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offsite link 300,000 Reinforcements Will Repair Kreml... Fri Sep 23, 2022 05:38 | Anti-Empire

offsite link Referendums Are the Badly Needed Assuran... Fri Sep 23, 2022 00:21 | Anti-Empire

offsite link Russia to Mobilize 300,000 (!) for Ukrai... Wed Sep 21, 2022 13:39 | Anti-Empire

offsite link Ukrainians Have Crossed the Oskil, Russi... Tue Sep 20, 2022 23:04 | Anti-Empire

offsite link Ukraine’s Counterattack: Unheeded Warn... Mon Sep 19, 2022 23:35 | Edward Slavsquat

Anti-Empire >>

Human Rights in Ireland
A Blog About Human Rights

offsite link UN human rights chief calls for priority action ahead of climate summit Sat Oct 30, 2021 17:18 | Human Rights

offsite link 5 Year Anniversary Of Kem Ley?s Death Sun Jul 11, 2021 12:34 | Human Rights

offsite link Poor Living Conditions for Migrants in Southern Italy Mon Jan 18, 2021 10:14 | Human Rights

offsite link Right to Water Mon Aug 03, 2020 19:13 | Human Rights

offsite link Human Rights Fri Mar 20, 2020 16:33 | Human Rights

Human Rights in Ireland >>

Lockdown Skeptics

The Daily Sceptic

offsite link CO2 Has Almost No Effect on Global Temperature, Says Leading Climate Scientist Sat Sep 24, 2022 17:48 | Chris Morrison
Carbon dioxide has almost no effect on global temperature as almost all Earth's energy flows occur via the oceans and water vapour, William Kininmonth, a former head of Australia's National Climate Centre has said.
The post CO2 Has Almost No Effect on Global Temperature, Says Leading Climate Scientist appeared first on The Daily Sceptic.

offsite link Why Liberals Should Object to PayPal?s Censorship of the Daily Sceptic and the Free Speech Union, No... Sat Sep 24, 2022 14:15 | Toby Young
Why is it only the non-woke who are up in arms about PayPal?s censorship of the Daily Sceptic and the Free Speech Union? Thomas Prosser, an associate professor at Cardiff, explains why everyone should be concerned.
The post Why Liberals Should Object to PayPal?s Censorship of the Daily Sceptic and the Free Speech Union, Not Just Conservatives appeared first on The Daily Sceptic.

offsite link The Left Needs to Drop its ?Bourgeois Environmentalism? and Back Fracking and Nuclear, Says Union Le... Sat Sep 24, 2022 09:00 | Will Jones
The General Secretary of the GMB trade union, Gary Smith, has said the Left needs to shake off its "bourgeois environmentalism" and make the case for fracking and the building of new nuclear power stations.
The post The Left Needs to Drop its “Bourgeois Environmentalism” and Back Fracking and Nuclear, Says Union Leader appeared first on The Daily Sceptic.

offsite link Can Woke Institutions be Salvaged or Must We Build Anew? Sat Sep 24, 2022 07:00 | Lee Taylor
Many institutions, both public and private, have succumbed to the fact-phobic ideologies of woke postmodernism. Can they still be salvaged, or must we start over and build anew?
The post Can Woke Institutions be Salvaged or Must We Build Anew? appeared first on The Daily Sceptic.

offsite link News Round-Up Sat Sep 24, 2022 01:12 | Will Jones
A summary of all the most interesting stories that have appeared about politicians? efforts to control the virus ? and other acts of hubris and folly ? not just in Britain, but around the world.
The post News Round-Up appeared first on The Daily Sceptic.

Lockdown Skeptics >>

Voltaire Network
Voltaire, international edition

offsite link China prepares for war Thu Sep 22, 2022 13:34 | en

offsite link Fake mass grave in Izium Wed Sep 21, 2022 04:19 | en

offsite link California converts to electric cars Mon Sep 19, 2022 11:50 | en

offsite link Turkey seeks to join NATO Sun Sep 18, 2022 12:25 | en

offsite link Ceasefire between Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan Sat Sep 17, 2022 15:26 | en

Voltaire Network >>

Anti-Empire - Fri Sep 23, 2022 05:38

Putin was careful to say he was ordering a “partial mobilization” and Shoigu specified the military was looking for 300,000 men.

However, there is no mention of 300,000, or it being partial, in the actual mobilization decree.

Thus the decree actually establishes the legal groundwork for the authorities to eventually conscript as many as they want.

The figure of 300,000 may not look high next to Russia’s population of 145 million, or next to Russia’s Armed Forces size of 0.9 million, but it is actually enormous.

300,000 represents the upper bound of how many men the Russian military can assimilate in short order.

Russia no longer has skeleton, officer-only divisions that could quickly absorb gargantuan numbers of conscripts.

Pre-war Russia’s military only had about 200,000 slots that were kept empty and that were to be filled in case of a major war through mobilization. For example, during peacetime mortar teams don’t really need the 3rd crewman, artillery guns don’t need the 6th and 7th crewman, and ammo trucks don’t need assistant drivers. But in war, all of these become enormously useful, critical even. (How the SMO dealt with this was often through consolidation, instead of mixed kontraktniki-conscript-mobiki teams called for by doctrine it created fewer kontraktniki-only teams.)

It is for this reason that I thought Russia’s first mobilization wave (if it ever occurred) would be at most 250,000-strong. (200K to fill the empty slots and another 50K to replace prior and future casualties.) Instead RUMOD went with 300,000 right away which implies that they will also be forming some new units (eg adding battalions to brigades).

There is another way in which the 300,000 figure is enormous. Assuming 250K will go into land combat arms that immediately doubles the number of men on whose shoulders the war is sustained. (If the 150K serving conscripts in the land arms are also added that takes the number further to 650K.)

That is important in the sense that available combat power is immediately nearly doubled. And it is consequential in the sense that finally the kontraktniki who have so far been carrying the entire weight of the war will finally get some respite and rotation.

But the importance of mobilization goes even beyond that.

For the pro soldiers in the trench it answers two key questions. One, is Putin actually serious about this war? And two, does he have our backs?

The ideological motivation of Russian pro soldiers to restore the Black Sea to Russia does not need to be questioned. But ideology is only the most minor part of why people fight. Nobody is eager to fight if they feel that they have been abandoned, thrown into a war the authorities no longer care about.

Or if they feel that they have been maneuvered into bearing enormously disproportionate sacrifices to everyone else in the society.

By sending them 300,000 reinforcements Putin proves (finally) that he has the pros’ back. That he will get them what they need to attain a favorable conclusion. That their lives won’t be thrown away for nothing in a crappy little inconclusive war betrayed by the authorities.

And he also proves to them that it is not only their military caste that will be made to sacrifice (and be consumed) for this all-national goal, but that the sacrifice will be spread around the entire society.

After all, it is one thing to be told that because you are professional military that is appropriate for the 250,000 of you to spearhead a war against a state of 35-million. And it is an entirely different thing to be told that the 250K of you must accomplish it all on your own with zero reinforcements ever.

Until now the Russian military actually had a significant deployment refusal problem. Not just contract soldiers, but even officers would refuse to deploy to Ukraine. I entirely understand why, and they were completely right to.

When you sign up to become a soldier you promise to go to war if ordered and lead your men into one. But the authorities also promise that they will only throw you and your men into military undertakings that at least halfway make sense.

Being sent to conquer a nation of 35-million without notice and simultaneously being ordered to shed one-third of your uniformed manpower (serving conscripts), and then not be reinforced for 7 months is the exact opposite of anything that makes sense. Under the circumstances, I am surprised that anyone at all followed orders.

Sending them 300,000 reinforcements will go a long way toward repairing the morale of the professionals, and of solving the deployment refusal problem.

It represents the dilly-dallying Kremlinboomers finally restoring their credibility with the rank-and-file military.

Heck, yesterday all the reinforcements they could hope for were Wagner convicts, and the puny 15,000-strong 3rd Corps. Now the number is 300,000.

That is the number for now. That is how many the military is capable of assimilating in short order. But the legal groundwork is there to mobilize more in the 2nd wave (in the spring?).

However this would mean forming many new units and the biggest obstacle and challenge would be providing them with semi-decent officers and leadership.

(Sending people to war without semi-competent leaders is a waste of human life. Probably you would need to beg the oldtimers cut by Serdyukov to come back, and start numerous junior lieutenant classes right now to have them ready by spring…)

This text ended up being mostly about what the mobilization means for the Russian contract soldiers, their morale, and their faith in the authorities, so I’ll have to write another one about what it could mean for the battlefield.

Putin was careful to say he was ordering a “partial mobilization” and Shoigu specified the military was looking for 300,000 men.

However, there is no mention of 300,000, or it being partial, in the actual mobilization decree.

Thus the decree actually establishes the legal groundwork for the authorities to eventually conscript as many as they want.

The figure of 300,000 may not look high next to Russia’s population of 145 million, or next to Russia’s Armed Forces size of 0.9 million, but it is actually enormous.

300,000 represents the upper bound of how many men the Russian military can assimilate in short order.

Russia no longer has skeleton, officer-only divisions that could quickly absorb gargantuan numbers of conscripts.

Pre-war Russia’s military only had about 200,000 slots that were kept empty and that were to be filled in case of a major war through mobilization. For example, during peacetime mortar teams don’t really need the 3rd crewman, artillery guns don’t need the 6th and 7th crewman, and ammo trucks don’t need assistant drivers. But in war, all of these become enormously useful, critical even. (How the SMO dealt with this was often through consolidation, instead of mixed kontraktniki-conscript-mobiki teams called for by doctrine it created fewer kontraktniki-only teams.)

It is for this reason that I thought Russia’s first mobilization wave (if it ever occurred) would be at most 250,000-strong. (200K to fill the empty slots and another 50K to replace prior and future casualties.) Instead RUMOD went with 300,000 right away which implies that they will also be forming some new units (eg adding battalions to brigades).

There is another way in which the 300,000 figure is enormous. Assuming 250K will go into land combat arms that immediately doubles the number of men on whose shoulders the war is sustained. (If the 150K serving conscripts in the land arms are also added that takes the number further to 650K.)

That is important in the sense that available combat power is immediately nearly doubled. And it is consequential in the sense that finally the kontraktniki who have so far been carrying the entire weight of the war will finally get some respite and rotation.

But the importance of mobilization goes even beyond that.

For the pro soldiers in the trench it answers two key questions. One, is Putin actually serious about this war? And two, does he have our backs?

The ideological motivation of Russian pro soldiers to restore the Black Sea to Russia does not need to be questioned. But ideology is only the most minor part of why people fight. Nobody is eager to fight if they feel that they have been abandoned, thrown into a war the authorities no longer care about.

Or if they feel that they have been maneuvered into bearing enormously disproportionate sacrifices to everyone else in the society.

By sending them 300,000 reinforcements Putin proves (finally) that he has the pros’ back. That he will get them what they need to attain a favorable conclusion. That their lives won’t be thrown away for nothing in a crappy little inconclusive war betrayed by the authorities.

And he also proves to them that it is not only their military caste that will be made to sacrifice (and be consumed) for this all-national goal, but that the sacrifice will be spread around the entire society.

After all, it is one thing to be told that because you are professional military that is appropriate for the 250,000 of you to spearhead a war against a state of 35-million. And it is an entirely different thing to be told that the 250K of you must accomplish it all on your own with zero reinforcements ever.

Until now the Russian military actually had a significant deployment refusal problem. Not just contract soldiers, but even officers would refuse to deploy to Ukraine. I entirely understand why, and they were completely right to.

When you sign up to become a soldier you promise to go to war if ordered and lead your men into one. But the authorities also promise that they will only throw you and your men into military undertakings that at least halfway make sense.

Being sent to conquer a nation of 35-million without notice and simultaneously being ordered to shed one-third of your uniformed manpower (serving conscripts), and then not be reinforced for 7 months is the exact opposite of anything that makes sense. Under the circumstances, I am surprised that anyone at all followed orders.

Sending them 300,000 reinforcements will go a long way toward repairing the morale of the professionals, and of solving the deployment refusal problem.

It represents the dilly-dallying Kremlinboomers finally restoring their credibility with the rank-and-file military.

Heck, yesterday all the reinforcements they could hope for were Wagner convicts, and the puny 15,000-strong 3rd Corps. Now the number is 300,000.

That is the number for now. That is how many the military is capable of assimilating in short order. But the legal groundwork is there to mobilize more in the 2nd wave (in the spring?).

However this would mean forming many new units and the biggest obstacle and challenge would be providing them with semi-decent officers and leadership.

(Sending people to war without semi-competent leaders is a waste of human life. Probably you would need to beg the oldtimers cut by Serdyukov to come back, and start numerous junior lieutenant classes right now to have them ready by spring…)

This text ended up being mostly about what the mobilization means for the Russian contract soldiers, their morale, and their faith in the authorities, so I’ll have to write another one about what it could mean for the battlefield.

Anti-Empire - Fri Sep 23, 2022 00:21

This Tuesday referendums on joining Russia were announced for Lugansk, Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporozhye. Four days of voting from the 23rd through 27th are foreseen.

Referendums in wartime (under shells), for regions Russia doesn’t even fully control, with announcements made just 3 days ahead. — It’s safe to say it’s not a great look.

The most comical situation is the one in Zaporozhye. Russia doesn’t even hold Zaporozhye city that is home to 0.8 million of the region’s 1.6 million inhabitants. Russia controls under 50% of the region’s inhabitants but is organizing a “referendum” to transfer the region from Kiev to Moscow.

They’re not low-IQ in Moscow. If we can see that this isn’t a good look, then so can they.

In fact, it’s such a bad look that Moscow has spent 7 months trying to avoid it. The original intent was to first extend control over the entirety of Donetsk and Lugansk, and only then have the rubber-stamp referenda, as would have made far more sense.*

Yet they’re going ahead now, all of a sudden, and at a break-neck pace (just three days from announcement to voting). Why is that?

The reason is that it came down to either start doing things with the proper intensity, or slowly lose the war. The reason is that the Kremlin could no longer maintain the illusion (particularly to itself) that the war was on a proper track.

The war in the parameters before September 20th had exhausted itself, was on the back foot, and was probably headed for a defeat in the long-run, but was certainly headed for the destruction of Russia’s professional Ground Army — not so much on the battlefield, but through a combination of problems with burnout, retention and recruitment.

Far from the assertions of the 5D Kremlin Fan Club Boys that the shock success of Ukraine’s Kharkov offensive “did not matter”, the conclusion in the Kremlin was the precise opposite. Unlike its fanboys, the Kremlin opted to treat the Ukrainian offensive as a massive wake-up call, and reason to do what it had been desperately resisting for 7 months.

It was certainly a wake-up call for any pro-Russians in the territories Moscow had captured since February 24th. Moscow waltzed into Kharkov in February-March, started putting up “Russian World, One People” billboards, handing out citizenships, and promising it was here forever, then ran away in a matter of just 5 days. This after they had made “We do not leave ours behind” the official motto of the SMO.

After this who would ever be dumb enough to stick out his neck for Russia again?

After the Kharkov debacle the pro-Russians needed assurances that Kremlins are actually serious and not a bunch of feckless traitors to the Russkiy Mir as it was starting to look. The annexation to Russia that will follow the referenda is that badly needed assurance.

Another thing annexations will do is make conscripts deployable.

