Political Situation in Israel — Commentary on Duran’s Latest Video
Here Alexander Mercouris is analyzing the reasons for the political unrest in Israel. I would provide another point of view.
According to Alexander, the main reason for push against Netanyahu is his failures to bring home results on diplomatic fronts with US, the “East” (Russia, China etc.) and especially the Muslim Middle East.
For me it is obvious the reason must be more complicated. First of all, majority of Israeli citizens don’t care much about those diplomatic attempts, as they have no practical outcome for them at all.
The protesters stated agenda is “protecting the democracy” against the judicial reforms initiated by the current coalition. This stated goal of protests is oxymoronic, since the members of judicial system who aren’t appointed via democratic election process, instead chosen by their peers (i.e. representative of the Israeli “elites”). The government, on the other hand, is built by the parliamentary majority coalition — the Knesset being the only entity in Israeli state which members are democratically elected (at least the top members around whom the political parties function).
So, in fact what we have is the attempt by the minority to influence (and, ultimately, overthrow) the democratically elected Knesset and the government which represents the majority of the voters.
This fact, along with the nature of protests, imply financial and organizational measures which are extremely uncharacteristic of spontaneous popular protests. Instead, those protests have strong resemblance of the “velvet” revolutions around the non-Western world, led by globalist and neocon/neoliberal forces, best personified by people like Soros and Nuland.
In other words, Israeli “left” “elites” have aligned themselves with foreign globalists in order to overthrow Netanyahu and his “right” government. The reasons could vary, from the conservative values imposed by the Netanyahu’s main political allies — the ultraorthodox parties (which, naturally, goes against the “post-traditional” values of globalists), to the unwillingness to cut ties with Russia and supply weapons to UA (which is also opposed to the globalist agenda). It stands to reason that there are even more important issues which are less visible from the outside, but ultimately always playing an important part in almost any internal power struggles — the control of the state and private financial systems.
That being said, I don’t believe there is understanding amongst the wider Israeli public regarding this issue. Instead, it is presented (as usual) as the fight of “good against evil”, Netanyahu being painted as the evil tyrant, seeking to destroy Israeli democracy and “Western values”. While Netanyahu has obvious tendencies towards authoritarianism, for his it is merely a mean to hold to power and not a genuine attempt to undermine the democratic nature of the State of Israel. The same as the “democratic values” are not the real reason behind the protests.
It is merely a fight for power between Israeli elites, the ones that are aligned to globalists and the ones which seek power, more independent of foreign actors. What being said, Netanyahu enjoys more public support than any of his political opponents. Yet it is worthy to notice that large populations in Israel are not represented in this struggle for power at all. Mainly because they have no political parties that represent them.
The far most large of those groups or “communities” are the Russian-speaking Jews who arrived “en masse” just before of soon after the collapse of the USSR. Comprising about the forth of the total Jewish population in Israel, they have no party or prominent political figure to represent them. Ethiopic Jews are another large population what doesn’t get any representation, outside of some “token” individuals, strategically placed in some political parties. Instead of allowing any true representation for these communities to exist, the elites on both sides of the current “Save the democracy” issue prefer to keep them down and lead short campaigns of public-opinion manipulation via mass media to influence their votes just before elections. Immediately after which they return to being third-class citizens (second-class citizenship is reserved for non-Jewish minorities).
If so, both, the Netanyahu camp and the opposition, are two different sides of one “elitist” coin. In last two or three decades, political system in Israel ceased to be a ideologically-centered one, instead forming parties around political figures in order to promote their personal agendas and interests, as well as interests of the aligned groups or encapsulated “communities”. While Netanyahu’s government enjoys marginally larger public support than the entirety of his opposition, in reality non of them represent the core interests of the nation or the majority of its population.
