Saturday 25 February 2023

Fateful Anniversary (2)

Here are some salient extracts from trenchant Russian nationalist milblogger Igor Strelkov's anniversary summing-up (based on MS machine translation with some variations of my own).  3, 5 and 7 are interesting.  Some of you will fairly claim to have been saying some of this yourselves - not least, point 8.  


It is not true that no one expected a protracted exhausting war. It is about this danger that your humble servant warned since 2015. Publicly and more than once. Trying to reach out to the inhabitants of the Planet of Pink Ponies.... 

The state of the "military industry" of the Russian Federation is such that we may soon have nothing to fight for a long, exhausting time ... without large-scale external support which only China can give ... 

This is unprofitable for us and fatal for them ... Conclusions: 

1. To defeat a large state, albeit in a half-dismantled condition [but which is being given] external support, won't be achieved by half-hearted measures. 

2. On the other hand, it will not be possible to defeat a large strong state [Russia] ... even with the help of a proxy [Ukraine].

3. ... the result of the war is determined not by radios with drones, not by money and iron, but by such boring things as the determination of the upper classes and the motivation of the lower classes. They allow you to get the above, and use it correctly. 

 4. Without civil society and a powerful media outlet, there is no way. Their role all these years has been sharply underestimated by us 

 5. The loss factor was overestimated by both sides. Modern society turned out to be much more ready to die than the United States of the 60s or the USSR of the 80s.

6 . Over the decades, military schools around the world have become degraded pre First World War state. And besides Verdun and Baranovichi**, they can't offer anything. 

7. Small and professional armies turned out to be a myth. As a result, without the whole population being engaged, they are meaningless, and the populations (on all sides) have not been taught or prepared for mobilization.  

8. Post-industrial society is good, but it was the war that showed that there is no way without industry. 


No one can back down. Neither the Coalition of the West, which has spent no less on Kiev than on Covid; nor us, who were left with no choice. So there will be a war. Long and positional in nature, with offensives of 5-10 km ... 

Our winter offensive did not take place, so what is chosen is a war of attrition. It's long and hard. And bloody. To understand - [Ukraine] can afford 0.5 million irretrievable losses without much stress. And so many more with the help of an overt dictatorship. To which the West will turn a blind eye. 

The only way to lose for [Russia] is through Internal Troubles. Just do not expect either good or bad - all this for a long time.

** a failed Russian offensive of WW1 



Anonymous said...

The good news is that I don't think China can afford to see Russia lose, as they are next. The Great Satan must not win.

Anonymous said...

Mr Strelkov has IIRC been saying for ages that Russia need to take all this more seriously, and as one of the original Russians who headed for the Donbass fray way back in 2014/5 he's earned the right to do so.

It may be that we should Trust The Plan, and that the Corsican Ogre spent the years 2014-2021 getting his trade and finance ducks in a row, so that the great hit of Western sanctions has been on German industry and British consumers energy bills rather than Russian living standards. OTOH it may be that he's a cautious, legalistic guy, a caution surely cemented by those tremendous years in which, piece by piece, he chipped away the powers of the very oligarchs who put him where he is (my impression FWIW is that they still have much power, and I'm sure its towards these that much US cash will be offered) - and that he didn't take on board quite how much US elites hate Russia, and how much they want to ensure Ukraine belongs to them.

Still, the battle decides, as someone somewhere once said.

I'm sure China would rather stay out of the fray if possible, and let the West continue to go down the tubes. I see they've just installed a knife arch in Croydon McDonalds. Within my lifetime, like Bexley, Croydon was shorthand for English suburbia, well-kept hedges and thousands of whirring Atcos on a summer Saturday morning.

Anonymous said...

“it is imperative that no Eurasian challenger should emerge capable of dominating Eurasia and thus also of challenging America’s global pre-eminence.. three states are geopolitically especially important: Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, and Ukraine - most important, however, is Ukraine”"

The 1997 thesis is that with Ukraine attached to Russia (politically, not in a unification sense), Russia can dominate Eurasia, but not otherwise - therefore Ukraine must be detached.

dearieme said...

"Small and professional armies turned out to be a myth": well, that describes the British army for the century from Waterloo until 1915. It's different if you are an island with a good navy.

As for m'laddo's expertise: his main thrust is what I had guessed in the absence of any trusted information, to wit once the march on Kiev had failed the war might well turn into a long slog. But even then I didn't have much confidence in my guess because Who Knows?

I did get one prediction right: just a few days before the bridge over the Cherch Straits was whacked I had suggested that that would be done.

I have no more guesses to make because I trust no one reporting on the subject. "How can you know that?" I ask, and satisfactory answer comes there none.

jim said...

As suggested, a long job. Probably long enough to see some Ajax tanks - and I don't mean in 18 months.

This whole show seems to be modulated by American support levels. If I were Putin I would be watching the US carefully, in order not to waste my resources. He can afford a long war but does not want to be caught out by a rapid push back.

I reckon Putin will save his efforts for the US election runup. A little well placed largesse and misinformation should pay dividends. Well worth watching China's reaction, My enemy's enemy is my friend. But which one?