Officially Russia insists that conscripts will still not be deployed to “the area of SMO”. But just a week ago Peskov was also still insisting that there would be no mobilization either. Thus all Kremlin utterances must be treated as being of the “here today, gone tomorrow” variety.

The fact is that proclaiming the four regions Russian soil makes conscripts immediately deployable to them, without even having to proclaim a state of war.

Moreover the mobilization decree allows the state to mobilize conscripts as soon as they are discharged and become “former servicemen”, so it would be rather illogical if you could not be deployed while still in uniform but would become deployable immediately upon discharge.

(Possibly the assurances that conscripts will not be deployed are maintained for now so as not to make the fall draft any harder than it needs to be.)

Anyway, up until now the Russkiy Mir pitch Moscow has had been a very unappealing one. Not because there aren’t willing takers in principle — there are. But because Kremlin-s half-heartedness made it a two-tier system where pro-Russians outside Russia’s borders got a rotten deal.

The members of this Russkiy Mir in Kharkov, Kherson and Zaporozhye had no real security guarantees, which is why the pro-Russians of Kharkov are now refugees. Those in DLPR had security guarantees but they were also made to bear disproportionate sacrifices to repay them.

While trained conscripts already in the military from Crimea and Moscow were not sent to war, DLPR was made to carry out a general mobilization and send untrained 50-somethings off to war.

Perhaps these referendums (as sketchy as they are) can start to make Russkiy Mir a more egalitarian and just system, not one where your security and rights depend on your usefulness to the electoral prospects of the shysters of United Russia.

https://twitter.com/LvivTyler/status/1572195862113316864

https://twitter.com/paolobucci68/status/1572944324899348481

https://twitter.com/sbobkov/status/1573102815643598848

This Tuesday referendums on joining Russia were announced for Lugansk, Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporozhye. Four days of voting from the 23rd through 27th are foreseen.

Referendums in wartime (under shells), for regions Russia doesn’t even fully control, with announcements made just 3 days ahead. — It’s safe to say it’s not a great look.

The most comical situation is the one in Zaporozhye. Russia doesn’t even hold Zaporozhye city that is home to 0.8 million of the region’s 1.6 million inhabitants. Russia controls under 50% of the region’s inhabitants but is organizing a “referendum” to transfer the region from Kiev to Moscow.

They’re not low-IQ in Moscow. If we can see that this isn’t a good look, then so can they.

In fact, it’s such a bad look that Moscow has spent 7 months trying to avoid it. The original intent was to first extend control over the entirety of Donetsk and Lugansk, and only then have the rubber-stamp referenda, as would have made far more sense.*

Yet they’re going ahead now, all of a sudden, and at a break-neck pace (just three days from announcement to voting). Why is that?

The reason is that it came down to either start doing things with the proper intensity, or slowly lose the war. The reason is that the Kremlin could no longer maintain the illusion (particularly to itself) that the war was on a proper track.

The war in the parameters before September 20th had exhausted itself, was on the back foot, and was probably headed for a defeat in the long-run, but was certainly headed for the destruction of Russia’s professional Ground Army — not so much on the battlefield, but through a combination of problems with burnout, retention and recruitment.

Far from the assertions of the 5D Kremlin Fan Club Boys that the shock success of Ukraine’s Kharkov offensive “did not matter”, the conclusion in the Kremlin was the precise opposite. Unlike its fanboys, the Kremlin opted to treat the Ukrainian offensive as a massive wake-up call, and reason to do what it had been desperately resisting for 7 months.

It was certainly a wake-up call for any pro-Russians in the territories Moscow had captured since February 24th. Moscow waltzed into Kharkov in February-March, started putting up “Russian World, One People” billboards, handing out citizenships, and promising it was here forever, then ran away in a matter of just 5 days. This after they had made “We do not leave ours behind” the official motto of the SMO.

After this who would ever be dumb enough to stick out his neck for Russia again?

After the Kharkov debacle the pro-Russians needed assurances that Kremlins are actually serious and not a bunch of feckless traitors to the Russkiy Mir as it was starting to look. The annexation to Russia that will follow the referenda is that badly needed assurance.

Another thing annexations will do is make conscripts deployable.

Officially Russia insists that conscripts will still not be deployed to “the area of SMO”. But just a week ago Peskov was also still insisting that there would be no mobilization either. Thus all Kremlin utterances must be treated as being of the “here today, gone tomorrow” variety.

The fact is that proclaiming the four regions Russian soil makes conscripts immediately deployable to them, without even having to proclaim a state of war.

Moreover the mobilization decree allows the state to mobilize conscripts as soon as they are discharged and become “former servicemen”, so it would be rather illogical if you could not be deployed while still in uniform but would become deployable immediately upon discharge.

(Possibly the assurances that conscripts will not be deployed are maintained for now so as not to make the fall draft any harder than it needs to be.)

Anyway, up until now the Russkiy Mir pitch Moscow has had been a very unappealing one. Not because there aren’t willing takers in principle — there are. But because Kremlin-s half-heartedness made it a two-tier system where pro-Russians outside Russia’s borders got a rotten deal.

The members of this Russkiy Mir in Kharkov, Kherson and Zaporozhye had no real security guarantees, which is why the pro-Russians of Kharkov are now refugees. Those in DLPR had security guarantees but they were also made to bear disproportionate sacrifices to repay them.

While trained conscripts already in the military from Crimea and Moscow were not sent to war, DLPR was made to carry out a general mobilization and send untrained 50-somethings off to war.

Perhaps these referendums (as sketchy as they are) can start to make Russkiy Mir a more egalitarian and just system, not one where your security and rights depend on your usefulness to the electoral prospects of the shysters of United Russia.

https://twitter.com/LvivTyler/status/1572195862113316864

https://twitter.com/paolobucci68/status/1572944324899348481

https://twitter.com/sbobkov/status/1573102815643598848

Anti-Empire - Wed Sep 21, 2022 13:39

New decree:

Russia to mobilize 300,000 ex-servicemen and specialists.

The mobilized will have the status of contract soldiers (meaning they are deployable to Ukraine).

Contract soldiers and the newly mobilized are retained for active service indefinitely — until partial mobilization is rescinded or they are otherwise dismissed — regardless of how much time they had left on their contract (stop loss).

Ostensibly the 250,000 conscripts serving their mandatory national service will not be sent to “the area of SMO”, but yesterday’s announcement of referendums in Lugansk, Donetsk, Zaporozhye, and Kherson on joining Russia opens the path for precisely that. When these areas are proclaimed Russian soil conscripts can be deployed there without the procedural need to declare a state of war.

What does this mean?

I explained before that almost the entire weight of Russia’s war rested on just 250,000 men — the officers and contract soldiers of the various land combat arms. The mobilization will massively increase the number of these shoulders to some 500,000 (I’m assuming some of the 300K will go to the Air Force, border guards…).

Moreover, the potential deployment of serving conscripts after the referenda (and after the fall draft is complete) could raise that number by another 150-200K to nearly 700,000.

It will take several months for the mobilization to start feeling itself on the battlefield in full, but this is a “game-changer”. The Russian half-war had exhausted itself, had bogged down, had lost initiative — and worst of all, was starting to devour the Russian ground army.

The mobilization of 300K deployable troops fixes the enormous glaring hole in the Russian war which was the extreme paucity of manpower.

It means that the Kremlin saw exactly what all of us who are not 5D clowns had seen — that the war in the parameters of an “SMO” had spent itself and was starting to be beat, and decided to address the problem with an escalation.

Of course, if you’re going to do something 7 months into a war it means that you should have done it right from the start.

Instead, Ukraine was given 7 valuable months in which to generate additional forces while Russia wasted time. — And worse, was consuming its military power in battles that were more difficult than they needed to be if the kontraktniki had proper conscript and mobiki (the trendy name for “the mobilized” in Russian these days) support.

Nonetheless, the world makes a lot more sense now. I was not in favor of this fratricidal Rus-on-Rus war so I’m not going to celebrate its escalation either. That said even when I don’t agree with people I can respect them more if they are at least coherent. For example, if you’re going to get yourself elected Pope then at least be Catholic, or if you’re going to involve your nation in a war then at least fight it.

If you went out with a girl it’s a good idea to not message her too often. It gives you a little bit of mystique and makes it appear like you’re not all that outcome-dependent. She’s pretty but you’ve got other things going in your life too. But if on the contrary, you are in a *war* then you are in a war full-on from the first minute. You are in it with every fiber of your being, and from the first moment it starts. A war is like a bar fight. Either run away, or smash the ashtray into the first nose in front of you. There is no in-between.

Instead for 7 bizarre months after starting it Putin treated the Ukraine War like a date that needed to be reminded that she isn’t all that. That he also has other priorities, and that he wasn’t all that invested in how things turned out. Utterly bizarre. That’s good for local eye candy but not how you treat Lady War. There is no upside with Lady War for giving her a cold shoulder, only punishment.

The price of Putin’s dilly-dallying for 7 months to the advantage of Kiev and NATO will be that in the long run more people will die, and Russia will accomplish less than if she started the invasion pretty much how every invasion ever has been started — with all available forces and with additional force generation from the start.

None of this is hindsight. I was expressing puzzlement and disbelief that Putin had launched a major war in Europe but ordered the military to fight without its draftees as soon as I learned about this in the first weeks of the war.

And I had been warning that such a self-hindered invasion would likely eventually hit a wall upon which conscripts would have to be called anyway since at least April.

This is quite a pattern actually. I spent December-February saying it was increasingly likely that Russia would strike in Ukraine. The 5D clowns said this was impossible, and that the real Russian “military-technical” answer would be some clever judo move, perhaps in Latin America, that will catch everyone by surprise. Then on February 24 Moscow sent tanks on Kiev and proved me right.

Early into the invasion I wrote that the smallish Russian force had spread itself over too many axes of advance and dissipated its limited numbers over too many theaters. I wrote this while the Russians were still making decent progress in a number of directions. The Kremlin Fan Club meanwhile was busy masturbating over every aspect of the invasion as sheer unprecedented brilliance. A couple of weeks later the Russian military abandoned the Kiev axes, concentrating all power in the south and east, demonstrating that they had seen the exact same thing I saw.

After that aspect of the campaign was fixed, the most immediate and consequential problem of the invasion became the manpower deficiency in the absolute that was increasingly visibly causing Russia to run out of steam. I wrote for months that this, if not addressed, would eventually naturally result in a stalemate and quagmire for Russia. But the Group Therapy Brigade, instead, came up with the evidence-free narrative that Russia didn’t need manpower and that it would be Ukraine that would feel a manpower crunch long before Russia because of the supposed staggering and unsustainable casualties Russia was allegedly inflicting. Then Putin demonstrated the dearth of Russian manpower in the war by proclaiming the mobilization of a staggering 300,000 (!) and taking steps to make another 250,000 deployable.

This is my third major vindication in under a year. What is also interesting about these vindications — in the light of most attacks on me being in the vein of why I’m not singing more praises to the Russian government like the 5D Therapy Groupthinkers — is that all these vindications keep being delivered by Putin, Kremlin and RUMOD. For whatever reason STAVKA loves vindicating me.

RUMOD has very good reasons for always publishing the most shameless and nonsensical spin and just in general emitting a stream of garbage. The reason is that no matter how trash their stream is, simply owing to psychological variance there are about 20% of people who are going to believe it no matter what. So it is just good reflexive control (Soviet psy-op doctrine) to supply that demographic with the garbage it craves and is so willing to swallow and regurgitate.

However, how RUMOD actually runs its war frequently reveals that it holds people delirious enough to believe and regurgitate its trash in utter contempt. For the third time now in under a year now RUMOD has made a major move that its most ardent defenders claimed was impossible or unnecessary.

If I point to a problem. While the Groupthink stubbornly claims there is no problem. And if then RUMOD goes and takes drastic steps to address this problem, then who is really on the same wavelength as RUMOD?

Hilariously the 5D lemmings proclaim deviation from RUMOD’s reflexive control as insufficient loyalty to the New Multipolar World and a sign that the person shouldn’t be speaking on military affairs, all the while RUMOD’s actual actions keep putting egg on their faces and keep aligning far more with the thinking of people who are far more critical of RUMOD than they.

In actions RUMOD (to its great credit) continues to show that it agrees far more with its  critics such as Strelkov than its 5D lemming defenders who swallow and regurgitate the Konashenkov psy-op without a second thought and come back asking for more.

New decree:

Russia to mobilize 300,000 ex-servicemen and specialists.

The mobilized will have the status of contract soldiers (meaning they are deployable to Ukraine).

Contract soldiers and the newly mobilized are retained for active service indefinitely — until partial mobilization is rescinded or they are otherwise dismissed — regardless of how much time they had left on their contract (stop loss).

Ostensibly the 250,000 conscripts serving their mandatory national service will not be sent to “the area of SMO”, but yesterday’s announcement of referendums in Lugansk, Donetsk, Zaporozhye, and Kherson on joining Russia opens the path for precisely that. When these areas are proclaimed Russian soil conscripts can be deployed there without the procedural need to declare a state of war.

What does this mean?

I explained before that almost the entire weight of Russia’s war rested on just 250,000 men — the officers and contract soldiers of the various land combat arms. The mobilization will massively increase the number of these shoulders to some 500,000 (I’m assuming some of the 300K will go to the Air Force, border guards…).

Moreover, the potential deployment of serving conscripts after the referenda (and after the fall draft is complete) could raise that number by another 150-200K to nearly 700,000.

It will take several months for the mobilization to start feeling itself on the battlefield in full, but this is a “game-changer”. The Russian half-war had exhausted itself, had bogged down, had lost initiative — and worst of all, was starting to devour the Russian ground army.

The mobilization of 300K deployable troops fixes the enormous glaring hole in the Russian war which was the extreme paucity of manpower.

It means that the Kremlin saw exactly what all of us who are not 5D clowns had seen — that the war in the parameters of an “SMO” had spent itself and was starting to be beat, and decided to address the problem with an escalation.

Of course, if you’re going to do something 7 months into a war it means that you should have done it right from the start.

Instead, Ukraine was given 7 valuable months in which to generate additional forces while Russia wasted time. — And worse, was consuming its military power in battles that were more difficult than they needed to be if the kontraktniki had proper conscript and mobiki (the trendy name for “the mobilized” in Russian these days) support.

Nonetheless, the world makes a lot more sense now. I was not in favor of this fratricidal Rus-on-Rus war so I’m not going to celebrate its escalation either. That said even when I don’t agree with people I can respect them more if they are at least coherent. For example, if you’re going to get yourself elected Pope then at least be Catholic, or if you’re going to involve your nation in a war then at least fight it.

If you went out with a girl it’s a good idea to not message her too often. It gives you a little bit of mystique and makes it appear like you’re not all that outcome-dependent. She’s pretty but you’ve got other things going in your life too. But if on the contrary, you are in a *war* then you are in a war full-on from the first minute. You are in it with every fiber of your being, and from the first moment it starts. A war is like a bar fight. Either run away, or smash the ashtray into the first nose in front of you. There is no in-between.

Instead for 7 bizarre months after starting it Putin treated the Ukraine War like a date that needed to be reminded that she isn’t all that. That he also has other priorities, and that he wasn’t all that invested in how things turned out. Utterly bizarre. That’s good for local eye candy but not how you treat Lady War. There is no upside with Lady War for giving her a cold shoulder, only punishment.