Understanding the Motivations Behind Decision Making — Failed Predictions
I started this blog mainly to record my thoughts and predictions. I view predictions as an only objective instrument to evaluate the quality of paradigm and the ability to extrapolate this on future events. Many of my early predictions have been a total failure. And only recently I started to understand why — because my paradigm was critically flawed.
For years now it was clear to me the change in Russian political elite was long overdue. After series of initial successes in reshaping Russia into a more functioning country than it was under the pathetic drunkard Yeltsin, the Putin and his long-time buddies eventually got too old and too corrupted. That being said, I still believed that the self-preservation instinct alone will force them to change their ways, switching from serving their personal interests to serving the interests of the state. It turned out I was very wrong.
Their approach hasn’t changed. Actually, it’s quite opposite. The general policy to undermine Russian interests has become much more clear and obvious for being intentional one, during this time of a national crisis. Russian political elites have no real interest in winning this war, but their intention is to return to the previous status quo by means of diplomatic negotiations in order to return to a position of cheap supplier of Russian commodities to the West and a “partner”. It is an attempt to recreate the parasitic post-Soviet “aristocracy” in its new form. Parasitic elites is a world-wide phenomenon, of course, but it applies to Russia as much as to other countries.
This goal, at this point in time, only achievable by betraying Russian core interests, such as independence, self-reliance, self-respect and, finally, preservation and flourishing of the Russian nation. On the other side there is a larger “genius” (in an original Greek sense of the word) of Russian nationality. It is a metaphysical idea, an amalgamation of each Russian citizen which sees himself as a part of this community, currently called the “Russian Federation”. This genius, this spirit can be as flawed as the individuals who comprise it, arguably even more so. Yet, any leader or public figure must have a connection to it in order to serve the people — the only reason for the existence of elites. In our terms, elites must be close to the people. Familiar example demonstrating this desirable unity of people and elites is the Roman SPQR — “Roman Senate and the People” moto.
Since the idea of elitism of the form described above is practically the same as detachment from the people, it goes against the “national spirit”. While the people are dying and suffering, the detached elites don’t feel their pain. They don’t even care, only looking at the situation as a means to promote their egocentric agenda. As a result, the metaphysical distance between the elites and the people grow wider, eventually turning into an unpassable chasm, dividing the two. Since elites cannot exist without the people, the lost of popular support also means the end of them. The harder those elites resist and oppress the people, the harder will be their fall.
I always assumed Putin is smart enough to understand this on some level. But it rather seems he operate based on his actual experience. The general understanding of the corruption in his inner circle as well as on all levels of the Russian government hasn’t brought the end to his public support before. The corruption was made into a new normal, and somehow got to be quietly acceptable by the people. On one condition: Putin must assure Russia remains strong against foreign threats — a requirement born from centuries of foreign invasions into Russia and fallowing devastation.
The illusion of Russian military strength was created by constant media coverage of even the most pathetic achievements of Russian military and the MIC. Also, a very strong public message was created around the new “breakthrough” weapon technologies, such as the “hypersonic” Kinzhal missile, a new intercontinental-range nuclear torpedo and cruise missile, a new, heavy “Sarmata” ISBM, “Avangard” hypersonic gliding vehicle etc. While some of them are actually a rather small improvements on existing technologies and others are nowhere to be seen years after their reveal, the message got through. It gave people the false sense of security and national pride. It gave new life to the idea of the good leader, surrounded by evil bureaucrats who hide the truth from him.
And the previous statements made by Putin enforced that notion. “He gave more than enough chances for peaceful resolution, but now he is forced to bring a quick and decisive military victory”, or something along those lines. After about six months of flawed and incompetent military campaign, one-sided sanctions and constant diplomatic failures, the true state of affairs became obvious for all people with even a basic capacity for critical thinking.
And that is then the public opinion polls disappeared from the Russian media view. The latest one, publicly released just before the one year anniversary and the president’s speech, was a rehashing and recompiling of old surveys. I haven’t seen any new ones for a long time now. My only conclusion is that the public support in all concerning the Russian leadership has totally collapsed. It has collapsed to the point that merely publishing those will deal a great blow to any notion of legitimacy of the regime.
