and truly believe that “Russia is losing the war”. Now these are the same folks who until February of 2021 were all virologists/epidemiologists/microbiologists/etc. and who in a remarkable feat, became overnight military experts and now are sincerely advising the Russians on how to wage a war. The fact that no “real” war has even begun does not elicit any second thoughts or doubts in these “experts in everything” folks who simply don’t believe that some matters require years of training to achieve the expertise needed to understand even the basics. And no, as Andrei Martyanov always points out, a BA in communications or a law degree do not make you into a military expert overnight (by the way, I notice a very large “overlap” between the COVID death cult members and the armchair generals).
- Objectively, there is also a double language and culture barrier at work here. Very few folks in Zone A are fluent, or even conversant, in Russian and even fewer understand the Russian mindset. So if all the English speaking media (including putatively pro-Russian ones – more about those later) says something it makes no sense to expect most English speakers to find the correct Russian language Telegram channels to get the other side of the information. As for RT and Sputnik, in their naive and clumsy efforts to appear “objective” they just reinforce the western propaganda narratives.
- Then there is an interesting phenomenon that became very apparent over the past 50 days: there are quite a few websites and blogs that PRETEND to be pro-Russian but, in reality, that support is conditional on Russia supporting their agenda and if Russians do things differently those putatively pro-Russian outlets quickly take up the exact same talking points as the US PSYOPs. There are also a number of PRETEND “liberal” or “Leftist” or “Anti-Imperialist” websites which were ALWAYS CIA-operated but which, over the years, acquired some (totally undeserved) credibility and which have now suddenly “flipped”. Pro-Nazi “liberals”, got to love that…
The result of all this? FUD: fear, uncertainty and doubts of course.
Even worse are the implications of this FUD on many levels:
- It gives the folks in the West a sense of impunity and it almost totally conceals the magnitude of the dangers the Empire of Hate and Lies is facing today: from real food shortages to an economic collapse, and even to a continental war in Europe. After all, if the Russians are losing, then “we” must be winning, so all is well. Not very bright, but oh so human…
- It angers and frustrates the Russian soldiers actually doing the fighting who are living in fear not about a heroic Ukrainian counter-offensive, but what the Russian government (at all levels and in all branches) will screw up next. Want an example? Sure! How about this: until senior LDNR official began to openly complain about the Russian customs the latter did not allow non-governmental humanitarian convoys to cross into the Ukraine. This was solved, now the next one is this: how to organize pensions for the families of Russian volunteers who fight in the Ukraine?
- It greatly encourages the Ukrainians to fight this war down to the last Ukrainian and to total destruction of the Ukrainian civil infrastructure. Yes, the united West wants to genocide Russians by means of genociding Ukrainians. It cannot get any more openly satanic than that!
Having said all of the above, we now need to step back and only make some very basic predictions:
- What began as the “special military operation” is now turning into a total war of the united West against Russia and that means that the goal for the West is not peace, its victory, and a Russian defeat. My personal conclusion is that the West will only stop doubling down if the US homeland itself is threatened by Russian conventional and nuclear strategic deterrence capabilities.
- The Russians are slowly but surely coming to the realization that in spite of all the concessions and retreats made by Russia since 2013 the Empire of Hate and Lies will not stop by itself, it will have to be stopped, by Russia. Again. As the VDV motto says “nobody but us”.
- The Ukrainians have no agency, and neither do the Eurolemmings. In fact, the USA is using both the Ukronazis and their EU serfs as cannon fodder because their calculation is that if Russia wins, then the Eurolemmings will become not only terrified and even more subservient, but also that the EU will burn itself down removing a competitor. I remind you that the USA’s wealth is based on how much the USA profited from both WWI and WWII. So why not with WWIII as long as it remains within the confines of the European theater of operations? And that will be doubly true if Russia loses.
My first conclusion here is that a direct military conflict involving NATO and Russia is now likely.
That, by itself, is simply horrible, but here is a simple truth: if the Anglos, yet again, want to burn down the European continent there might not be anything Russia could do to prevent that. And forget about the suicidal Eurolemmings. Russia can win that war, and she will, but yet again at a huge cost.
And that is exactly what the Anglos want.
So is there a silver lining here or is it all doom and gloom?
In fact, there is: the reactions of the Russian public to the rather ambiguous and sometimes outright weird stuff members of the Russian government, at different levels, have been doing and saying. Like that terrible Medinski presser which totally freaked out most Russians. Or the rumor that Abramovich (!) is negotiating between Moscow and Kiev. Oh I know, that is just another rumor, but considering the DISMAL job of Russian information operations that rumor, and hundreds more, are making the public weary and angry.