The price of Putin’s dilly-dallying for 7 months to the advantage of Kiev and NATO will be that in the long run more people will die, and Russia will accomplish less than if she started the invasion pretty much how every invasion ever has been started — with all available forces and with additional force generation from the start.

None of this is hindsight. I was expressing puzzlement and disbelief that Putin had launched a major war in Europe but ordered the military to fight without its draftees as soon as I learned about this in the first weeks of the war.

And I had been warning that such a self-hindered invasion would likely eventually hit a wall upon which conscripts would have to be called anyway since at least April.

This is quite a pattern actually. I spent December-February saying it was increasingly likely that Russia would strike in Ukraine. The 5D clowns said this was impossible, and that the real Russian “military-technical” answer would be some clever judo move, perhaps in Latin America, that will catch everyone by surprise. Then on February 24 Moscow sent tanks on Kiev and proved me right.

Early into the invasion I wrote that the smallish Russian force had spread itself over too many axes of advance and dissipated its limited numbers over too many theaters. I wrote this while the Russians were still making decent progress in a number of directions. The Kremlin Fan Club meanwhile was busy masturbating over every aspect of the invasion as sheer unprecedented brilliance. A couple of weeks later the Russian military abandoned the Kiev axes, concentrating all power in the south and east, demonstrating that they had seen the exact same thing I saw.

After that aspect of the campaign was fixed, the most immediate and consequential problem of the invasion became the manpower deficiency in the absolute that was increasingly visibly causing Russia to run out of steam. I wrote for months that this, if not addressed, would eventually naturally result in a stalemate and quagmire for Russia. But the Group Therapy Brigade, instead, came up with the evidence-free narrative that Russia didn’t need manpower and that it would be Ukraine that would feel a manpower crunch long before Russia because of the supposed staggering and unsustainable casualties Russia was allegedly inflicting. Then Putin demonstrated the dearth of Russian manpower in the war by proclaiming the mobilization of a staggering 300,000 (!) and taking steps to make another 250,000 deployable.

This is my third major vindication in under a year. What is also interesting about these vindications — in the light of most attacks on me being in the vein of why I’m not singing more praises to the Russian government like the 5D Therapy Groupthinkers — is that all these vindications keep being delivered by Putin, Kremlin and RUMOD. For whatever reason STAVKA loves vindicating me.

RUMOD has very good reasons for always publishing the most shameless and nonsensical spin and just in general emitting a stream of garbage. The reason is that no matter how trash their stream is, simply owing to psychological variance there are about 20% of people who are going to believe it no matter what. So it is just good reflexive control (Soviet psy-op doctrine) to supply that demographic with the garbage it craves and is so willing to swallow and regurgitate.

However, how RUMOD actually runs its war frequently reveals that it holds people delirious enough to believe and regurgitate its trash in utter contempt. For the third time now in under a year now RUMOD has made a major move that its most ardent defenders claimed was impossible or unnecessary.

If I point to a problem. While the Groupthink stubbornly claims there is no problem. And if then RUMOD goes and takes drastic steps to address this problem, then who is really on the same wavelength as RUMOD?

Hilariously the 5D lemmings proclaim deviation from RUMOD’s reflexive control as insufficient loyalty to the New Multipolar World and a sign that the person shouldn’t be speaking on military affairs, all the while RUMOD’s actual actions keep putting egg on their faces and keep aligning far more with the thinking of people who are far more critical of RUMOD than they.

In actions RUMOD (to its great credit) continues to show that it agrees far more with its  critics such as Strelkov than its 5D lemming defenders who swallow and regurgitate the Konashenkov psy-op without a second thought and come back asking for more.

Anti-Empire - Tue Sep 20, 2022 23:04

At Kherson a grind continues with the Ukrainians still hoping they can gradually weaken and expose Russian positions in a phased setpiece battle.

At Bakhmut Wagner in its private war has edged a little closer to the town.

Around the confluence of Oskil and Seversky Donetsk (near Izyum) the Ukrainians have crossed the river and captured the villages of Sviatohirsk and Yarova.

At Kupyansk Russian reporters on the ground say that Russian forces are still in eastern half of the city across the Oskil, but they have only been able to provide footage from the nearby village of Kislovka as they report that from there on Ukrainian artillery is too dangerous.

Ukrainians meanwhile have been able to supply footage of strolling across the Oskil bridge in Kupyansk, and of a part of eastern Kupyansk. It seems certain that the Ukrainians carried out at least a temporary incursion into left-bank Kupyansk, and even pro-Russian mappers are drawing the situation in that town as the bridge being in Ukrainian possession along with a thin strip beyond it.

The Ukrainians have also crossed the Seversky Donetsk near Slovyansk and are threatening Liman.

Finally, the Ukrainians have taken, or at the very least entered, the settlement of Belogorovka not far from Lisichansk.

Belogorovka and Lisichansk were located near the exposed tip of the Ukrainian salient that the Russians spent entire late spring and summer collapsing. Moreover Belogorovka is in Lugansk oblast.

In summary then, the Ukrainians hold 2, possibly 3 bridgeheads across the Oskil-Seversky Donetsk system. At Lyman, at Sviatohirsk, and possibly at Kupyansk. (In the recent Ukrainian offensive Russia fled behind the Oskil but now even these river-aided positions aren’t holding up everywhere.)

The Russians also no longer hold 100% of Lugansk oblast.

Who could have thought that after 208 days of fighting the Russians would hold neither the whole of Donetsk nor Lugansk?

Shocking stuff, but that’s not even the key Russian problem. The truth is that even if Putin held the whole of DLPR his position would be no better.

If Putin held the whole of DLPR he could declare that his minimal goals had been accomplished and that he was now ready for a ceasefire. But why should the Ukrainians accept an end to hostilities?

In a war, it is not enough to take physical possession of your objective (which the Russians have failed to do), one must also force the other side to accept the new status quo.

In an overwhelming victory that is done by conquering the opposing political system, or shattering the opposing military. Failing that the war must at least demonstrate to the other side the futility of trying to recapture what has been lost.

The Russians have done anything but.

After just 7 months of expedited Ukrainian army-building, the Russians find themselves outnumbered and on the defensive, and even ceding ground in places. What the Ukrainians will be thinking is “if we accomplished this much in 7 months, how much more can we do in another 7 or 14?”

The Russian conscript-less invasion neither collapsed the Ukrainian state, nor isolated it from its major sources of manpower (cities). Owing to aggression, surprise, and an edge in technology and professionalism it was initially dominant over the opposition. But that wasn’t leveraged in a way to cripple Kiev’s ability to prosecute the war past the initial stage in any game-changing way. For example, except for Mariupol neither Ukrainian cities nor forces in the south and east were encircled.

(For a conscript-less invasion even a conventional military plan that sought southeastern encirclements to prevent Kiev from being able to dip into the manpower of Kharkov, Dnipro, Zaporozhye, etc would have been very difficult already. Instead, an even more ambitious plan to drive over 300 kilometers to Kiev was conceived, wasting the military’s elan on the pie-in-the-sky that was the daydream of instant regime change.)

I said in April that the outcome of the war is in Russia’s hands alone. Russia is massive enough and the US has taken enough of a backseat that this is true. It is only a question of Russian willpower. If Russia wants to win badly enough, nothing can stop her. But this is only true if deploying conscripts is on the table.

But if deploying conscripts is forever off the table — then it is rather the other way around. Then the outcome is in Ukraine’s hands alone and only a question of Ukrainian willpower.

If conscripts are off the table then Moscow will be extremely lucky just to get the Iraq-Iran War scenario. — A never-ending bloody stalemate where the better-equipped military precariously hangs against a larger force.

But this is the optimistic scenario for Moscow. In the less rosy scenario for Moscow Kiev will continue building up its army until one day it will be capable of successful offensives, not just against neglected Russian flanks, but even against its center.

Putin says that Russians and Ukrainians are one people. That would make Ukrainians his people. I think that he is sincere in this. I think that he is not numb to Russian deaths and I think that he is not numb to Ukrainian deaths. — And yet he escalated the dormant Donbass War into the much larger Ukraine War without a surefire way to the bloodshed.

He watched George Bush start wars without a surefire endgame, and then he went ahead and did the same himself. Except Bush at least started such wars with far-away foreigners. But Putin popped open a new open-ended slaughter where every death would be Russian.

 


PS.: Putin is expected to address the nation shortly. We’ll see if the address will be in some way connected to the deployment of conscripts.

At Kherson a grind continues with the Ukrainians still hoping they can gradually weaken and expose Russian positions in a phased setpiece battle.

At Bakhmut Wagner in its private war has edged a little closer to the town.

Around the confluence of Oskil and Seversky Donetsk (near Izyum) the Ukrainians have crossed the river and captured the villages of Sviatohirsk and Yarova.

At Kupyansk Russian reporters on the ground say that Russian forces are still in eastern half of the city across the Oskil, but they have only been able to provide footage from the nearby village of Kislovka as they report that from there on Ukrainian artillery is too dangerous.

Ukrainians meanwhile have been able to supply footage of strolling across the Oskil bridge in Kupyansk, and of a part of eastern Kupyansk. It seems certain that the Ukrainians carried out at least a temporary incursion into left-bank Kupyansk, and even pro-Russian mappers are drawing the situation in that town as the bridge being in Ukrainian possession along with a thin strip beyond it.

The Ukrainians have also crossed the Seversky Donetsk near Slovyansk and are threatening Liman.

Finally, the Ukrainians have taken, or at the very least entered, the settlement of Belogorovka not far from Lisichansk.

Belogorovka and Lisichansk were located near the exposed tip of the Ukrainian salient that the Russians spent entire late spring and summer collapsing. Moreover Belogorovka is in Lugansk oblast.

In summary then, the Ukrainians hold 2, possibly 3 bridgeheads across the Oskil-Seversky Donetsk system. At Lyman, at Sviatohirsk, and possibly at Kupyansk. (In the recent Ukrainian offensive Russia fled behind the Oskil but now even these river-aided positions aren’t holding up everywhere.)

The Russians also no longer hold 100% of Lugansk oblast.

Who could have thought that after 208 days of fighting the Russians would hold neither the whole of Donetsk nor Lugansk?

Shocking stuff, but that’s not even the key Russian problem. The truth is that even if Putin held the whole of DLPR his position would be no better.

If Putin held the whole of DLPR he could declare that his minimal goals had been accomplished and that he was now ready for a ceasefire. But why should the Ukrainians accept an end to hostilities?

In a war, it is not enough to take physical possession of your objective (which the Russians have failed to do), one must also force the other side to accept the new status quo.

In an overwhelming victory that is done by conquering the opposing political system, or shattering the opposing military. Failing that the war must at least demonstrate to the other side the futility of trying to recapture what has been lost.

The Russians have done anything but.

After just 7 months of expedited Ukrainian army-building, the Russians find themselves outnumbered and on the defensive, and even ceding ground in places. What the Ukrainians will be thinking is “if we accomplished this much in 7 months, how much more can we do in another 7 or 14?”

The Russian conscript-less invasion neither collapsed the Ukrainian state, nor isolated it from its major sources of manpower (cities). Owing to aggression, surprise, and an edge in technology and professionalism it was initially dominant over the opposition. But that wasn’t leveraged in a way to cripple Kiev’s ability to prosecute the war past the initial stage in any game-changing way. For example, except for Mariupol neither Ukrainian cities nor forces in the south and east were encircled.

(For a conscript-less invasion even a conventional military plan that sought southeastern encirclements to prevent Kiev from being able to dip into the manpower of Kharkov, Dnipro, Zaporozhye, etc would have been very difficult already. Instead, an even more ambitious plan to drive over 300 kilometers to Kiev was conceived, wasting the military’s elan on the pie-in-the-sky that was the daydream of instant regime change.)

I said in April that the outcome of the war is in Russia’s hands alone. Russia is massive enough and the US has taken enough of a backseat that this is true. It is only a question of Russian willpower. If Russia wants to win badly enough, nothing can stop her. But this is only true if deploying conscripts is on the table.

But if deploying conscripts is forever off the table — then it is rather the other way around. Then the outcome is in Ukraine’s hands alone and only a question of Ukrainian willpower.

If conscripts are off the table then Moscow will be extremely lucky just to get the Iraq-Iran War scenario. — A never-ending bloody stalemate where the better-equipped military precariously hangs against a larger force.

But this is the optimistic scenario for Moscow. In the less rosy scenario for Moscow Kiev will continue building up its army until one day it will be capable of successful offensives, not just against neglected Russian flanks, but even against its center.

Putin says that Russians and Ukrainians are one people. That would make Ukrainians his people. I think that he is sincere in this. I think that he is not numb to Russian deaths and I think that he is not numb to Ukrainian deaths. — And yet he escalated the dormant Donbass War into the much larger Ukraine War without a surefire way to the bloodshed.

He watched George Bush start wars without a surefire endgame, and then he went ahead and did the same himself. Except Bush at least started such wars with far-away foreigners. But Putin popped open a new open-ended slaughter where every death would be Russian.

 


PS.: Putin is expected to address the nation shortly. We’ll see if the address will be in some way connected to the deployment of conscripts.

Edward Slavsquat - Mon Sep 19, 2022 23:35

Source: Edward Slavsquat

What were Russia’s pro-war commentators saying in the weeks leading up to the AFU’s counter-offensive in Kharkov?

In July and August, Voyennoye Obozreniye (Military Review), Russia’s most popular military news portal, was publishing op-eds making the following claims:

  1. Russia’s MOD was downplaying the strength of the AFU by embellishing casualty figures
  2. Dragging the conflict out might not work in Russia’s favor
  3. Russia’s “operational pause” would allow Ukraine to launch a counter-offensive
  4. Donbass militia members lacked basic gear and hadn’t seen their families in months
  5. Nothing was being done to correct mistakes because no one wanted to admit to them

Again, these are views from a patriotic, pro-military, pro-SMO website that refers to Kiev as the “Ukrainian Reich.”

(In April we published a roundup of thought-provoking op-eds from Military Review. You should definitely read these prophetic commentaries.)

Let’s dive in.

July 21: Creative reports from Russia’s MOD

By the end of July, very little progress was being made in East Ukraine. Despite the lack of territorial gains, Lieutenant General Igor Konashenkov, chief spokesman of Russia’s Ministry of Defense, continued to announce to the world that Russia was vaporizing large quantities of Ukrainian armor on a daily basis.

Military Review did some calculations and concluded:

[If we trust the figures given by the Russian MOD], it turns out that all Ukrainian heavy equipment has been destroyed (even “with a margin”), and the Armed Forces of Ukraine cannot continue hostilities. In reality, however, we see a completely different picture. […]

We do not know what methods the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation uses when counting the destroyed military equipment and combat aircraft of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. However, these methods raise serious questions regarding the reliability of the announced figures. If the numbers on the number of destroyed weapons given by General Konashenkov were true, then the Ukrainian army should no longer exist as such.

In general, there are certain questions about [the Russian MOD’s] information policy.

July 23: Is time really on Russia’s side?

Not necessarily:

There is a risk that time will work against us. We should not repeat the mistake of 2014, when we gave Ukraine and NATO an 8-year head start to dig in and arm up to the current state, and, as a result, we have such a difficult fight.