Returning to my initial point. My predictions were made assuming the leadership will put a victory as it’s top priority. It is now obvious, they haven’t done so. Giving this new information, only one possibility remains (if we exclude possible regime change in Russia or a pivotal switch in the West), and it is losses-heavy positional warfare with some occasional missiles strikes in the rear, for as long as it take for the West to accept a ceasefire, humiliating and harmful to Russian interests.
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Western Sharks Fight Among Themselves
The situation on the Russo-Ukrainian War front went from stable to stagnant. The death and sufferings of Eastern Slaves continues in service of the Russian and Western elites. Yet, the self-inflicted damage the West has done by pursuing a goal of a military and economic destruction of the main opponents to the unipolar world, is starting to show up.
Identifying the main players
On the US side we have two large groups: the wealth holders and the ideologists. Wealth holders are represented by large private banks, while the ideologists (neocons, neoliberals) are represented by the media, current occupants of the White House, large portion of US Congress, Academia, etc.
Both groups seemed to be aligned on issues like the pandemic, promotion of the unipolar world, expansion of NATO and detachment of Europe from cheap Russian fossil fuel. Yet while the wealth holders are the “new money”, which is competing with the “old money” based or connected to Europe. The ideologist group which can be described as a neocon-neoliberal amalgamation, are aligned with European globalists.
On the European side there are the “old money” people, whose core apparently consists of old banking families. They nurtured, or at least supported the globalism ideology which resulted in a social-political club that took control of European political landscape. The globalists are elitists, influencing the European culture, academy and media. They prepare to degrade their own economies and destroy their own industrial capabilities in order to promote their destructional “post-traditional” values to the world.’
The “old money” people don’t care for their domestic economies and industry as long as they can continue to make profits on the global scale. The European domestic business and industries where overwhelmed by the globalists in European governments and ignored, it seems, by the bankers.
Another group is a purely ideological one, united under the Russophobic agenda. It serves the current US neocons-neoliberals, it was the reason for creation of the Anti-Russian axis of UK, Poland and Ukraine, and it has its support in Baltic states. While not directly representing the globalists or neocons-neoliberals, they influenced the paradigm and spearheaded the Western anti-Russian agenda.
The US regime’s goal, in addition to the global military-based dominance, was to cut Europe from cheap Russian natural resources and damage its industry. This, in order to make it reliable on much more expensive US energy and to subjugate the European military-industrial complex, creating US MIC monopoly in the “Western Democraties”.
European goal in joining the US-led fight against Russia was just an ideological reflex against a country which stopped at its borders the new, “post-traditional” values, supplemented by the need to demonstrate “unity” among the “Free World” nations. The industrial and banking sectors were probably placated by promises of quick Russian capitulation due to economic collapse and maybe more profitable deals with Kremlin in the future.
Some other minor players, like Turkey, Romania or Hungary have their own agendas, which sometimes align and sometimes are in conflict with those of the main Western powers. But non of them are pro-Russian.
A summary of events
As it was obvious from the start, the so-much talked-about “unity” is a fiction. EU core nations (mainly Germany and France) accepted anti-Russian military and economic measures with some reluctance, realizing the potential risks to some extent. They also must still remember the outcome of their wars against Russia in the past (though a great effort went into rewriting the European history while zombifying and dumbifying the new generations of its citizens — some memory must still remain). Simply put, they were forced to adopt the US-UK approach of a shooting proxy-war and all-out sanctions.
This is largely because they were made to believe NATO held an overwhelming military superiority over Russian military, so Russia will have to swallow the NATO expansion, creation of the US “anti-ballistic-missiles” bases and unfolding of additional US units in Eastern Europe, and, most importantly, the preparation of the strike force in Ukraine, tasked with direct military conflict against Crimea and Donbass. This is why none believed the US-promoted narrative of the Russian invasion into Ukraine — the Russia was expected to swallow it like it used to do.