And the general public itself, rather than any government officials, started to react to this kind of dangerous FUD by something we could think of as a grassroots counter-propaganda campaign. For example, while the letters Z and V have been banned in the Ukraine (and in Latvia, Moldova, Greece and even in some German states) they are literally all over the Runet and you could say that Z and V have now become part of the Russian alphabet and that they are now often used to replace the traditional Cyrillic Z (З) and V (В).
And now Slovakia is declaring that the Nazis in Kiev are “fighting for the future of Europe“.
Basically, the EU politicians have now de facto rehabilitated the Third Reich. At least now it is official.
Heck, since that war began, even Uber-Atlantic-Integrationist Medvedev has turned into a patriotic hardliner!
So maybe it will be the “Russian street” that will teach the so-called “specialists” how informational warfare is done? I sure hope so!
The other major power from Zone B, China, immediately understood what this was all about: “West’s ban of ‘Z’ symbol a manifestation of its Russophobia“.
Yup, the letter Z is now serving a somewhat similar function to the Star of David in Nazi Germany.
Then there are the many iterations of the following slogans “our cause is just“, “the enemy will be defeated” and “we will go to the end!” which are also all over the Runet. Note that all of these slogans are strongly associated with WWII in the Russian mind.
And then there is this: the, shall we call them “poor communication skills”, of the Kremlin have resulted in a real shitstorm of angry protests and freakouts so the Kremlin had to tone it down by a lot. Yes, Putin PERSONALLY is very popular and trusted (over 80%), but not the government or, even less so, mid-level or local government officials. It would not take much (another major SNAFU for example) to trigger angry protests.
But if anybody is to be truly credited with reassuring the Russian public that no “negotiators” will backstab the Russian military, that honor should go to the “Biden” Administration which “convinced” Zelenski to stop any and all negotiations and to restate the Ukronazis most extreme demands (including the LDNR and Crimea). Now that truly made negotiations not only pointless but pretty much impossible.
Thank you “Biden”!
I also want to use this opportunity publicly express my deepest gratitude to Josip Borrell, the Eurolemming’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, for declaring “this war must be won on the battlefield“! When EU *diplomats* use that kind of language, it has a quasi-miraculous effect on the wannabe “peace camp” in Russia. Even RT (!) seems to have smelled the coffee and now we can find an article entitled “It appears that the West doesn’t want peace in Ukraine“. No kidding, geniuses!
As I have mentioned it in the past, I am personally very much in favor of negotiations and even talking to the enemy during a war, but that should be done very discreetly, very carefully and with the clear “message” to the general public if these negotiations, or leaks about them, are made public. If you cannot negotiate without freaking out your own people, then don’t try, you will do more for peace by shutting up and staying at home. If instead of using the insect-like Medinski (he reminds me of Blinken, same “I am a loser” look) Putin had sent Ramzan Kadyrov the perception about “negotiations” in Russia would probably be very different today.
So what is up next?
- A major battle around the Donbass cauldron
- NATO convoys moving into the Ukraine
- The collapse of the “the Russians are losing” narrative replaced by
- A Russian “atrocity” of some type
- The western media will begin to “discover sins” amongst those they lionized until now (see image)
- The full dimension of the economic crisis resulting from the collapse of the international economic system will become much more apparent, especially in the EU.
What about the Black Sea Fleet – can it operate without its flagship?
As I mentioned yesterday, I am not a navy person and neither do I know what plans the Russian General Staff had for the BSF. But I can say this: Slava-class guided missile cruisers were designed in the 70s as aircraft carrier destroyers. For this purpose, they were equipped with very powerful missiles, superb (by 1970s standards!) S-300F, OSA-MA SAMs, 6 AK-630 point air defenses, and a lot of (old) electronics. Since there are no aircraft carriers in the Black Sea, I suppose that the Moskva main role was as a command ship (its main canons don’t provide the range needed to support amphibious assault operations) and also as a relatively powerful mobile, floating, radar. The Moskva was hit by something about 50km south of Snake Island which means that she was also probably watching the movement of ships near/from Romania. Frankly, that is not a task for a guided-missile cruiser.
[Sidebar: as to what actually caused the explosion, my personal best guess is a Ukrainian mine detached by the recent storm and drifting southwards which the Russians failed to detect. That would explain the hull breach which later resulted in the Moskva taking in water and sinking while in tow. I still don’t buy the “Ukrainian 2 “Neptunes” version at all, if only because the Moskva had very solid air defenses while bad weather makes minesweeping very hard. But we will probably never find out for sure, unless the members of the crew reveal what really happened]
Considering that the Ukraine has NO navy at all, I don’t see how the loss of the Moskva would hamper or significantly complicate any BSF operations (navy folks, please correct me here if I missed something!).