Kiev will be supplied—we will not completely prevent this—a lot of new and fairly effective weapons, the most dangerous of them are multiple launch rocket systems (MLRS) HIMARS (USA) with a range of 300-500 km, which can also reach our territory, and fire at our positions from central Ukraine. And this weapon has been received and is causing us damage. […]

If we do not succeed now, Ukraine will build up its potential at the expense of NATO and strike from long distances, while our losses will increase many times over, and we will have to wage a real and tough war. […]

From an economic point of view, a prolonged war is highly inefficient. Here, unfortunately, the plan of the RAND Corporation (USA) of 2019 is being fully implemented, with the aim of “limiting income and imposing costs.” A similar US strategy led to the dismantling of the USSR, the West imposed on us an arms race in the 1960s and 1970s, when instead of televisions, washing machines, refrigerators and shoes, we produced incredible quantities of tanks and ballistic missiles, which, after perestroika, were no longer needed, they put under the knife, and only weapons-grade uranium was sold to the United States. The longer the war, the greater the attrition. And here the West gets everything it wants.

July 28: The Ukrainians are preparing a counterattack

At the end of July, Military Review warned that Russia’s “operational pause” would give the AFU time to prepare for a counter-offensive:

There is an opinion that Russia is capable of achieving victory without mobilizing and transferring industry to a military footing, but it cannot withstand a collision with reality. So far, the allied forces cannot even liberate the Donbass, and the military conflict is close to a “hot freeze”.

The Armed Forces of Ukraine, in turn, are preparing for counterattacks, under the supervision of Western “partners”. Even if we assume that all of them will be successfully repulsed, with the current alignment of forces, the war may finally take on the character of a positional one, and the front line will stabilize in the current configuration.

August 6: The Donbass militias are underequipped and need a rest

Probably you’ve seen the videos: mobilized Ukrainians have been complaining about the lack of equipment and support from Kiev.

Unfortunately, citizen-soldiers of Lugansk and Donetsk have faced similar setbacks.

As Military Review wrote in early August, forcibly conscripted members of the LDNR militias weren’t being provided with basic military gear:

The supply problem is still a key one for the warring army. Despite the fact that this topic is constantly raised by military commanders, bloggers, and volunteers who help this very army, in general, the situation has not changed much.

After five months of the war, the issue of providing fighters with personal protective equipment is still acute—body armor, helmets, etc. The fighters are either not given them at all, or they are given helmets from the Second World War, and armor from the times of Afghanistan, which burst at the seams. The situation is exactly the same with equipping the army with communications equipment and drones. […]

A lot of uncomfortable questions arise: why, before the start of the special military operation, knowing that mobilization would take place in the republics, the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation did not bother to stockpile the required number of bulletproof vests, helmets, machine guns, and medical kits? There are no answers to these questions.

To make matters worse, militia members were still waiting for rotation:

Despite the announced operational pause, no one gave the soldiers of the LPR and DPR a rest. While during the mobilization, the families of the mobilized residents of the LPR were told that they were called up for 90 days, and after this period a rotation should be carried out, in fact, after this period, no rotation was carried out.

Apparently, the main reason why the rotation is not carried out is that there is simply no one in the People’s Militia of the LPR and DPR to carry out replacements, since there are no reserves in the republics to fully replace those who are fighting on the front lines right now.

August 27: Everything is going according to plan?

Possibly not:

The offensive of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation and the People’s Militia of the LDNR has been stopped by the enemy at the moment, and the situation has reached an operational dead end, just as Western media report. The supply of Western weapons to Kiev—which, unfortunately, has not been unsuccessful—has played an important role in this development. […]

[T]he infantry of the allied forces is really sorely lacking. Attempts to “plug the holes” by general mobilization in the republics do not bring much result. At the moment, it can be stated that it is impossible to defeat the Armed Forces of Ukraine with existing forces and means.

As for mobilization, now the RF Armed Forces have accelerated the recruitment of people for service under the contract, campaigning events are being held in the regions, and participants in the SMO are being paid high salaries. However, there are still few people who want to participate in the special military operation. Why?

Because, firstly, there is no “idea” that could attract volunteers (abstract “demilitarization” and “denazification” are not ideas), and secondly, generals are not being held responsible for the mistakes being made during the operation.

Nothing is being done to correct mistakes, because no one publicly admits to them. “Everything goes according to plan”. In order to change the situation, this approach needs to be reconsidered.

September 11: The Russian MOD’s silence during the Ukrainian counter-offensive: Not appreciated

Many confusing hours passed before the Russian military issued a statement about what was happening in Kharkov region (a “regrouping”). This made Military Review unhappy:

Today, the Ministry of Defense is really sowing panic and defeatist sentiment precisely by the fact that it is not able to tell the people of Russia the TRUTH. […]

Why does our Ministry of Defense cowardly hide its head in the sand today as soon as problems begin? … Will real success come from verbal victories?

Already today, many in Russia have the same question: if the Armed Forces of Ukraine are left without equipment, if the soldiers do not want to fight and scatter, then who, excuse me, captures the cities? Are necromancers raising the dead? […]

The situation is ominous … The Ministry of Defense can remain silent as long as it wants or draw beautiful reports, destroying the equipment of the Armed Forces of Ukraine for the fourth time. Will this change the situation at the front? Also no. It is high time for the authorities to think about what they are doing, and how long will the Russian people allow themselves to be mocked like that. Trust is lost very quickly, as practice shows. Experiments of this kind can end very sadly, and it is a pity that the Ministry of Defense is playing with fire, pretending not to understand the problem. […]

And, finally, the same question that was mentioned at the very beginning: do you really think that we have no right to the truth?

September 14: “A costly lesson”

When the dust settled:

At the moment, the Russian army has practically withdrawn all its forces from the Kharkov region. That is, this means that Ukrainian forces ended up on the Russian border.

Once again, the Ministry of Defense called this a cosmetic retreat. […]

All this is very similar to the spring gesture of goodwill with the withdrawal of troops from the north of Ukraine.

The Kharkov operational crisis in early September is, of course, a lesson for the allied forces. Underestimating the enemy was very costly. Even taking into account the fact that it was possible to withdraw the troops relatively quickly. In the newly occupied territories, many people remained who believed that Russia was here forever. These are dark times now.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XD5i5lkYtHk

Source: Edward Slavsquat

What were Russia’s pro-war commentators saying in the weeks leading up to the AFU’s counter-offensive in Kharkov?

In July and August, Voyennoye Obozreniye (Military Review), Russia’s most popular military news portal, was publishing op-eds making the following claims:

  1. Russia’s MOD was downplaying the strength of the AFU by embellishing casualty figures
  2. Dragging the conflict out might not work in Russia’s favor
  3. Russia’s “operational pause” would allow Ukraine to launch a counter-offensive
  4. Donbass militia members lacked basic gear and hadn’t seen their families in months
  5. Nothing was being done to correct mistakes because no one wanted to admit to them

Again, these are views from a patriotic, pro-military, pro-SMO website that refers to Kiev as the “Ukrainian Reich.”

(In April we published a roundup of thought-provoking op-eds from Military Review. You should definitely read these prophetic commentaries.)

Let’s dive in.

July 21: Creative reports from Russia’s MOD

By the end of July, very little progress was being made in East Ukraine. Despite the lack of territorial gains, Lieutenant General Igor Konashenkov, chief spokesman of Russia’s Ministry of Defense, continued to announce to the world that Russia was vaporizing large quantities of Ukrainian armor on a daily basis.

Military Review did some calculations and concluded:

[If we trust the figures given by the Russian MOD], it turns out that all Ukrainian heavy equipment has been destroyed (even “with a margin”), and the Armed Forces of Ukraine cannot continue hostilities. In reality, however, we see a completely different picture. […]

We do not know what methods the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation uses when counting the destroyed military equipment and combat aircraft of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. However, these methods raise serious questions regarding the reliability of the announced figures. If the numbers on the number of destroyed weapons given by General Konashenkov were true, then the Ukrainian army should no longer exist as such.

In general, there are certain questions about [the Russian MOD’s] information policy.

July 23: Is time really on Russia’s side?

Not necessarily:

There is a risk that time will work against us. We should not repeat the mistake of 2014, when we gave Ukraine and NATO an 8-year head start to dig in and arm up to the current state, and, as a result, we have such a difficult fight.

Kiev will be supplied—we will not completely prevent this—a lot of new and fairly effective weapons, the most dangerous of them are multiple launch rocket systems (MLRS) HIMARS (USA) with a range of 300-500 km, which can also reach our territory, and fire at our positions from central Ukraine. And this weapon has been received and is causing us damage. […]

If we do not succeed now, Ukraine will build up its potential at the expense of NATO and strike from long distances, while our losses will increase many times over, and we will have to wage a real and tough war. […]

From an economic point of view, a prolonged war is highly inefficient. Here, unfortunately, the plan of the RAND Corporation (USA) of 2019 is being fully implemented, with the aim of “limiting income and imposing costs.” A similar US strategy led to the dismantling of the USSR, the West imposed on us an arms race in the 1960s and 1970s, when instead of televisions, washing machines, refrigerators and shoes, we produced incredible quantities of tanks and ballistic missiles, which, after perestroika, were no longer needed, they put under the knife, and only weapons-grade uranium was sold to the United States. The longer the war, the greater the attrition. And here the West gets everything it wants.

July 28: The Ukrainians are preparing a counterattack

At the end of July, Military Review warned that Russia’s “operational pause” would give the AFU time to prepare for a counter-offensive:

There is an opinion that Russia is capable of achieving victory without mobilizing and transferring industry to a military footing, but it cannot withstand a collision with reality. So far, the allied forces cannot even liberate the Donbass, and the military conflict is close to a “hot freeze”.

The Armed Forces of Ukraine, in turn, are preparing for counterattacks, under the supervision of Western “partners”. Even if we assume that all of them will be successfully repulsed, with the current alignment of forces, the war may finally take on the character of a positional one, and the front line will stabilize in the current configuration.

August 6: The Donbass militias are underequipped and need a rest

Probably you’ve seen the videos: mobilized Ukrainians have been complaining about the lack of equipment and support from Kiev.

Unfortunately, citizen-soldiers of Lugansk and Donetsk have faced similar setbacks.

As Military Review wrote in early August, forcibly conscripted members of the LDNR militias weren’t being provided with basic military gear:

The supply problem is still a key one for the warring army. Despite the fact that this topic is constantly raised by military commanders, bloggers, and volunteers who help this very army, in general, the situation has not changed much.

After five months of the war, the issue of providing fighters with personal protective equipment is still acute—body armor, helmets, etc. The fighters are either not given them at all, or they are given helmets from the Second World War, and armor from the times of Afghanistan, which burst at the seams. The situation is exactly the same with equipping the army with communications equipment and drones. […]

A lot of uncomfortable questions arise: why, before the start of the special military operation, knowing that mobilization would take place in the republics, the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation did not bother to stockpile the required number of bulletproof vests, helmets, machine guns, and medical kits? There are no answers to these questions.

To make matters worse, militia members were still waiting for rotation:

Despite the announced operational pause, no one gave the soldiers of the LPR and DPR a rest. While during the mobilization, the families of the mobilized residents of the LPR were told that they were called up for 90 days, and after this period a rotation should be carried out, in fact, after this period, no rotation was carried out.

Apparently, the main reason why the rotation is not carried out is that there is simply no one in the People’s Militia of the LPR and DPR to carry out replacements, since there are no reserves in the republics to fully replace those who are fighting on the front lines right now.

August 27: Everything is going according to plan?

Possibly not:

The offensive of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation and the People’s Militia of the LDNR has been stopped by the enemy at the moment, and the situation has reached an operational dead end, just as Western media report. The supply of Western weapons to Kiev—which, unfortunately, has not been unsuccessful—has played an important role in this development. […]

[T]he infantry of the allied forces is really sorely lacking. Attempts to “plug the holes” by general mobilization in the republics do not bring much result. At the moment, it can be stated that it is impossible to defeat the Armed Forces of Ukraine with existing forces and means.

As for mobilization, now the RF Armed Forces have accelerated the recruitment of people for service under the contract, campaigning events are being held in the regions, and participants in the SMO are being paid high salaries. However, there are still few people who want to participate in the special military operation. Why?

Because, firstly, there is no “idea” that could attract volunteers (abstract “demilitarization” and “denazification” are not ideas), and secondly, generals are not being held responsible for the mistakes being made during the operation.

Nothing is being done to correct mistakes, because no one publicly admits to them. “Everything goes according to plan”. In order to change the situation, this approach needs to be reconsidered.

September 11: The Russian MOD’s silence during the Ukrainian counter-offensive: Not appreciated

Many confusing hours passed before the Russian military issued a statement about what was happening in Kharkov region (a “regrouping”). This made Military Review unhappy:

Today, the Ministry of Defense is really sowing panic and defeatist sentiment precisely by the fact that it is not able to tell the people of Russia the TRUTH. […]

Why does our Ministry of Defense cowardly hide its head in the sand today as soon as problems begin? … Will real success come from verbal victories?

Already today, many in Russia have the same question: if the Armed Forces of Ukraine are left without equipment, if the soldiers do not want to fight and scatter, then who, excuse me, captures the cities? Are necromancers raising the dead? […]

The situation is ominous … The Ministry of Defense can remain silent as long as it wants or draw beautiful reports, destroying the equipment of the Armed Forces of Ukraine for the fourth time. Will this change the situation at the front? Also no. It is high time for the authorities to think about what they are doing, and how long will the Russian people allow themselves to be mocked like that. Trust is lost very quickly, as practice shows. Experiments of this kind can end very sadly, and it is a pity that the Ministry of Defense is playing with fire, pretending not to understand the problem. […]

And, finally, the same question that was mentioned at the very beginning: do you really think that we have no right to the truth?

September 14: “A costly lesson”

When the dust settled:

At the moment, the Russian army has practically withdrawn all its forces from the Kharkov region. That is, this means that Ukrainian forces ended up on the Russian border.

Once again, the Ministry of Defense called this a cosmetic retreat. […]

All this is very similar to the spring gesture of goodwill with the withdrawal of troops from the north of Ukraine.

The Kharkov operational crisis in early September is, of course, a lesson for the allied forces. Underestimating the enemy was very costly. Even taking into account the fact that it was possible to withdraw the troops relatively quickly. In the newly occupied territories, many people remained who believed that Russia was here forever. These are dark times now.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XD5i5lkYtHk

Guy Chazan - Mon Sep 19, 2022 22:18

Source: Financial Times

In May 2017, Rosneft chief executive Igor Sechin came to Berlin to outline a five-year plan to double the Russian oil company’s investments in German refining to €600mn.

Cut to 2022 and Rosneft’s assets have been taken over by the German government. Sechin’s dream of downstream expansion into Europe’s largest oil products market is in ruins, a victim of the escalating energy war between Russia and the west.

On Friday, the German government said it was seizing control of Rosneft’s stakes in three German refineries — PCK in Schwedt, north-east of Berlin, MiRo in Karlsruhe and Bayernoil in the Bavarian town of Vohburg.

The trigger for the takeover was the looming EU ban on imports of Russian oil, which comes into force on January 1 and could put massive pressure on Germany’s refining industry. Russia has already severed natural gas supplies to Germany threatening a deep recession in the country this winter.