And Russia, under its current eternal leader, only acted to cultivate this paradigm. Since 2014, Russia allowed itself to be humiliated and deceived time after time. Moreover, Russian MoD was allowed to castrate the military-industrial complex and the Army for more than a decade. The Russian diplomacy lacked any teeth and allowed Russia to remain alone in this fight, only supported by the “rogue states” like Iran and Syria. Its head of state himself is a notorious long-time Europhile, and Russian political, intellectual and business elites were worshiping the West.
The Russian friendly reminders to its “Western partners” time and time again to refrain from attacking territories (or actively and demonstratively preparing such attacks) Russia recognized as its own, as well as oppressing or even cleansing Ethnical Russians, is unacceptable. It was mostly unacceptable because it would destroy the public image of the Russian leadership, thus practically bringing a regime change in Russia, with its current leadership dethroned.
Unlike the West, Russia still lacks the “deep state”, which can change its public figures while continuing to hold the actual power. Russian “deep state” is its government. In a sense, Russia is a more democratic country, on account of its actual decision makers having to be periodically re-elected in presidential vote. Eliminating (systematically, not physically) any viable opposition can only take you so far. Eventually, people could start voting “against”, i.e. for anyone except for the current eternal leader. And if left without such options, the voting percentage would plummet, thus destroying the apparent legitimacy of elections entirely.
So, the Kremlin in fact had no choice but to respond with force. They could have done it latter, after the Ukrainian offensive had started on Donbass. But, for some reason, the eternal leader acted unexpectedly. On the fateful Russian security council meeting the diplomates were taken aback by the leader’s patriotic rage. Maybe it was a rear moment of old man’s clear-mindness, or it was intended to prepare ground for the current Minister of Defence to take the reigns of power from the eternal leader. A repeat of the Russ-Georgian War (also known as the “888” or “Five day” war) against Georgia, then the Russian 58-th combined arms army, fresh from the annual exercises, entered the fight and defeated the Western-trained and equipped enemy in only five days.
In any case, the Russian plan of quickly forcing the Ukraine to surrender of overthrow the current regime has failed spectacularly. Instead, the Russian Army imploded. While some of the units, like the paratroopers corps, performed their duties admirably, others, like the 1-st Guards Tank Army or the Black Sea Fleet turned out to be hollow structures, rotted out inside by the policies of the Minister of Defence, leaving only shiny exterior.
While initial shock of large scale Russian invasion terrified the Ukrainian leadership, the US-UK acted to harden their hearts and prevent any ceasefire agreements. The plan was to hold to the Western Ukraine, while bleeding out Russia in a massive hybrid (proxy) war. In their mind, Ukraine was already written off as a collateral that served its purpose (I hope I’m not confusing financial terms here, since it’s not my area). I believe that was intended to remind the EU that their peace and security depends entirely on the US, so any economic concessions and sacrifices they make to US are worth it, and allow the US to farther expand its military presence there.
Current state of affairs
But the war stagnated to a standstill. Now the West has to constantly infuse Ukraine with money and weapons. The shocks of the unproportional, all-out sanctions war against Russia and demonization of Russians have caused third countries, governments and private capital to reconsider their trust in the West. Additionally, Russia is the largest country in the world, meaning it is the top exporter of raw natural resources which include fossils. It also affects the logistics between Europe and Asia. And the so-called Russian “oligarchs” are notorious for extracting money from Russia and investing or storing it in the Western countries. Thus, the West has inflicted a number of injuries on itself. Those wounds are still bleeding, weakening the bubble of Western economy.
