London, Brussels (14/2 – 17)
(Noun: A state of dictatorship under the self-illusion of recreating a status quo by force to impose an ideology on others)
Russia was a reflective nation. This is the DNA of Russian society, it manifests itself in its culture, politics and society. There is a constant balancing of war and peace. Today, Russia is at war. War against Ukraine, war against Europe, war with itself. However, Russia has made miscalculations.
First, if the Ukrainians are defeated, defeating the Ukrainians in the battlefield will lead to the downfall of Putin’s empire. The Russian winning the war will not guarantee the survival of the regime in Moscow.
The war of aggression against the Ukraine triggers deep seated fears of the Europeans about the Russians. The past atrocities of the Red Army of 1944/45 particularly against the Polish, Ukrainians and others in Eastern Europe are still deeply embedded in the psyche of most older generation of Europeans. And now, the atrocities are replaying in colour daily.
The murder of the Ukrainian civilian population by Russian forces are unparalleled in post second world war Europe. The invasion of Ukraine only reaffirm these old fears and has broken the Russian dream to join the European Union. Moscow is prepared to break it off with the West. The geographical divide is a reality.
Secondly, Russia`s tactical objectives of Putonian conquests are to capture the economic heartlands of the Ukraine. Ukraine is smaller than Russia but has considerable wealth as a nation. The eastern part of the Ukraine produces most of the commodities making Ukraine the Kuwait of the East. In comparison to Stalin’s extermination policy, the tactics used by the Russians to invade Ukraine is not without merits targeting Ukraine infrastructure. History does repeat itself.
However, the Russian destruction of the economic wealth of the Ukraine gives birth to the forward leap of the European Union as the new powerhouse in global trade, diplomacy and now, defense. In response to the Russian threat, Europe is now rearming.
The Russians have had failures on a few fronts. Both, the Russians and western alliances have underestimated the Ukrainian leadership and full-force resistance. Straight out of Clausewitz, the Putonian regime in Moscow miscalculated the resolute response from the allies. The Ukrainian coalition and allies did not collapse as predicted, and the EU and NATO are as close as never before in the history of the alliances.
Moscow failed to grasp the very basic principles of democracy. Its strategies are messy, extended and chaotic infighting, much trials and errors, constant failures, and little success but democracy is threatened when the Europeans and NATO close shoulders. A fact acknowledged by the Putonian regime’s foreign minister.
The third miscalculation is the war costs. The cost of economic destruction, lives lost and post-bellum medical and societal recovery are often underestimated by war planners. To bury and mourn the thousands of young men and woman resting in the soil of the Ukraine, including the downed Russians. Without doubt, this war also has a psychological effect on Russian souls.
The greater costs to society are the post-conflict issues of damaged bodies lost to the economy. The hate it creates against the Russians. The resentment to deal with the Russians. There is a loss of identity and trust. The Russian currency is suffering and having a free-fall. If Putin wanted to avoid a repeat of 1991 and the collapse of a currency, a war of this magnitude will sure not help the stability of the economy.
One of the arguments of the deprived ideology constantly used by the Putonian mouthpieces is that Russians fear the West wants to wipe out the Russian heritage. The genetically engrained distrust by the Russians is somewhat contextually wrong. Russia in truth is insignificant in the global domain. Putonian, despite their geographical presence, economic and natural wealth, is in the eyes of the allies, a dinosaur. The Ukraine war is a resource war.
The other argument is the preservation of culture. But the “kulturyna” has not many takers amongst the Moscow elite. Whereas the Putonian regime breaches the preservation of Russian culture, the offspring of the regime party in London, Paris, Bali, Phuket, Dubai, Ibiza, and other hotspots frequent by the Russian elites. Father Putin calls all to support the domestic travel industry is heeded by everyone, except the regime´s children.
The children of Mother Russia on the other hand are dying in trenches of the Eastern front as their forefathers have done. Captured in grotesque dance of death when Ukraine’s precision ammunition hits the mudholes of huddling, freezing Russian youths. One by one they fall, die on the frontlines of the Ukraine. Close to 200.000 deaths or whatever the number is, and for what?
This Putonian world vision in the pages of history comes at a price, usually written in blood and tears. The war in Ukraine is that of a war of heroes and tears for Russia. And the Ukraine.