Berlin has had some success in finding alternatives to Russian crude, but the Schwedt plant presented a problem: not only does it sit right on top of a Russian pipeline, the 4,000km-long “Druzhba” or friendship line, but it is also 54 per cent owned by Rosneft, a company with little interest in refining non-Russian oil at the site.

The government, which is placing the Rosneft stakes under the trusteeship of the federal energy regulator, the Bundesnetzagentur, said Russian ownership of Schwedt and the other two refineries jeopardised their business operations.

“Key, critical service providers such as suppliers, insurance companies, banks, IT companies, but also customers, were no longer prepared to work with [sanctioned] Rosneft,” the economy ministry said.

It is all a far cry from Sechin’s press conference in 2017, which marked the opening of Rosneft Deutschland’s new Berlin office. It was a time when German-Russian relations were on an even keel and the Kremlin was still seen by many in Germany as a reliable partner.

The optimists were personified by Michael Harms, head of the Ost-Ausschuss, the principal lobby for German investors in Russia. Appearing next to Sechin, one of President Vladimir Putin’s closest confidants, he said Rosneft’s new Berlin representation was “proof of Russia’s unwavering commitment to the European market”.

German-Russian trade had, he added, “risen dramatically” in the first two months of 2017, and the expectation was that “it will grow by 10 per cent this year, if not more”.

Sechin echoed his assessment. The volume of trade between Russia and Germany had risen fourfold between 2000 and 2013 to €56bn, with German imports from Russia tripling to €27bn and German exports to Russia rising sevenfold to €29bn. “And it’s not just oil deliveries and oil refining, but also technological co-operation,” he said, alluding to the massive market Russia had become for German manufacturers.

Bloomberg:

Rosneft said the move amounted to an expropriation of equity assets in which it had invested 4.6 billion euro ($4.6 billion) for refining capacity, according to a company statement late Friday.

CNBC:

The landlocked refinery is the source of 90% of Berlin’s fuel and has received all its crude from Russia via the Druzhba pipeline since the plant was built in the 1960s.

The refinery, brought under state control under Germany’s energy security law, can continue to operate but not at full capacity, a spokesperson for the economy ministry said on Friday.

Source: Financial Times

In May 2017, Rosneft chief executive Igor Sechin came to Berlin to outline a five-year plan to double the Russian oil company’s investments in German refining to €600mn.

Cut to 2022 and Rosneft’s assets have been taken over by the German government. Sechin’s dream of downstream expansion into Europe’s largest oil products market is in ruins, a victim of the escalating energy war between Russia and the west.

On Friday, the German government said it was seizing control of Rosneft’s stakes in three German refineries — PCK in Schwedt, north-east of Berlin, MiRo in Karlsruhe and Bayernoil in the Bavarian town of Vohburg.

The trigger for the takeover was the looming EU ban on imports of Russian oil, which comes into force on January 1 and could put massive pressure on Germany’s refining industry. Russia has already severed natural gas supplies to Germany threatening a deep recession in the country this winter.

Berlin has had some success in finding alternatives to Russian crude, but the Schwedt plant presented a problem: not only does it sit right on top of a Russian pipeline, the 4,000km-long “Druzhba” or friendship line, but it is also 54 per cent owned by Rosneft, a company with little interest in refining non-Russian oil at the site.

The government, which is placing the Rosneft stakes under the trusteeship of the federal energy regulator, the Bundesnetzagentur, said Russian ownership of Schwedt and the other two refineries jeopardised their business operations.

“Key, critical service providers such as suppliers, insurance companies, banks, IT companies, but also customers, were no longer prepared to work with [sanctioned] Rosneft,” the economy ministry said.

It is all a far cry from Sechin’s press conference in 2017, which marked the opening of Rosneft Deutschland’s new Berlin office. It was a time when German-Russian relations were on an even keel and the Kremlin was still seen by many in Germany as a reliable partner.

The optimists were personified by Michael Harms, head of the Ost-Ausschuss, the principal lobby for German investors in Russia. Appearing next to Sechin, one of President Vladimir Putin’s closest confidants, he said Rosneft’s new Berlin representation was “proof of Russia’s unwavering commitment to the European market”.

German-Russian trade had, he added, “risen dramatically” in the first two months of 2017, and the expectation was that “it will grow by 10 per cent this year, if not more”.

Sechin echoed his assessment. The volume of trade between Russia and Germany had risen fourfold between 2000 and 2013 to €56bn, with German imports from Russia tripling to €27bn and German exports to Russia rising sevenfold to €29bn. “And it’s not just oil deliveries and oil refining, but also technological co-operation,” he said, alluding to the massive market Russia had become for German manufacturers.

Bloomberg:

Rosneft said the move amounted to an expropriation of equity assets in which it had invested 4.6 billion euro ($4.6 billion) for refining capacity, according to a company statement late Friday.

CNBC:

The landlocked refinery is the source of 90% of Berlin’s fuel and has received all its crude from Russia via the Druzhba pipeline since the plant was built in the 1960s.

The refinery, brought under state control under Germany’s energy security law, can continue to operate but not at full capacity, a spokesperson for the economy ministry said on Friday.

Yaroslav Trofimov - Sun Sep 18, 2022 21:32

Source: The Wall Street Journal

Russia has inflicted serious damage on Ukrainian forces with recently introduced Iranian drones, in its first wide-scale deployment of a foreign weapons system since the war began, Ukrainian commanders say.

Over the past week, Shahed-136 delta-wing drones, repainted in Russian colors and rebranded as Geranium 2, started appearing over Ukrainian armor and artillery positions in the northeastern Kharkiv region, said Col. Rodion Kulagin, commander of artillery of Ukraine’s 92nd Mechanized Brigade.

https://twitter.com/squatsons/status/1571516484953976832

In his brigade’s operational area alone, the Iranian drones—which usually fly in pairs and then slam into their targets—have destroyed two 152-mm self-propelled howitzers, two 122-mm self-propelled howitzers, as well as two BTR armored infantry vehicles, he said.

Before the current wide-scale use of the Shaheds, Russia carried out a test last month, striking a U.S.-supplied M777 155-mm towed howitzer with the drone, Col. Kulagin said. Another Iranian drone malfunctioned and was recovered, he said.

https://twitter.com/ZaTritsa/status/1570792163138744322

So far, the Iranian drones seem to have been mostly deployed in the Kharkiv region, where the 92nd Brigade and other Ukrainian forces carried out a major offensive this month, retaking some 8,500 square kilometers, or roughly 3,300 square miles, of land occupied by Russia and seizing or destroying hundreds of Russian tanks, artillery pieces and armored carriers.

“In other areas, the Russians have overwhelming artillery firepower, and they manage with that. Here, they no longer have that artillery advantage, and so they have started to resort to these drones,” Col. Kulagin said.

Independent experts who examined photographs of recent drone wreckage from the Kharkiv region say that it appears to be Shahed-136, the latest evolution of Tehran’s delta-wing design.

https://twitter.com/ZaTritsa/status/1567853916171165696

https://twitter.com/ZaTritsa/status/1567855889880604673

Scott Crino, founder and chief executive of Red Six Solutions LLC, a strategic consulting firm, said the Shahed-136 could provide Russia with a “potent counterweight” to the high-tech weapons systems, such as Himars missile launchers, that the U.S. has provided to Ukraine.

“The presence of Shahed-136 in Ukraine war is undoubtedly changing the operational plans of Kyiv,” he said. “The sheer size of Ukraine battlefield makes it hard to defend against the Shahed-136.”

Mr. Crino said the Shahed-136 can be used with great effect with one targeting a radar system and the second one hitting artillery pieces. Iran also has antijamming systems that can make it hard for Ukrainian forces to counter, he said. “Once a Shahed locks onto target, it will be hard to stop,” he said.

https://twitter.com/CByder/status/1571179775732989957

Russia’s use of Shahed-136 drones in Ukraine represents the most challenging expansion of Tehran’s arsenal beyond the Middle East, where Iran has successfully used its unmanned aerial vehicles to pressure America and its allies in the region. It also highlights the deficiencies in Russia’s own drone program, which hasn’t been able to match the firepower of armed UAVs deployed by Ukraine.

https://twitter.com/LogKa11/status/1569607381771866112

Israel and the West have accused Iran and its proxies of flying armed drones to attack Saudi Arabia’s oil industry, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, American soldiers in Syria, as well as tankers in the Gulf of Oman in recent years.

The British Ministry of Defense, in its intelligence update on Sept. 14, also said it was highly likely that Russia had deployed Iranian drones in Ukraine for the first time. Noting that the Shahed-136 has a claimed range of 2,500 kilometers, it added that so far, it appears that Moscow is using these drones for tactical strikes near front lines rather than to destroy more strategic targets deep into Ukrainian territory.

The Iranian drones are relatively small and fly at a very low altitude, making it hard for Ukrainian air-defense systems to detect them, Col. Kulagin said. He said he hoped the U.S. and allies could provide Ukraine with more advanced antidrone technologies, or would step in to disrupt Iranian drone shipments to Russia.

Source: The Wall Street Journal

Russia has inflicted serious damage on Ukrainian forces with recently introduced Iranian drones, in its first wide-scale deployment of a foreign weapons system since the war began, Ukrainian commanders say.

Over the past week, Shahed-136 delta-wing drones, repainted in Russian colors and rebranded as Geranium 2, started appearing over Ukrainian armor and artillery positions in the northeastern Kharkiv region, said Col. Rodion Kulagin, commander of artillery of Ukraine’s 92nd Mechanized Brigade.

https://twitter.com/squatsons/status/1571516484953976832

In his brigade’s operational area alone, the Iranian drones—which usually fly in pairs and then slam into their targets—have destroyed two 152-mm self-propelled howitzers, two 122-mm self-propelled howitzers, as well as two BTR armored infantry vehicles, he said.

Before the current wide-scale use of the Shaheds, Russia carried out a test last month, striking a U.S.-supplied M777 155-mm towed howitzer with the drone, Col. Kulagin said. Another Iranian drone malfunctioned and was recovered, he said.

https://twitter.com/ZaTritsa/status/1570792163138744322

So far, the Iranian drones seem to have been mostly deployed in the Kharkiv region, where the 92nd Brigade and other Ukrainian forces carried out a major offensive this month, retaking some 8,500 square kilometers, or roughly 3,300 square miles, of land occupied by Russia and seizing or destroying hundreds of Russian tanks, artillery pieces and armored carriers.

“In other areas, the Russians have overwhelming artillery firepower, and they manage with that. Here, they no longer have that artillery advantage, and so they have started to resort to these drones,” Col. Kulagin said.

Independent experts who examined photographs of recent drone wreckage from the Kharkiv region say that it appears to be Shahed-136, the latest evolution of Tehran’s delta-wing design.

https://twitter.com/ZaTritsa/status/1567853916171165696

https://twitter.com/ZaTritsa/status/1567855889880604673

Scott Crino, founder and chief executive of Red Six Solutions LLC, a strategic consulting firm, said the Shahed-136 could provide Russia with a “potent counterweight” to the high-tech weapons systems, such as Himars missile launchers, that the U.S. has provided to Ukraine.

“The presence of Shahed-136 in Ukraine war is undoubtedly changing the operational plans of Kyiv,” he said. “The sheer size of Ukraine battlefield makes it hard to defend against the Shahed-136.”

Mr. Crino said the Shahed-136 can be used with great effect with one targeting a radar system and the second one hitting artillery pieces. Iran also has antijamming systems that can make it hard for Ukrainian forces to counter, he said. “Once a Shahed locks onto target, it will be hard to stop,” he said.

https://twitter.com/CByder/status/1571179775732989957

Russia’s use of Shahed-136 drones in Ukraine represents the most challenging expansion of Tehran’s arsenal beyond the Middle East, where Iran has successfully used its unmanned aerial vehicles to pressure America and its allies in the region. It also highlights the deficiencies in Russia’s own drone program, which hasn’t been able to match the firepower of armed UAVs deployed by Ukraine.

https://twitter.com/LogKa11/status/1569607381771866112

Israel and the West have accused Iran and its proxies of flying armed drones to attack Saudi Arabia’s oil industry, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, American soldiers in Syria, as well as tankers in the Gulf of Oman in recent years.

The British Ministry of Defense, in its intelligence update on Sept. 14, also said it was highly likely that Russia had deployed Iranian drones in Ukraine for the first time. Noting that the Shahed-136 has a claimed range of 2,500 kilometers, it added that so far, it appears that Moscow is using these drones for tactical strikes near front lines rather than to destroy more strategic targets deep into Ukrainian territory.

The Iranian drones are relatively small and fly at a very low altitude, making it hard for Ukrainian air-defense systems to detect them, Col. Kulagin said. He said he hoped the U.S. and allies could provide Ukraine with more advanced antidrone technologies, or would step in to disrupt Iranian drone shipments to Russia.

Field Empty - Sun Sep 18, 2022 06:37

This week it has become known that convicts in Russia are being released into Wagner mercenary company.

According to a Prigozhin recruitment speech in one of the penal colonies, prisoners are able to trade in their sentence for a 6-month stint with Wagner in the Ukraine.

After 6 months they receive an official pardon from the state.

Releasing prisoners into military service has a strong historic precedent in Russia. During World War 2 nearly one million gulag inmates were released into the Red Army.

Many started their service in shtraf or penal units. Inmates could exchange 3 to 5 years of their sentence for 1 month in a shtrafbat (penal battalion) or shtrafroty (penal company).

The maximum length of service in shtraf was 3 months as anything longer was considered a death sentence, so only prisoners with 10 years or less remaining were eligible.

Shtrafniki were also considered to have redeemed themselves with blood if they were wounded and were released into regular army units if so.

Recruiting for war in prisons as such thus has a precedent in Russia. But there is a massive innovation here. — Prisoners are being released into the custody of a private commercial enterprise.

And it is in exchange for a stint with a private commercial enterprise that the government promises them an official state pardon.

Why?

These are people who are in state custody and who are going to war for the pardon only the state can provide.

The state has all the power here. Wagner has no leverage.

Why doesn’t the state simply release these men into penal units of the military?

Why open up prisons to Wagner, use your pardon leverage for Wagner, and then pay Wagner for the privilege of running the men that you gave it?

Why not tie the pardon to service in some outfit organized by the state?

Why channel captive (literally) manpower to a private company you’ll then have to pay for managing the resource (to be crude) you provided it with?

I’ve never heard of anything more neo-liberal.

Working with mercenaries is eyebrow-raising to start with. But maybe there’s an argument for it in the sense that a mercenary company might have access to manpower that would otherwise be out of reach for you. For example, people who don’t like military discipline, but who don’t mind corporate discipline.

But what does Wagner bring to the table here?? These are literally your prisoners that only you can provide with the pardon they want.

I’ve heard of private prisons where the state pays a company to house and guard them because they’re able to do it for cheaper. (Which is iffy enough.)

And I’ve heard of private companies that employ convicts inside state prisons against compensation to prisoners and the state. (Which is open to abuse.)

But channeling your captive manpower into Wagner so that you can pay Wagner even more money for fielding more fighters, why is the middle man needed here??

This sounds like the most unnecessary and the most private-favoring public-private partnership ever.

This is as if you gifted a private company a gold mine for free, so that you can now pay the company for gold that until yesterday was yours.