The war against Russia, trade war against China, Western initiated civil unrests and regime changes in many other countries — all this makes the available financial gains from the “Global South” became scarcer. The sharks from the Old Europe and the New World are now forced to compete against themselves for the profits, or at least to maintain their wealth and the influence they already have. The competition which previously was in the form of the “Global North” against “Global South” now becomes internal to the “Global North”, after the “Global South” is being continuously cut-off from the West. The Western “Zero Game” paradigm leaves it without alternatives.
According to Economics analyst Tom Luongo, the US FED which represents the “New money” in US is waging a quiet war against the “Old money” in Europe. As far as I can see, for now European bankers are mostly defending, trying to keep their heads above the surface. After all, they followed the US into this debacle in order to prove their loyalty. But sooner or later they will have to take more forceful measures in order to survive. As the financial war in the shadows intensifies, it would spill out into policies of their respective governments, eventually breaking the US-EU alliance.
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World News Updates (2023-03-08)
- International women’s day
- Nord Stream “investigation”
- Another “velvet revolution” attempt in Georgia
- Longer range JDAM’s for UA
First of all today is the women’s international day, so my best wishes to all women of the world.
Sadly, what comes in that regard is the dire state of women’s rights today. I’m not talking about wokeness which promotes abortions, destroys traditional family values, pushes women into a workforce for higher profits of business while abandoning the children (the ones that still being born despite all of this) into institutional “care” for their “education” and general well being.
I’m talking about the so called “human trafficking”, which implies slavery and forced prostitution. For some reason, the name has nothing to do with women, slavery or forced prostitution. As if someone is trying to blur the lines by defining the problem with unrelated terms.
Another point that stupefies me is how this phenomenon is possible at all at our level of social and technological development. The only reason I could think of, is that the powers which influence the government policies are not interested in eradicating this evil. Is it because they themselves are directly implicated in this activities, or they chose to allow this to happen for some convenience reasons — I don’t know. All I can say is the general public should held their governments directly responsible for any such activities under their jurisdiction. But the public seems to be viewing this evil as some kind of scary fairy tail that doesn’t have anything to do with them. It is someone else, from another countries, but they themselves and they families are safe.
There was a principle of mutual responsibility in the ancient world. An evil done by some members of community could draw God’s wrath on the entire community. As such, every citizen is responsible for his (or hers, though women weren’t citizens as such in those times, and usually shared the fate of their husbands together with the rest of the family) community, even if he himself has nothing to do with the sins and crimes being committed. Another example is a dead body found in the limits of ancient Judean city. The city became responsible for this death even if none of its residents were involved in the murder. This city citizens and authorities had to provide a sacrifice as if themselves committed the murder, to escape God’s punishment.
Sadly, modern governments are pushing to separate their communities into individuals, taking their power to collectively influence their governments. And then, those disconnected individuals are unified under a mainstream narrative, striping off their individuality as well. The people become gray mass that follows the authorities without critical thinking and unable to hold their leaders accountable.
The embarrassing article by Seymour Hersh seems to make some waves in the “Free World”. The first attempt to ignore it must have been less fruitful than expected, since the NYT has discharged an “article” in which it wildly speculates about this act of aggression as being planned and executed by some unnamed extremist group made of Ukrainian and/or Russian citizens. As ridiculous as it sounds, this must be the new and approved narrative that will be pushed for public consumptions.
It is hard to believe Germans, who are the actual victims of this crime, will buy into it. At best this excuse of ongoing “investigation” would delay the authorities from acknowledging US involvement for some time. It is also possible this fictional investigation is intended for other audiences in countries which haven’t suffered as the result of Nord Stream pipelines destruction, or even benefited from it. Those should gladly accept any “official” excuse to wave around, deflecting the blame of their responsibility or silent approval of the act.
Georgian (the post-Soviet one, not the Georgia, USA) Parliament is in a process to introducing a new law that would require any organizations and individuals who influence Georgian politics reveal if they are financed by foreign players. A few thousands of protesters tried to breach the Georgian Parliament building and clashed with police. Some “molotovs” were thrown at the riot police as well. However, I didn’t hear about any arrests made among the protesters, which is concerning.