Clive said...

As for the China angle, my hunch is China is aiming for something Russia ending up like a large Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. Notionally an independent actor, non-aligned in terms of East and West and with its own coterie of allies. Allowed to strut around puffing its chest out (not least for internal consumption within the country itself) and make trouble in a limited way. But in reality completely dependent on China, although China goes to great lengths to disguise this dependency.

I noted with interest that, when western car producers shut down their Russian operations and imports reduced to extortionately priced grey imports, once it became obvious that the indigenous Lada products were not only over priced but dismal, BYD (a Chinese auto maker giant) was picked — I can imagine through clenched teeth In Moscow— to start a screwdriver assembly operation in Russia. What choice, really, did Russia have? Big talk about becoming more independent is just that, talk. The less dependent on the West Russia tries to be, the more reliant on China it becomes.China is fine with that and will, I imagine, manage the relationship with more skill than the West did.

Anonymous said...

"the less dependent on the West Russia tries to be, the more reliant on China it becomes"

I don't know what the US experience was, but for about 6 months (probably more) Europe was completely dependent on China for basic stuff like masks and plastic aprons, as worn by medical staff in every GP practice and hospital, and every HCA in every care home.

Indeed it would be an interesting thought experiment to see what happens if the next "lab leak/wet market/targeted attack" removed Chinese production from the globe. British shelves would be pretty damn bare, and IIRC we'd have to be careful not to damage any x-ray or ultrasound machines, all made there.

They never did find the source of Covid, did they, despite all their searching? Any more than they found the source of the NS2 explosions.

Anonymous said...

The El Cid approach.

Attrition applies not just to populations but to leaders. How soon till we see a stuffed Putin tied to a chair at that very long table?

Caeser Hēméra said...

Russia/China - the idea that China will bin off the West for Russia is fanciful in the extreme, the Russian economy just isn't big enough - by orders of magnitude - to allow that. Had Putin actually bothered to Make Russia Great Again, maybe that'd be different.

We've seen the CCP u-turn on Zero Covid, a rather solid plank of Xi Thought, rather than risk the public rage escalating any further. They're not going to shut out the West, if anything they're scrabbling to open up and reverse earlier restrictions, as even if they did have to squash a rage fuelled uprising it'd mean a loss of face.

China is also not about to go to war for Putin, they're currently involved in an undeclared one with India, and their expansionist preferences are handled via Cuckoo settlements. Something Russia might want to keep an eye out for. Maximum reward for minimal risk.

There is an opportunity for China with this though, rebuilding Ukraine is going to be expensive, and there are all those industrial areas, the mining, the processing... If Zelensky plays his cards right, China has every reason to pivot away from Russia, and Ukraine can deal with the Chinese love of infiltration at a later date.

Some interesting noises coming out of Russia with regards to civilian flights - to be taken with a lot of salt, obviously - that indicates the loss of maintenance parts could be starting to hurt. Any major loss of internal rail and air ability is a major blow to the cohesion of Russia.

Anonymous said...

CH - you don't seem to have taken in that China is next on the list after Russia, and that doubtless the Chinese leadership are well aware of this.

China won't "bin off the West" for Russia - why should they, when we are their biggest and presumably most profitable market - but they won't bin off Russia for us either.

"if Zelensky plays his cards right, China has every reason to pivot away from Russia" - yes, if they have a short time horizon. I think they take a more strategic view.

Here's the US Congress report, I think China has probably read it and drawn the correct conclusions.

"From a U.S. perspective on grand strategy and geopolitics, it can be noted that most of the world’s people, resources, and economic activity are located not in the Western Hemisphere, but in the other hemisphere, particularly Eurasia. In response to this basic feature of world geography, U.S. policymakers for the last several decades have chosen to pursue, as a key element of U.S. national strategy, a goal of preventing the emergence of regional hegemons in Eurasia.

For a long time, before China's rise and the huge shift of manufacturing Eastwards, Mackinder's World Island theory was just another historical curiosity. Now it's US strategic dogma.

Anonymous said...

"One of Mackinder's personal objectives was to warn Britain that its traditional reliance on sea power would become a weakness as improved land transport opened up the Heartland for invasion and/or industrialisation" - Belt And Road, anybody?

E-K said...

Can Europe and the EU hold out ?

Dissent from support of Ukraine is not allowed in the UK. People wave blue and yellow flags on the picket lines... whilst complaining about the cost of living crisis that comes from supporting this war.

"Modern society turned out to be more willing to die..." does not apply to Britain. My friend balked at the idea of national conscription in this country, not least because his graduate kids would probably have to serve as privates, ratings, airmen and not officers.

Modern (Western) society can barely put up with turning the heating down for the sake of Ukraine.

It won't be a test of Russian or Ukrainian resolve but ours... a test that America is not sharing.

E-K said...

There really isn't much point in fighting a proxy war with Communist Russia (so very far away) if the result is to turn ourselves into Communists.

E-K said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
E-K said...

I should clarify:

Perhaps that proxy war is not between America and Russia over Ukraine but between America and China over Europe, as the site chosen by America.

It appears that America has already attacked a fellow Nato country.