Except it’s worse than that because here you’re engaging in radical experiments in the early release of criminals on top of that, and you’re doing it to enlarge the role of a private company in the field of dishing out violence that is supposedly solely state’s prerogative.

There is already a sense in the military and Rosgvardia that Wagner is privileged. That where Wagner is on the attack that shells and air support are always found to back it, while they themselves are all too often given the ungrateful tasks of defending the most neglected parts of the front.

Hell, Wagner already has a mini air force now. It is fielding Su-25 strike aircraft. Something that could have only been made possible with a direct transfer from the state.

With the state granting Wagner further privileges (a monopoly on captive manpower), what direction is the prestige and the morale of the military supposed to go from here?

https://twitter.com/SrbskyRus/status/1570179977794158594

https://twitter.com/SrbskyRus/status/1570185459233394696

Let’s not play dumb. We know there are reasons the state may prefer to work with Wagner rather than its own military.

One reason is that Wagner has a better reputation with potential fighters than the state. The military frequently fails to deliver on promised perks of the job like housing, and who is optimistic enough to fully trust the complicated bonus schemes promised by regions to 3rd Corps recruits? Going to war via Wagner or another mercenary route via the Chechens is regarded as safer.

Another reason might be the very lawlessness of the arrangement. The Soviets ran penal combat units but that was 70 years ago. Nobody in the Russian military today knows how to make a penal combat unit work.

Neither does Wagner, but Wagner operates in the grey area, so perhaps it is hoped that Wagner not being subject to oversight or having to follow military law can make up for the lack of procedures and experience with lawlessness. That is to say, if the shrafniki try to desert the Wagner PMC can deal with them in ways that military police or Rosgvardia — especially without written orders, or procedures drilled into them — would probably balk at. (Indeed in the video Prigozhin promises to summarily execute prisoners who change their minds in Ukraine.)

Finally, by working with a PMC the government can make corruption and inefficiency in the ranks not its problem. If the government spends resources on the upkeep of a military unit only to discover, once the unit has been called up, that the outfit sucks because the officers have been selling off the materials intended for training and maintenance then the government has a big problem on its hands.

But if the government pays Wagner to deliver a certain result and the latter fails, then the next time Wagner simply won’t get a contract.

The problem is, what happens when PMC stakeholders gain access to the highest reaches of the government? When the mercenaries fill their pockets to the extent that they can buy up officials? Or when high-ranking officials like Prigozhin and Kadyrov become shareholders in mercenary enterprises? Suddenly you have a section of influential people with the ear of Vladimir Putin with every incentive to darken the reputation of the military, to starve it of resources, and even to corrupt it further.

A private military might be more efficient and less corrupt than a state-owned one. Just like a private defense plant or a private oil drilling company might be. But does that mean that you end up with less corruption? No, it doesn’t. In practice what happens is simply that corruption migrates to a higher plane.

A state-owned defense plant burdens the budget through its lethargy, waste, and theft. But the “well-run” private defense plant buys up Congressmen and think tanks and then runs your budgetary and foreign policies.

What happens if the Wagner pie becomes so large that they can hand out lucrative ownership stakes to men in Putin’s inner circle? What happens when not just Prigozhin, but Medvedev, Sobyanin and Petrushev have an incentive to see the military humbled and Wagner ascendant?

Might we see a scenario where Russian draftees are presented with the choice of serving in either the regular military or Wagner? It would be surreal and I honestly don’t expect it, but it is also surreal that Moscow is handing out pardons to criminals to raise Wagner’s numbers. Who knows where this leads?

This is very weird and surreal stuff that is going on. Stuff that 6 months ago nobody predicted.

What would we say if in 2004 George Bush started pardoning criminals if they signed up for a 6-month stint with Blackwater in Iraq?

Mercenaries broke the ice in America, but it is in Russia that they have attained heights unseen before.

And what does that say about the nature of Putin’s rule? He was once regarded as a statist. Someone who is all about sovereignty, stability, procedure — and most of all state capacity. Well, I see very little of that left. More and more I see improvisation and neu-feudal wheeling and dealing.

I do wonder what a Soviet general from the 1980s who would have been a part of a staggering 3-million military — a massive monument to state capacity — would have made of a prediction that 40 years later Moscow would be reduced to opening its jails to a mercenary company in order to replenish its manpower. And that in a war for places like Kharkov and Odessa!

Putin once cracked down on private companies in oil extraction when they started hijacking the system to benefit themselves. It didn’t matter that they were legitimately well-run. Yet now, in the name of convenience and a little more efficiency, he is opening the door for private interest to take over parts of Russia’s military capacity.

Across the post-Socialist world, it is believed that when the old system fell the ex-Communist managers of state-owned companies intentionally ran them into the ground so they could acquire them on the cheap for themselves.

Well at the start of this war the Russian military was set up for failure. It was thrown into war without notice and the chance to prepare, told to cut a third of its manpower, spread out across numerous axes, without a unified command or operational plan, and to fight in direct contravention of its doctrine and structure — but was made to pursue numerous and extremely ambitious targets (Kiev, Nikolayev, Voznesensk, Sumy, Chernigov…) anyway. It continues to be set up for failure to this day as conscript manpower, which it is structurally built to rely on in a large war, is not made available to it. The result is that the military is in the doldrums and that Wagner and other mercenary connects are ascendant. Now that the state-run military has been discredited, the private militaries can flourish as never before.

I’m not going so far as to say it was a conspiracy. But if it were, what would be done any different?

 

This week it has become known that convicts in Russia are being released into Wagner mercenary company.

According to a Prigozhin recruitment speech in one of the penal colonies, prisoners are able to trade in their sentence for a 6-month stint with Wagner in the Ukraine.

After 6 months they receive an official pardon from the state.

Releasing prisoners into military service has a strong historic precedent in Russia. During World War 2 nearly one million gulag inmates were released into the Red Army.

Many started their service in shtraf or penal units. Inmates could exchange 3 to 5 years of their sentence for 1 month in a shtrafbat (penal battalion) or shtrafroty (penal company).

The maximum length of service in shtraf was 3 months as anything longer was considered a death sentence, so only prisoners with 10 years or less remaining were eligible.

Shtrafniki were also considered to have redeemed themselves with blood if they were wounded and were released into regular army units if so.

Recruiting for war in prisons as such thus has a precedent in Russia. But there is a massive innovation here. — Prisoners are being released into the custody of a private commercial enterprise.

And it is in exchange for a stint with a private commercial enterprise that the government promises them an official state pardon.

Why?

These are people who are in state custody and who are going to war for the pardon only the state can provide.

The state has all the power here. Wagner has no leverage.

Why doesn’t the state simply release these men into penal units of the military?

Why open up prisons to Wagner, use your pardon leverage for Wagner, and then pay Wagner for the privilege of running the men that you gave it?

Why not tie the pardon to service in some outfit organized by the state?

Why channel captive (literally) manpower to a private company you’ll then have to pay for managing the resource (to be crude) you provided it with?

I’ve never heard of anything more neo-liberal.

Working with mercenaries is eyebrow-raising to start with. But maybe there’s an argument for it in the sense that a mercenary company might have access to manpower that would otherwise be out of reach for you. For example, people who don’t like military discipline, but who don’t mind corporate discipline.

But what does Wagner bring to the table here?? These are literally your prisoners that only you can provide with the pardon they want.

I’ve heard of private prisons where the state pays a company to house and guard them because they’re able to do it for cheaper. (Which is iffy enough.)

And I’ve heard of private companies that employ convicts inside state prisons against compensation to prisoners and the state. (Which is open to abuse.)

But channeling your captive manpower into Wagner so that you can pay Wagner even more money for fielding more fighters, why is the middle man needed here??

This sounds like the most unnecessary and the most private-favoring public-private partnership ever.

This is as if you gifted a private company a gold mine for free, so that you can now pay the company for gold that until yesterday was yours.

Except it’s worse than that because here you’re engaging in radical experiments in the early release of criminals on top of that, and you’re doing it to enlarge the role of a private company in the field of dishing out violence that is supposedly solely state’s prerogative.

There is already a sense in the military and Rosgvardia that Wagner is privileged. That where Wagner is on the attack that shells and air support are always found to back it, while they themselves are all too often given the ungrateful tasks of defending the most neglected parts of the front.

Hell, Wagner already has a mini air force now. It is fielding Su-25 strike aircraft. Something that could have only been made possible with a direct transfer from the state.

With the state granting Wagner further privileges (a monopoly on captive manpower), what direction is the prestige and the morale of the military supposed to go from here?

https://twitter.com/SrbskyRus/status/1570179977794158594

https://twitter.com/SrbskyRus/status/1570185459233394696

Let’s not play dumb. We know there are reasons the state may prefer to work with Wagner rather than its own military.

One reason is that Wagner has a better reputation with potential fighters than the state. The military frequently fails to deliver on promised perks of the job like housing, and who is optimistic enough to fully trust the complicated bonus schemes promised by regions to 3rd Corps recruits? Going to war via Wagner or another mercenary route via the Chechens is regarded as safer.

Another reason might be the very lawlessness of the arrangement. The Soviets ran penal combat units but that was 70 years ago. Nobody in the Russian military today knows how to make a penal combat unit work.

Neither does Wagner, but Wagner operates in the grey area, so perhaps it is hoped that Wagner not being subject to oversight or having to follow military law can make up for the lack of procedures and experience with lawlessness. That is to say, if the shrafniki try to desert the Wagner PMC can deal with them in ways that military police or Rosgvardia — especially without written orders, or procedures drilled into them — would probably balk at. (Indeed in the video Prigozhin promises to summarily execute prisoners who change their minds in Ukraine.)

Finally, by working with a PMC the government can make corruption and inefficiency in the ranks not its problem. If the government spends resources on the upkeep of a military unit only to discover, once the unit has been called up, that the outfit sucks because the officers have been selling off the materials intended for training and maintenance then the government has a big problem on its hands.

But if the government pays Wagner to deliver a certain result and the latter fails, then the next time Wagner simply won’t get a contract.

The problem is, what happens when PMC stakeholders gain access to the highest reaches of the government? When the mercenaries fill their pockets to the extent that they can buy up officials? Or when high-ranking officials like Prigozhin and Kadyrov become shareholders in mercenary enterprises? Suddenly you have a section of influential people with the ear of Vladimir Putin with every incentive to darken the reputation of the military, to starve it of resources, and even to corrupt it further.

A private military might be more efficient and less corrupt than a state-owned one. Just like a private defense plant or a private oil drilling company might be. But does that mean that you end up with less corruption? No, it doesn’t. In practice what happens is simply that corruption migrates to a higher plane.

A state-owned defense plant burdens the budget through its lethargy, waste, and theft. But the “well-run” private defense plant buys up Congressmen and think tanks and then runs your budgetary and foreign policies.

What happens if the Wagner pie becomes so large that they can hand out lucrative ownership stakes to men in Putin’s inner circle? What happens when not just Prigozhin, but Medvedev, Sobyanin and Petrushev have an incentive to see the military humbled and Wagner ascendant?

Might we see a scenario where Russian draftees are presented with the choice of serving in either the regular military or Wagner? It would be surreal and I honestly don’t expect it, but it is also surreal that Moscow is handing out pardons to criminals to raise Wagner’s numbers. Who knows where this leads?

This is very weird and surreal stuff that is going on. Stuff that 6 months ago nobody predicted.

What would we say if in 2004 George Bush started pardoning criminals if they signed up for a 6-month stint with Blackwater in Iraq?

Mercenaries broke the ice in America, but it is in Russia that they have attained heights unseen before.

And what does that say about the nature of Putin’s rule? He was once regarded as a statist. Someone who is all about sovereignty, stability, procedure — and most of all state capacity. Well, I see very little of that left. More and more I see improvisation and neu-feudal wheeling and dealing.

I do wonder what a Soviet general from the 1980s who would have been a part of a staggering 3-million military — a massive monument to state capacity — would have made of a prediction that 40 years later Moscow would be reduced to opening its jails to a mercenary company in order to replenish its manpower. And that in a war for places like Kharkov and Odessa!

Putin once cracked down on private companies in oil extraction when they started hijacking the system to benefit themselves. It didn’t matter that they were legitimately well-run. Yet now, in the name of convenience and a little more efficiency, he is opening the door for private interest to take over parts of Russia’s military capacity.

Across the post-Socialist world, it is believed that when the old system fell the ex-Communist managers of state-owned companies intentionally ran them into the ground so they could acquire them on the cheap for themselves.

Well at the start of this war the Russian military was set up for failure. It was thrown into war without notice and the chance to prepare, told to cut a third of its manpower, spread out across numerous axes, without a unified command or operational plan, and to fight in direct contravention of its doctrine and structure — but was made to pursue numerous and extremely ambitious targets (Kiev, Nikolayev, Voznesensk, Sumy, Chernigov…) anyway. It continues to be set up for failure to this day as conscript manpower, which it is structurally built to rely on in a large war, is not made available to it. The result is that the military is in the doldrums and that Wagner and other mercenary connects are ascendant. Now that the state-run military has been discredited, the private militaries can flourish as never before.

I’m not going so far as to say it was a conspiracy. But if it were, what would be done any different?

 

Anti-Empire - Fri Sep 16, 2022 02:42

The reason the Ukrainian Kupyansk-Izyum offensive succeeded is very simple. The reason is that on this particular section of the front the Ukrainians had a quantitative and qualitative advantage.

The Russians were manning their right flank from Kharkov to Izyum with low numbers of second-rate troops. Rosgvardia internal (police) troops and Lugansk militias, backed by detachments of Russian army regulars (eg for artillery, air defense, and tank support).

Not only was their front line thinly manned, but the Russians had no mobile reserve close by.

Against these, the Ukrainians struck with 4-5 airborne and mechanized brigades.

There was no stopping the Ukrainians, particularly since they were quite happy to drive into the Russian rear at speed and bypassing Russians defenses — knowing that owing to their numerical superiority these could be dealt with 2nd and 3rd echelons.

Initially, the Russian MoD publicly advertised that it was rushing reinforcements to the sector in large convoys and even with helicopters.

https://twitter.com/ferozwala/status/1568310816952270849

https://twitter.com/AhuraMazda3G/status/1568261527731408899

https://twitter.com/1689Freeman/status/1568589180221128704

However, the Russians quickly realized that the battle was lost. Even if they had the forces to repel the Ukrainians on paper, these were too far and couldn’t arrive in time to change the outcome.

The decision was made to order a general retreat and avoid an even worse catastrophe. Russia gave up nearly 10,000 sq km, largely without a fight. The fighting was most intense during the first 3 days as the Ukrainians were advancing into depth towards Kupyansk. Once the Ukrainians reached Kupyansk the Russians simply started evacuating everything to the north and south of if, to behind the Oskil river.

The 5D predictions that the Russian mobile reserve would maul the “overextended” Ukrainian spearheads did not come true.

On the contrary. There weren’t even mobile reserves available to even just plug the gaps.

The extent of the Russian “success” consisted of not getting themselves encircled and losing numerous men as POWs.

However, the Russians did leave behind a great deal of heavy equipment such as tanks. Many of these were vehicles in repair centers awaiting maintenance, but also whatever the retreating troops concluded would hinder them during their retreat.

Understand that while the retreat was ordered by the center it was not centrally coordinated. There was no time for that. Especially around Kupyansk and Izyum this was no organized, phased retreat where large units cooperate to cover each other as they fall back in stages. No, this was a speedy escape where troops raced to reach safety as individual companies and platoons.