What is interesting is the official US reaction. It has threatened Georgia with economic sanctions, the US argument being “support for democracy” or something like that. The funny thing is, the Georgian law is based on the US law for foreign agents. And storming the Parliament building? January 6th, anyone?
This all affair is quite remarkable sine Georgia was the first, mini Russo-Ukrainian war less than a decade ago. During which Russian military managed to counterattack and devastate Georgian army in 5 days, stopping on its way to Tbilisi by the Rasputin’s ceasefire deal, that left Russia with sanctions and paved a way for the history to repeat itself in Ukraine. That war happened after the first “velvet revolution” there Western-managed forces, headed by Saakashvili, came to the power. After the war and economic decline as a result of severing ties with Russia and adoption of EU agricultural regulations, Saakashvili government felt and was replaced by a neutral government.
Today, the Western-led wave of world-wide destabilizing actions has reached Georgia as well. Hopefully, the government would persist for now, or this country would again be used as a tool to poke Russia, hopping it will suffer significant damage.
Ukraine has demonstrated to its Western shepherds what it is able not only to engage strategic targets deep inside Russian territory, but also do it with impunity. Russian “red lines” turned to be empty words — no “decision making centers” were targeted in Ukraine or NATO countries after many repeated strikes and attacks on Russian soil. Moreover, some highly valuable Russian military assets were damaged, and operations disrupted, by using only old Soviet era systems.
Russian authorities have shown to the West it has nothing to worry about by supplying longer reaching stand-off weaponry to Ukraine. Moreover, it could serve Western interests by inflicting military, economic and PR damage to Russia. So the supplies of longer ranged weaponry was actually expected by this point.
What is interesting on a technical level, is that the regular JDAM kits previously supplied to Ukraine had little detectable consequences on if at all. I haven’t seen a single report about a JDAM bomb making significant damage in the Russian rear. The reason, as I see it, is the mode of operation of the JDAM equipped bombs. They stand-off range is achievable by three interconnected means: release velocity, altitude and angle. That is because JDAM bombs don’t have any means of propulsion, but rely instead on the initial kinetic and potential energy to travel. Since the theater has a heavy presence of anti-aircraft systems, the fighter jets are probably hard pressed to find an opportunity to get to a high enough altitude so that the JDAM will travel far enough to hit any major Russian target.
Introduction of the gliding JDAM-ER variant would theoretically allow the carriers to achieve longer toss distance without exposing themselves as much to the Russian air-defense.
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Russia Updates (2023-03-01): Fighting Criticism and Anime-Loving Schoolchildren
Russian Duma is working on legislation what would outlaw any criticism of any organizations taking part in the war. The initiative came from the evil clown Prigozhin, who promotes the idea to outlaw not only criticism but also any information regarding criminal record. Since he is a former convict and is under pressure from Russian alternative media (notably Igor Strelkov’s Telegram channel with 800,000 subscribers), such a law will benefit him directly, as well as the top brass of the Russian MoD and security services officials.
The proposed law first states that a distribution of any intentionally false information regarding any person, official or organization taking part in the war, would be punishable by either a fine of up to 5M rubles, up to 5 years of forced labor, or up to 15 years in prison/penal colony.
Naturally, this is the Rasputin’s government’s response for the avalanche of criticism regarding the failures and even crimes of such officials that aren’t being reported or addressed in any way in the Russian mainstream media. And, since the president Rasputin is technically a supreme commander of the Russian military, he would be also protected by this totalitarian law.
Incidentally, a regional representative of a Kremlin-aligned Communist party published in social media himself watching president’s yearly address to Russian legislators and the public TV-broadcast while spaghetti hanging from his ears. There is a Russian saying “to hang noodles on one’s ears”, meaning telling lies or convenient half-trues to people in order to manipulate them. The regional legislators body is now acting to punish the man, and gave recommendations to the Communist Party to take away his party membership.