The Moskva also had an important role in the eastern Mediterranean (Syria) and yes, there is probably where she will be missed the most. I hope that this loss will provide the impetus to massively accelerate the modernization of old Russian (well, Soviet, really) ships and the construction of new ones.
I would even be inclined to think that the deployment of hypersonic ASM has not only made aircraft carriers obsolete (at least against Russia) but, by the same logic, has made old Russian/Soviet “carrier hunter killers” obsolete by implication. Nowadays, even SMALL missile boats can fire Russian hypersonic missiles thousands of kilometers away, so why bother with really big ships in anti-carrier operations? Range? Okay. Firepower? Okay. Bigger and better sensors? Okay. But not in the Black Sea. And not with a minimally modernized 1970 era ship.
There is no doubt that Russia fought superbly during the SMO and there is no doubt either that the Russians probably calculated that “just” a SMO would be sufficient to achieve the Russian goals (immediate: protect the LDNR, intermediate: denazify and disarm the Ukraine and long term: change the European and world collective security arrangements) was wrong. It is now becoming almost certain that a real, much larger, war to crush the Ukrainian military will be needed, and it will have to be fought with much larger forces and means.
The Empire of Hate and Lies has decided to “go max” and is acting exactly as it would be in preparations for a much larger war in Europe. For example, with the steady stream of mass expulsions of Russian diplomats, there is a very real possibility that Russia and the US/NATO/EU will sever their diplomatic relationships, something traditionally considered as the last step before a declaration of war.
One of the best things the Kremlin could do now is to carefully study how the Iranians since 1979 (!) managed to successfully:
- Never be drawn into a war they did not want (except the one launched by the West and the USSR following the Islamic Revolution which Iran won, by the way)
- Deter the Anglo-Zionist from direct attacks on Iran
- Survive both sanctions and even a blockade
- Defeat US PSYOPs (remember Neda Agha-Soltan?)
- Actively assist in the liberation of other countries around the world and, especially, the Middle-East
- Superbly combine political pragmatism with deep religious piety and idealism
- Preserve their economy (albeit with major difficulties, but not collapse!)
- Preserve their Islamic societal and civilizational model
- Remain truly sovereign
- Maintain a rock-solid morale throughout it all
If Iran could do that, why can’t we? I have an answer to this question, but I won’t offer it until the end of combat operations.
As I have also mentioned many times, Russia is a project, a ‘moving target’, a society that is recovering from at least 300 years of foreign domination (especially spiritual and political) and a society that is STILL changing, very fast in many aspects.
Yes, Russia has a superb military and immense resources. But that is not enough.
Some say that the next “New Russia” was “born in the LDNR”, and I hope that they are right, not in the sense that Russia needs to copy all the decisions (often bad ones too!) of the LDNR, but Russia does need to purge herself from those in positions of power who are just stuck in the past or unable to adapt to new realities.
Can Russia denazify the planet? By herself, no. At most she can militarily destroy all of Zone A, but only in a mutual suicide act of desperation (the US nuclear triad is still mostly functional, in spite of its problems). But can Russia and the rest of Zone B denazify the planet? Absolutely. Even “just” Russia and China together are more powerful than the rest of the planet combined, add India to this and you have a truly unstoppable force.
The Empire is already dead, but like a stinking unburied corpse, it still has enough “toxicity momentum” to continue to threaten the planet until the USA is both denazified and disarmed. That will take a lot of time, even with the recent massive acceleration of the pace of events.
So no quick fix, no quick solution, no quick victory (or defeat for that matter). This is not want Russia wanted, but that is what she got.
May she make the most of it to transform herself into the civilizational realm she was for centuries. That could be the biggest homage to those fighting for the future of Russia today.
PS: I want to remind you all one more time that if the USA and Russia openly and directly clash militarily, I will immediately “freeze” the blog until the situation is resolved in one way or another. I am a guest, a legal alien (“Green Card”), in the USA and it is not my role to speak if my country of current residence and my country of ethnic origin are at war with each other.
UPDATE1: I should have mentioned that there have been large demonstrations in Serbia in support of Russia. So far, Serbia is the only country with a strong pro-Russian part of the population. No, not all, of course but MUCH more than in any other country, at least that I am aware of. I want to thank all our Serbian brothers and sisters for standing by us!
UPDATE2: Russian sources are reporting that the nonsense at the border has resumed again, and folks are waiting for hours and even days to get across the border. If true, this sounds like outright sabotage to me.