This does not stop the 5D ghouls from claiming that the Ukrainians paid for their gains with massive losses. This is transparently false. Where in between abandoning 10,000 sq km and 50-100 tanks in just 5 days would the Russians have had the time to inflict heavy losses?

In fact, Moscow revealed that the loss in Kharkov stung indeed as it all of a sudden started dismantling Ukraine’s electric grid that had been left unmolested for 7 months:

https://twitter.com/TpyxaNews/status/1569013949739180033

https://twitter.com/Nikolai11449196/status/1570482575424233473

For me the two unknowns that this offensive definitely answered are:

  • The Ukrainians proved they can handle complex offensive operations.
  • The Russian Aerospace Forces proved they can’t keep Ukrainians from concentrating massive forces needed for offensives, and then operating those forces in daylight.

Now that we understand what the Ukrainian quantitative and qualitative superiority in the Kharkov region led to, it would be pertinent to ask how did that superiority come about?

A part of the explanation lies in Russian intelligence failure. The Russians failed to assign the proper significance to a Ukrainian buildup opposite of Izyum-Kupyansk and continued to weaken that area in order to prop up Kherson.

The other part of the explanation lies in the fact that over the past several months Ukrainian military power has moderately increased while Russia’s own has slightly declined.

The Russians still have the land forces they started the war with minus the losses they suffered, while the Ukrainians have been expanding their army.

This trend of Kiev adding to its military power while Russia’s stagnates or diminishes slightly will continue until one of these two happen:

  • Russia starts using its conscript manpower
  • Ukraine hits the ceiling on how many troops it can sustain

Where is the inflection point, where Ukraine’s forces actually outmatch Russia’s all along the battlefield and not just where the Russians help them out by being maldeployed oweing to an intelligence failure?

The staggering success of the Kupyansk-Izyum offensive may indicate that this point is closer than we thought.

The 5D bozos are correct to say that the outcome of one battle is largely “irrelevant”. What really matters is the underlying correlation of forces and the direction in which that correlation is trending.

However, surely outcomes of battles have the potential to reveal something about this correlation of forces?

If the Russians felt they had to cannibalize their positions at Kharkov to this extreme extent in order to properly prop up Kherson does that have the potential to reveal something about their force availability?

Surely if Ukraine launches an offensive that succeeds beyond anyone’s expectations (even Kiev was surprised), then that has the potential to convey new information about the correlation of forces and where it is trending?

Somehow it is precisely the people who were the most adamant that Ukraine could never pull off such a feat, who are also most likely to come up with rationalizations why such a feat warrants no introspection and no reexamination of their assumptions.

It is precisely the people who were caught *the most by surprise* by the success of the offensive who will also be the most adamant that this shock outcome has zero new information value.

Which is why they are the people who are always wrong. Because they're not malleable. Because nothing, not even the biggest missed calls can force them to evolve their understanding. As a consequence, they exit the world as dumb as they entered it.

https://twitter.com/RALee85/status/1568922940326006784

https://twitter.com/Militarylandnet/status/1568862276404256768

https://twitter.com/ControlCompli8/status/1570023349325271046

https://twitter.com/DefMon3/status/1568899318945284096

https://twitter.com/OSINTua/status/1569209657914269699

https://twitter.com/200_zoka/status/1568575201754882048

The reason the Ukrainian Kupyansk-Izyum offensive succeeded is very simple. The reason is that on this particular section of the front the Ukrainians had a quantitative and qualitative advantage.

The Russians were manning their right flank from Kharkov to Izyum with low numbers of second-rate troops. Rosgvardia internal (police) troops and Lugansk militias, backed by detachments of Russian army regulars (eg for artillery, air defense, and tank support).

Not only was their front line thinly manned, but the Russians had no mobile reserve close by.

Against these, the Ukrainians struck with 4-5 airborne and mechanized brigades.

There was no stopping the Ukrainians, particularly since they were quite happy to drive into the Russian rear at speed and bypassing Russians defenses — knowing that owing to their numerical superiority these could be dealt with 2nd and 3rd echelons.

Initially, the Russian MoD publicly advertised that it was rushing reinforcements to the sector in large convoys and even with helicopters.

https://twitter.com/ferozwala/status/1568310816952270849

https://twitter.com/AhuraMazda3G/status/1568261527731408899

https://twitter.com/1689Freeman/status/1568589180221128704

However, the Russians quickly realized that the battle was lost. Even if they had the forces to repel the Ukrainians on paper, these were too far and couldn’t arrive in time to change the outcome.

The decision was made to order a general retreat and avoid an even worse catastrophe. Russia gave up nearly 10,000 sq km, largely without a fight. The fighting was most intense during the first 3 days as the Ukrainians were advancing into depth towards Kupyansk. Once the Ukrainians reached Kupyansk the Russians simply started evacuating everything to the north and south of if, to behind the Oskil river.

The 5D predictions that the Russian mobile reserve would maul the “overextended” Ukrainian spearheads did not come true.

On the contrary. There weren’t even mobile reserves available to even just plug the gaps.

The extent of the Russian “success” consisted of not getting themselves encircled and losing numerous men as POWs.

However, the Russians did leave behind a great deal of heavy equipment such as tanks. Many of these were vehicles in repair centers awaiting maintenance, but also whatever the retreating troops concluded would hinder them during their retreat.

Understand that while the retreat was ordered by the center it was not centrally coordinated. There was no time for that. Especially around Kupyansk and Izyum this was no organized, phased retreat where large units cooperate to cover each other as they fall back in stages. No, this was a speedy escape where troops raced to reach safety as individual companies and platoons.

This does not stop the 5D ghouls from claiming that the Ukrainians paid for their gains with massive losses. This is transparently false. Where in between abandoning 10,000 sq km and 50-100 tanks in just 5 days would the Russians have had the time to inflict heavy losses?

In fact, Moscow revealed that the loss in Kharkov stung indeed as it all of a sudden started dismantling Ukraine’s electric grid that had been left unmolested for 7 months:

https://twitter.com/TpyxaNews/status/1569013949739180033

https://twitter.com/Nikolai11449196/status/1570482575424233473

For me the two unknowns that this offensive definitely answered are:

  • The Ukrainians proved they can handle complex offensive operations.
  • The Russian Aerospace Forces proved they can’t keep Ukrainians from concentrating massive forces needed for offensives, and then operating those forces in daylight.

Now that we understand what the Ukrainian quantitative and qualitative superiority in the Kharkov region led to, it would be pertinent to ask how did that superiority come about?

A part of the explanation lies in Russian intelligence failure. The Russians failed to assign the proper significance to a Ukrainian buildup opposite of Izyum-Kupyansk and continued to weaken that area in order to prop up Kherson.

The other part of the explanation lies in the fact that over the past several months Ukrainian military power has moderately increased while Russia’s own has slightly declined.

The Russians still have the land forces they started the war with minus the losses they suffered, while the Ukrainians have been expanding their army.

This trend of Kiev adding to its military power while Russia’s stagnates or diminishes slightly will continue until one of these two happen:

  • Russia starts using its conscript manpower
  • Ukraine hits the ceiling on how many troops it can sustain

Where is the inflection point, where Ukraine’s forces actually outmatch Russia’s all along the battlefield and not just where the Russians help them out by being maldeployed oweing to an intelligence failure?

The staggering success of the Kupyansk-Izyum offensive may indicate that this point is closer than we thought.

The 5D bozos are correct to say that the outcome of one battle is largely “irrelevant”. What really matters is the underlying correlation of forces and the direction in which that correlation is trending.

However, surely outcomes of battles have the potential to reveal something about this correlation of forces?

If the Russians felt they had to cannibalize their positions at Kharkov to this extreme extent in order to properly prop up Kherson does that have the potential to reveal something about their force availability?

Surely if Ukraine launches an offensive that succeeds beyond anyone’s expectations (even Kiev was surprised), then that has the potential to convey new information about the correlation of forces and where it is trending?

Somehow it is precisely the people who were the most adamant that Ukraine could never pull off such a feat, who are also most likely to come up with rationalizations why such a feat warrants no introspection and no reexamination of their assumptions.

It is precisely the people who were caught *the most by surprise* by the success of the offensive who will also be the most adamant that this shock outcome has zero new information value.

Which is why they are the people who are always wrong. Because they're not malleable. Because nothing, not even the biggest missed calls can force them to evolve their understanding. As a consequence, they exit the world as dumb as they entered it.

https://twitter.com/RALee85/status/1568922940326006784

https://twitter.com/Militarylandnet/status/1568862276404256768

https://twitter.com/ControlCompli8/status/1570023349325271046

https://twitter.com/DefMon3/status/1568899318945284096

https://twitter.com/OSINTua/status/1569209657914269699

https://twitter.com/200_zoka/status/1568575201754882048

Anti-Empire - Thu Sep 15, 2022 22:48

During the war in Iraq the US Army faced an acute recruitment crisis. For example during the first three months of 2005 the US Army could only enlist 13,000 of the 20,000 (65%) men it needed for active duty to keep its numbers level.

With the US occupying Iraq and Afghanistan the proposition the Army had for recruits had changed dramatically. Risking life and limb in combat during service wasn’t just a possibility, it was now a certainty.

Even more importantly, anyone signing up in 2005 knew that meant extended deployments abroad during which they wouldn’t see their home/girlfriend/favorite bar for 12 months, and their only downtime would be in a base inside a warzone.

Service on a base in the US or even in Germany could be sold as something approaching a 9-5 job, but the certainty of long deployments to a warzone every other year changed that.

If the Army couldn’t hit its recruitment targets then that much more of the burden would have to fall on the troops it already had. This would naturally lower retention levels and then you have a cascade effect on your hands.

If you have fewer guys then their time between deployments has to be shorter, which leads them to want out, which leads you to burden the guys that are left even more, which then leads them to want out next.

The military attacked the recruitment crisis in a number of ways:

  • Recruitment became more aggressive eg with more recruiters in high schools and more military pageantry in stadiums
  • Recruitment standards were lowered. A deferment could be got for virtually anything.
  • Sign-up bonuses became massive and shorter contract times became available.

The Army also frequently stop-lossed personnel. People whose contracts expired and wanted out were kept for up to another year.

The military also relieved the burden on active-duty troops by deploying Army Reserve and National Guard units to Iraq. The use of the National Guard was particularly controversial but it did mean that active-duty troops could get more rest, helping retention.

Even so, for a soldier to see himself deployed three times in five years was nothing out of the usual.

So then, a military with 500,000 active-duty troops in the Army and another 200,000 in the Marines was seriously stressed by having to sustain a deployment of “only” 150,000 troops to Iraq and 25,000 to Afghanistan and had to reach for some radical measures to avoid an unwanted cascade that would see the force depleted.

Moreover, wars that were killing 3 Americans per day (and wounding 20) at their peak were already enough to cause a recruitment crisis (since it is long deployments, even more than casualties, that hurt recruitment and retention).


The size of the Russian deployment in Ukraine is difficult to know. I would guesstimate that, not counting DLPR, Russia has about 150,000 troops in the theater.

That doesn’t look it should strain a military of nearly 1 million, but there’s a catch. The likes of Rocket Troops, Air Force and Navy aren’t in Ukraine, and Putin has made conscripts undeployable.

That leaves just 250,000 officers and contract soldiers of the land combat arms (army, VDV, naval infantry, Spetsnaz) to sustain a deployment of 150,000.

Iraq-Afghanistan deployments requiring 175,000 men strained a combined Army-Marine force of 700,000. But a pool of 250,000 Russian professionals is to indefinitely sustain a deployment of 150,000.

On paper 250,000 are enough to provide an indefinite deployment of 150,000. You just have to keep the majority of them in Ukraine at all times.

But what is that going to do to recruitment and retention?

These 250,000 are currently the unluckiest men in Russia. Who would want to join their ranks?

Who is going to sign or resign a 5-year contract with the Russian military now knowing that spending 4 of these years in high-intensity combat in Ukraine is a distinct possibility? Moreover, knowing that you will be one of only 150,000 to do so.

Before the war becoming a contract soldier was being sold, as not exactly middle-class existence, but as the closest thing to it a working-class guy could get to in short order. The proposition was: sign on the dotted line and you get decent guaranteed money, a measure of societal prestige, and the military helps with the housing for you and your wife. The military wasn’t advertising itself to delinquents and gung-ho teenagers. Its proposition was that becoming a professional soldier was a quickfire way to get the capital to start and lead a stable family life.

Well, the majority of these family men are now sitting outnumbered in a Ukraine trench. Many of them have been there since the start of the war without rest.

There are 15,000 newly signed-up fighters of the 3rd Corps on the way to reinforce them, but that number only just about replaces the 10,000 dead and the 5,000 severely wounded. (And they’re only on the hook for 3-6 months).

Meanwhile, the army is still bleeding a certain number of troops as their contracts expire and they decide not to renew. (Since this is merely a “SMO” they can’t be stop-lossed.) How many new recruits are being signed up to replace these men?

I can’t imagine it’s a high number.

Just the fact that to raise the 3rd Corps, contracts as short as 3 months had to be offered and payments raised by up to 4 times, tells you that military work is looking extremely unattractive right now.

The army’s proposition has changed from “we’ll pay your mortgage so you can get married” to “we’ll dump you in a Ukraine trench for 7 months and not reinforce you as you gradually grow more outnumbered”, and people are not stupid.

Maintaining an indefinite deployment of 150,000 from a pool of 250,000 men is not sustainable as such extreme demands are going to lead to that pool of 250,000 to shrink. Those in the pool will start to leave at a higher rate, and far fewer will be joining than before.

The relatively pedestrian Iraq War was enough to cause a recruitment crisis for the US Army which had twice the population to draw from. I think the situation for the Russian army can be only many times worse.

To sustain a Russian fighting force of 150,000 in Ukraine the pool of 250,000 feeding it will have to be expanded, or else the ground army will gradually cease to exist. — It will be attrited into nothing through retention and recruitment problems. First slowly then faster and faster.

Russia is already trying to expand the 250K pool.

It is doing so by deploying Rogvardia internal troops, hiring Wagner mercenaries, recruiting in penal colonies, and forming infantry and tank detachments from hastily trained navy sailors and strategic rocket troops under contract.

https://twitter.com/SrbskyRus/status/1570179977794158594

https://twitter.com/SrbskyRus/status/1570185459233394696

https://twitter.com/Horesmi/status/1569297210667421696

In the sense that they help spread the burden all of these are welcome. All of these relieve the 250K officers and kontraktniki in the land combat arms somewhat. But all of these are improvisations that even taken together don’t amount to a half-measure.

The only things that can decisively solve the problem that Russia is trying to solve with this desperate array of one-tenth-measures is deploying conscripts

Russia doesn’t have anything like the National Guard or an Army Reserve to call upon. (Its BARS reserve is 80,000-strong and not deployable in an SMO except for volunteers). But it does have the mechanisms of conscription which is even more potent, and which Ukraine is using with wild abandon.

Rather than reach for this existing mechanism for which it already has all the infrastructure, Moscow is engaging in frenzied novel improvisation to forestall using conscript soldiers that it literally already has in uniform (270K, 150K in the land combat arms) for as long as possible.