The point is that some regular people and low-level officials are starting to express their dismay regarding the situation in Russia. Those aren’t western-oriented ideologists, that were active during the start of the war, but people who consider the current regime to be too weak and incompetent to protect and promote Russian interests. Most of them are actually much less lenient to the Rasputin’s long-held ideas of cooperation with (or rather — under) the West.
Another interesting story which stresses the government’s insecurities is the witch-hunt against anime-fans among Russian teens. Reportedly, after some of “unusual-looking” anime loving teens were beaten by some “athletic youth” which happen to be of Caucasian ethnicity. In response, anime fans around the country tried to resist the usual hooligans and troublemakers by gathering in groups. The authorities saw it as a threat to the regime and started arresting and detaining the school children who happen to wear anime-related clothes and gathered in groups. This is reportedly a “preventing measure”. Naturally, the usual troublemakers, the football fans, hooligans, small criminals and the regular Caucasian “golden youth” are not viewed as any kind of a threat to the regime.
The authorities went as far as accusing those anime fans as being targeted by the Ukrainian psy-op. The funny thing is Ukraine had similar issues with their anime-fans youth, which were declared as influenced by Kremlin psy-op. A Russian Duma member of Caucasian ethnicity went as far as suggesting some anime series and games should be outlawed.
This whole ordeal puts a few existing problems in Russian society on the surface. First is the lack of any sane ideology in modern Russia the youth can be a part of. Local minorities are given preferential and unfair treatment by authorities, often enraging the Russian or Slavic majority. Large federal budgets go into Chechen, Turkic and southern and eastern ethnical minorities — not all of them, but only the ones connected to power-holding senior officials in federal offices. Recently Strelkov reported that two units from such minority regions were sent back from the war zone after rebelling. Those were the only two units, and both weren’t from ethnically Russian regions.
Kazan (Turkic minority region) was given an unprecedented autonomy and continues to get very favorable financial support from the Russian government in industrial development. Chechnya is a black hole for Russian federal budget, sucking in money in order to enhance the power and local popular support of its mini-dictator, the Chechnyan president Ramzan Kadyrov. Criminal and dubious activities on Russian ethnic majority regions by those connected to Kadyrov or other local minority authorities are being swept under the rug by the orders coming down from the top government officials.
In this situation, while lacking any proper ideology and at the same time seeing the Russian majority is being suppressed by Russian government in favor of some power-aligned ethnical minorities (with anti-Russian ideology), creates a situation there the people are starting to express their frustration by taking things into their own hands. By prosecuting and demonizing teens who like anime and hate being beaten for it by Caucasians, the authorities will only empower radical nationalistic views among the Russian public.
Actually, some of the signs are already there. I was surprised and worried to see some alternative Russian patriotic Telegram channels using the word “Russkie voiska”, i.e. [ethnically-] Russian troops, instead of the usual “Rossiyskie voiska” i.e. Russian [Federation] troops. The incompetency and nepotism of Russian authorities, the lack of ideology to cling to during a time of crisis, the discrimination of ethnically Russian population in favor of some minorities — all this widens the chasm between the current regime and the population. Sensing those sentiments growing in the public, authorities try to choke them by force, instead of addressing the underlaying issues.
This happens on the background of extremely poorly managed war and without a clear military victory in sight. Russian public will overlook many sins of its leaders, but the one they won’t, is the weakness of their military. Regime changes in Russia followed botched up military campaigns. Russo-Japanese war lead to the end of Russian monarchy, and the Afghan war led to the end of the Soviet communist regime. In both cases the leadership grow completely detached from realities, and the army was weakened by incompetency, corruption and nepotism. It is quite possible therefore the Rasputin’s regime will meet a similar end it a few years, thus transforming Russia into a new state, propelled by new ideology.