Part of the post-communist Soviet’s KGB mentality wants to see Russia return to its former glory, if ever there was such an illusion anchored in the ideology of the Soviets. Killing was its business. Now the attitudes of past Soviet has returned and confidently adopted by the Putonian regime in Moscow. The Stalinist-like regime and activities. The post war suppression of Ukraine and the other Soviet satellites. The war in Afghanistan. The near nuclear holocaust. The empty food shelves like back in the 1990’s. The collapse of the Soviet Union. Those were the glory days of Russia. That was the Russian reality and the Russians are ignoring that reality.
But besides this being a Putin folly, why would the West bother to invade Russia by military means if they can economically, scientifically, politically just outrun the Russians? The western narrative that says that Putin wants to resurrect the Russian empire is as illusionary as is the Russian pipedream invading the Ukraine. Sadly even if Russia sues for peace, it is an unlikely solution for at least the next two decades. We are at war. And it’s here to stay for a while.
Russia slides from the Great Power, to declining state, down to a pariah state bottom. The old Russia with its deep sense of history, culture and greatness is gone. Putonia is born. A fantasy, a similar one much to Trump’s attempt to reset the American clock. That failed and so will Putin.
The country who has major challenges from dealing with corruption, visibly lack of equipment and supplies for the army, the explosion of its prime submarine the Kursk and the criminal empire of organized crime within Russia amongst others are destroying the country from within. Some argue that Putin’s war is resetting the internal clock of Mother Russia. If an external war and officials falling out of window are the right way to go, it remains to be seen.
I argue that we understand very little what the pressures on the regime are. We assumed the economic data was correct. We assumed all is well in Moscow. However the voices on the fringe increasingly pointed out the internal pressures the regime faces. An external war does divert from the domestic challenges for the regime. There are lessons here, experts regularly get it wrong. Wake up. Listen to the voices of dissent.
Whereas vested western interests exist in the Russian Federation, the future impacts on the Russian economy will shift Russia to near poverty as the cost of the war quickly piles up. If your trade is directed towards Iran, Turkey, North Korea, and China, you might find the Putonian world domination is as ineffective as the Trumpian isolation politics.
Fourth, the biggest misjudgement is the so-called winner on the battlefield are realistically often the strategic loser. History is full of failed assumptions. The German ‘Blitz’ targeting the UK utterly failed to force the British to capitulate to Germany.
The UK blinded the German’s vision of quick victories which were experienced on the mainland facing the German juggernaut. The bombardment of civilian targets only hardened the resolve of the British people. The same applies to the Ukraine.
The allied carpet bombing failed to achieve its strategic objective to break the German´s will to fight. War production was at a height in 1944 throughout the two years of carpet bombings and mass casualties of civilians. The German war machine went on an overdrive, developing the cruise missile, jet fighters, the assault rifle, organic fuel to replace regular fuel, tanks and encryption which exceeded today´s encryption keys.
Thankfully, Nazi Germany’s moral and ideological bankruptcy halted the advancement of these weapons. The Ardennes offensive in 1944 was as ill-conceived as Putin’s current attack on Donbas. The lesson learnt here, even if you win, you will still lose.
The Russian indiscriminate killing of Ukrainians backfired. So will the massive amount of losses by the Russians. Back in 1991, it was not the spooky organizations plotting the overthrow of the communists. It was the people who had enough that eventually decided their own faith.
Until this inflexion point is reached, we will continue to bury the young. Both Russians and Ukrainians alike.
So right now, the Russians are drinking their own Kool-Aid. But soon the economic costs, continuous onslaught and critical loss of life on both sides will become a factor. Keep watch on the mothers, the Afghan veterans and the moderates in the ranks of the army. Once the FSB and other intelligence services wake up from their dreams, the Putonian empire will be on his last leg. Change in Russia, historically and contemporary always is violent. A peaceful transition is not likely.
The destruction of public infrastructure, schools, hospitals, killing of innocent, and war crimes committed by Russian forces will remove any good will towards the existing Russian state and its leaders in the Putin administration. This pariah status will last until societal changes in Russia appear. This hot war front line along the Russian borders will remain for at least two decades.
The Putonian wars are futile as they are real. The quicker the West realizes that the invaders need to be defeated in the field of battle by all means, the faster a new and more peaceful era will descend on us. In the meantime, the killing of the heroes and the river of tears will continue.