Aside from being half-measures, there are also other problems with these approaches. For example, using sailors as tank crews is wasteful. Conscripts from tank units are far more capable tank crews who are going to suffer much lower attrition, than sailor kontraktniki.

Also, reliance on the likes of mercenaries and convicts takes some shine off of the war (if you think it has shine to lose).

A different regime might proclaim service in the war an honor, or even a duty. Or the chance to win glory. Kremlin instead treats it as something filthy, something that in an ideal world could be outsourced to mercenaries, Chechens, and convicts.

As a friend of mine said “they are appealing to everyone but normal people.”

Even when they make a pitch to normal people that pitch is focused almost exclusively on monetary benefits.

Rather than speak to the demos, the government’s approach is to try to bribe just enough people so that it doesn’t have to.

Maybe it doesn’t know what to say?

Moscow proclaims its war existential, just, and externally imposed, but the lukewarm way in which it is prosecuting it reveals that it regards it as iffy.

Either that or it regards talking to the people as iffy.

Launching a war, but not asking the demos to sacrifice for it sounds lofty. Provided you can finish what you started.

But if midway you’re going to turn around and seek a bailout from the people then all you have done is increased the sacrifice they must bear beyond what would have been necessary if you had the guts/class/foresight to ask right away.

Having been given 7 months of breathing room Ukraine now has 300,000 to 400,000 decently trained troops. Who is to say that if given another 7 months it won’t find a way to add another 100,000?

Also, first throwing the contract army into the fray and driving it into exhaustion. And only then throwing the conscripts simply allows the opposition to face your men piecemeal.

The longer conscripts are kept out of it, the higher the obstacle they will have to overcome once they are activated, the less help they will have, and the higher the blood price they will pay.

It is no mercy to your demos to allow the opposition a year or so of preparations before you call them in to aid you.

While Russia hasn’t touched the amazing instrument of conscription for its war, Ukraine has no such reservations. People look at a map and conclude that in any war the much larger Russia must be dominant. But in reality, it is not really countries that fight but institutions and systems.

If Ukraine is force-generating with the modern institution of conscription and mobilization — and Russia simultaneously limits itself to the feudal-era bargaining with mercenaries, criminals, and warlike mountain minorities then it’s anyone’s guess which of the two will be dominant in the long term.

The 5D crowd which proceeds from the axiom that Kremlin always makes the optimal decision and that there is a method to every Kremlin madness will say that Russia doesn’t need to force-generate with conscription because it is achieving incredible kill ratios that are grounding the Ukrainian army into dust.

This is flawed. Even if you are achieving incredible feats with your artillery there is no reason not to multiply its effectiveness by combining it with the firepower and maneuver of infantry and tanks.

Indeed, if Russia has all the infantry it needs then why are convicts, sailors, policemen, and Donetsk 40-somethings and 50-somethings being thrown into the mix?

Also in reality the Ukrainian body counts from artillery are substantially lower than in 5D daydreams.

What the Russians do is they concentrate vast portions of their artillery fire against just a few kilometers of the enemy front line where they are hoping to make gains. This means that just a few battalions on the other side are bombarded with several thousand shells per day.

These few unlucky units suffer grievously over the course of days and weeks, and frequently end up retreating into the rear without an order and making a video about their horrible ordeal.

But where the 5D crowd makes the mistake is to assume that this is replicated all along the front. This is not true. The Soviets/Russians are big on concentrating their artillery, and for every kilometer of the front that is getting the Verdun treatment, there are hundreds of kilometers where the birds are chirping and barely any shells get fired.

The dimension of this war where you are looking at the greatest disparity between sides isn’t casualty counts but the means of force generation. Moscow can only dangle money and hope there are takers, while Kiev can take a pencil and write a summons for as many conscripts as it thinks it can arm and feed.

What I would like to see is less discussion of abstractions like “Russia” and “Ukraine” and more discussion about the institutions actually at war here, namely the fighting part of the two militaries.

It’s all good to say that Russia “can’t lose to Ukraine.” But Russia and Ukraine aren’t really fighting. Portions of their militaries are.

So how about this:

In the one corner you have a 350,000-strong conscript army backed by a state that is using the instruments of conscription and mobilization. And in the other corner you have a 250,000 all-volunteer force (augmented by 50,000 local proxies) backed by a state which is acting as if conscription and mobilization have yet to be invented by it.

Presented this way, is it at all obvious that the latter force is going to defeat the former?

Which one would you rather be in charge of?

In the short term, to me this looks like a stalemate while in the long run Russia better go ahead and invent conscription or risk more unwanted surprises.

During the war in Iraq the US Army faced an acute recruitment crisis. For example during the first three months of 2005 the US Army could only enlist 13,000 of the 20,000 (65%) men it needed for active duty to keep its numbers level.

With the US occupying Iraq and Afghanistan the proposition the Army had for recruits had changed dramatically. Risking life and limb in combat during service wasn’t just a possibility, it was now a certainty.

Even more importantly, anyone signing up in 2005 knew that meant extended deployments abroad during which they wouldn’t see their home/girlfriend/favorite bar for 12 months, and their only downtime would be in a base inside a warzone.

Service on a base in the US or even in Germany could be sold as something approaching a 9-5 job, but the certainty of long deployments to a warzone every other year changed that.

If the Army couldn’t hit its recruitment targets then that much more of the burden would have to fall on the troops it already had. This would naturally lower retention levels and then you have a cascade effect on your hands.

If you have fewer guys then their time between deployments has to be shorter, which leads them to want out, which leads you to burden the guys that are left even more, which then leads them to want out next.

The military attacked the recruitment crisis in a number of ways:

  • Recruitment became more aggressive eg with more recruiters in high schools and more military pageantry in stadiums
  • Recruitment standards were lowered. A deferment could be got for virtually anything.
  • Sign-up bonuses became massive and shorter contract times became available.

The Army also frequently stop-lossed personnel. People whose contracts expired and wanted out were kept for up to another year.

The military also relieved the burden on active-duty troops by deploying Army Reserve and National Guard units to Iraq. The use of the National Guard was particularly controversial but it did mean that active-duty troops could get more rest, helping retention.

Even so, for a soldier to see himself deployed three times in five years was nothing out of the usual.

So then, a military with 500,000 active-duty troops in the Army and another 200,000 in the Marines was seriously stressed by having to sustain a deployment of “only” 150,000 troops to Iraq and 25,000 to Afghanistan and had to reach for some radical measures to avoid an unwanted cascade that would see the force depleted.

Moreover, wars that were killing 3 Americans per day (and wounding 20) at their peak were already enough to cause a recruitment crisis (since it is long deployments, even more than casualties, that hurt recruitment and retention).


The size of the Russian deployment in Ukraine is difficult to know. I would guesstimate that, not counting DLPR, Russia has about 150,000 troops in the theater.

That doesn’t look it should strain a military of nearly 1 million, but there’s a catch. The likes of Rocket Troops, Air Force and Navy aren’t in Ukraine, and Putin has made conscripts undeployable.

That leaves just 250,000 officers and contract soldiers of the land combat arms (army, VDV, naval infantry, Spetsnaz) to sustain a deployment of 150,000.

Iraq-Afghanistan deployments requiring 175,000 men strained a combined Army-Marine force of 700,000. But a pool of 250,000 Russian professionals is to indefinitely sustain a deployment of 150,000.

On paper 250,000 are enough to provide an indefinite deployment of 150,000. You just have to keep the majority of them in Ukraine at all times.

But what is that going to do to recruitment and retention?

These 250,000 are currently the unluckiest men in Russia. Who would want to join their ranks?

Who is going to sign or resign a 5-year contract with the Russian military now knowing that spending 4 of these years in high-intensity combat in Ukraine is a distinct possibility? Moreover, knowing that you will be one of only 150,000 to do so.

Before the war becoming a contract soldier was being sold, as not exactly middle-class existence, but as the closest thing to it a working-class guy could get to in short order. The proposition was: sign on the dotted line and you get decent guaranteed money, a measure of societal prestige, and the military helps with the housing for you and your wife. The military wasn’t advertising itself to delinquents and gung-ho teenagers. Its proposition was that becoming a professional soldier was a quickfire way to get the capital to start and lead a stable family life.

Well, the majority of these family men are now sitting outnumbered in a Ukraine trench. Many of them have been there since the start of the war without rest.

There are 15,000 newly signed-up fighters of the 3rd Corps on the way to reinforce them, but that number only just about replaces the 10,000 dead and the 5,000 severely wounded. (And they’re only on the hook for 3-6 months).

Meanwhile, the army is still bleeding a certain number of troops as their contracts expire and they decide not to renew. (Since this is merely a “SMO” they can’t be stop-lossed.) How many new recruits are being signed up to replace these men?

I can’t imagine it’s a high number.

Just the fact that to raise the 3rd Corps, contracts as short as 3 months had to be offered and payments raised by up to 4 times, tells you that military work is looking extremely unattractive right now.

The army’s proposition has changed from “we’ll pay your mortgage so you can get married” to “we’ll dump you in a Ukraine trench for 7 months and not reinforce you as you gradually grow more outnumbered”, and people are not stupid.

Maintaining an indefinite deployment of 150,000 from a pool of 250,000 men is not sustainable as such extreme demands are going to lead to that pool of 250,000 to shrink. Those in the pool will start to leave at a higher rate, and far fewer will be joining than before.

The relatively pedestrian Iraq War was enough to cause a recruitment crisis for the US Army which had twice the population to draw from. I think the situation for the Russian army can be only many times worse.

To sustain a Russian fighting force of 150,000 in Ukraine the pool of 250,000 feeding it will have to be expanded, or else the ground army will gradually cease to exist. — It will be attrited into nothing through retention and recruitment problems. First slowly then faster and faster.

Russia is already trying to expand the 250K pool.

It is doing so by deploying Rogvardia internal troops, hiring Wagner mercenaries, recruiting in penal colonies, and forming infantry and tank detachments from hastily trained navy sailors and strategic rocket troops under contract.

https://twitter.com/SrbskyRus/status/1570179977794158594

https://twitter.com/SrbskyRus/status/1570185459233394696

https://twitter.com/Horesmi/status/1569297210667421696

In the sense that they help spread the burden all of these are welcome. All of these relieve the 250K officers and kontraktniki in the land combat arms somewhat. But all of these are improvisations that even taken together don’t amount to a half-measure.

The only things that can decisively solve the problem that Russia is trying to solve with this desperate array of one-tenth-measures is deploying conscripts

Russia doesn’t have anything like the National Guard or an Army Reserve to call upon. (Its BARS reserve is 80,000-strong and not deployable in an SMO except for volunteers). But it does have the mechanisms of conscription which is even more potent, and which Ukraine is using with wild abandon.

Rather than reach for this existing mechanism for which it already has all the infrastructure, Moscow is engaging in frenzied novel improvisation to forestall using conscript soldiers that it literally already has in uniform (270K, 150K in the land combat arms) for as long as possible.

Aside from being half-measures, there are also other problems with these approaches. For example, using sailors as tank crews is wasteful. Conscripts from tank units are far more capable tank crews who are going to suffer much lower attrition, than sailor kontraktniki.

Also, reliance on the likes of mercenaries and convicts takes some shine off of the war (if you think it has shine to lose).

A different regime might proclaim service in the war an honor, or even a duty. Or the chance to win glory. Kremlin instead treats it as something filthy, something that in an ideal world could be outsourced to mercenaries, Chechens, and convicts.

As a friend of mine said “they are appealing to everyone but normal people.”

Even when they make a pitch to normal people that pitch is focused almost exclusively on monetary benefits.

Rather than speak to the demos, the government’s approach is to try to bribe just enough people so that it doesn’t have to.

Maybe it doesn’t know what to say?

Moscow proclaims its war existential, just, and externally imposed, but the lukewarm way in which it is prosecuting it reveals that it regards it as iffy.

Either that or it regards talking to the people as iffy.

Launching a war, but not asking the demos to sacrifice for it sounds lofty. Provided you can finish what you started.

But if midway you’re going to turn around and seek a bailout from the people then all you have done is increased the sacrifice they must bear beyond what would have been necessary if you had the guts/class/foresight to ask right away.

Having been given 7 months of breathing room Ukraine now has 300,000 to 400,000 decently trained troops. Who is to say that if given another 7 months it won’t find a way to add another 100,000?

Also, first throwing the contract army into the fray and driving it into exhaustion. And only then throwing the conscripts simply allows the opposition to face your men piecemeal.

The longer conscripts are kept out of it, the higher the obstacle they will have to overcome once they are activated, the less help they will have, and the higher the blood price they will pay.

It is no mercy to your demos to allow the opposition a year or so of preparations before you call them in to aid you.

While Russia hasn’t touched the amazing instrument of conscription for its war, Ukraine has no such reservations. People look at a map and conclude that in any war the much larger Russia must be dominant. But in reality, it is not really countries that fight but institutions and systems.

If Ukraine is force-generating with the modern institution of conscription and mobilization — and Russia simultaneously limits itself to the feudal-era bargaining with mercenaries, criminals, and warlike mountain minorities then it’s anyone’s guess which of the two will be dominant in the long term.

The 5D crowd which proceeds from the axiom that Kremlin always makes the optimal decision and that there is a method to every Kremlin madness will say that Russia doesn’t need to force-generate with conscription because it is achieving incredible kill ratios that are grounding the Ukrainian army into dust.

This is flawed. Even if you are achieving incredible feats with your artillery there is no reason not to multiply its effectiveness by combining it with the firepower and maneuver of infantry and tanks.

Indeed, if Russia has all the infantry it needs then why are convicts, sailors, policemen, and Donetsk 40-somethings and 50-somethings being thrown into the mix?

Also in reality the Ukrainian body counts from artillery are substantially lower than in 5D daydreams.

What the Russians do is they concentrate vast portions of their artillery fire against just a few kilometers of the enemy front line where they are hoping to make gains. This means that just a few battalions on the other side are bombarded with several thousand shells per day.

These few unlucky units suffer grievously over the course of days and weeks, and frequently end up retreating into the rear without an order and making a video about their horrible ordeal.

But where the 5D crowd makes the mistake is to assume that this is replicated all along the front. This is not true. The Soviets/Russians are big on concentrating their artillery, and for every kilometer of the front that is getting the Verdun treatment, there are hundreds of kilometers where the birds are chirping and barely any shells get fired.

The dimension of this war where you are looking at the greatest disparity between sides isn’t casualty counts but the means of force generation. Moscow can only dangle money and hope there are takers, while Kiev can take a pencil and write a summons for as many conscripts as it thinks it can arm and feed.

What I would like to see is less discussion of abstractions like “Russia” and “Ukraine” and more discussion about the institutions actually at war here, namely the fighting part of the two militaries.

It’s all good to say that Russia “can’t lose to Ukraine.” But Russia and Ukraine aren’t really fighting. Portions of their militaries are.

So how about this:

In the one corner you have a 350,000-strong conscript army backed by a state that is using the instruments of conscription and mobilization. And in the other corner you have a 250,000 all-volunteer force (augmented by 50,000 local proxies) backed by a state which is acting as if conscription and mobilization have yet to be invented by it.

Presented this way, is it at all obvious that the latter force is going to defeat the former?

Which one would you rather be in charge of?

In the short term, to me this looks like a stalemate while in the long run Russia better go ahead and invent conscription or risk more unwanted surprises.

Anti-Empire >>

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