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Russia Lost the Fight for retaking Strategic Initiative: a Long and Bloody War Ahead
The Russian big winter offensive hasn’t happened. The threat on Transnistria grows. Wagner got it’s ammo after Prigozhin’s theatrics featuring “crocodile tears” in social media, but his supply of sacrificial lambs with criminal records is reportedly running low — the MoD now recruiting them directly.
It seems Russian MoD hopped to break the defence lines in a less defended region of Zaporozh’e. If successful, it would allow to circumvent the static Donbass defense line of UA from the southern direction. Yet the initial offensive was stopped at Ugledar with significant losses on Russian side. Russian forces tried again and again to breach through, but due to the incompetence of Russian top military planners and commanders, they retreated each time, after casualties in personnel and military hardware.
Strelkov is expecting Ukrainian counterattack, maybe soon, due to ammo, weapons and equipment shortages on the Russian side, as well as large (and unnecessary) casualties from incompetent frontal assaults. Yet UA is still far from replenishing its losses in armor and artillery, though many new units are created thanks to merciless mobilization efforts. If so, the situation is somewhat similar on both sides — there is still a lot of personnel, but most of them severely lacks training, equipment and weapons to be effective in a mobile combat arms combat.
Farther stagnation of frontline brings importance to opening of other fronts. From Russian side it could be northern and eastern border of UA, but it probably won’t make the situation any better. From Ukrainian side it could be an attack of Russian peacekeeping forces in Transnistria and civil population there (most of them were given Russian citizenship by Russian government), or a stand-off strikes war against Belarus. The first option should bring easy victory and farther humiliation to Russia, as well as discreditation of Rasputin’s government and military. The second option could pressure Belarus to move away from Russia, in order to secure peace in its borders. This is due to the fact that Russian MoD is in no position to protect Belarus from artillery, drone and missile strikes, since it is obviously cannot protect Russian population, infrastructure and bases from such attacks.
Since there is no military solution to the war in sight, the political stability of Russia and UA, as well as the western sponsors of the war, is starting to look more important. In both the West and Russia public opinion of their governments is slowly shifting in negative direction. Yet on both sides there isn’t any viable and sensible alternative to current regimes. Given enough time and suffering that would change.
There is also a possibility of a force majeure that would affect the war in significant way, breaking the status quo. Such possibilities are: major and unexpected political changes in the USA or Russia, new large military conflicts outside of UA and involving the West or Russia, major natural or manmade disaster, other countries entering the RU-UA war, or the use of WMD.
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One Year Anniversary: Crisis Wasted
Though a war is a terrible thing, especially a civilian war, a crisis always presents possibility to break out of stagnation of stale incompetency and slow creeping decay of corruption.
This war was supposed to serve as a wakeup call for Kremlin dwellers, forcing reforms of Russian economy, military, and eventually the society and government itself. Instead, they crawled deeper into the embrace of their comfortable positions, disregarding the popular dismay brewing outside of government buildings’ walls. The state media, which was groomed into servicing the political elite, tells them things are only getting better. Their brown-nosed subordinates reinforce their confidence with pleasant lies. Anything they hear to the opposite is lazily attributed to being ungrateful, close-minded or worse — treasonous, not seeing the big picture in the proper historical perspective.
This detachment of elites (“elites” — by the merit of their positions of power, not by the merit of their virtues) from reality brings eventually catastrophes and bloody revolutions. If the country survives, it needs to undergo a lengthy and painful process of rebuilding from scratch. Soviet Union left Russian Federation a plentiful legacy of industry, education and military. Most of it was wasted to benefit few criminals and kleptocrats, leaving behind weak industry, diminished academy, broken Army and less educated public.
Russian state-owned public opinion center (the VTsIOM) released a public opinion survey just before Rasputin’s speech to the Federal Assembly. According to its findings, the public opinion of Rasputin and his government has grown, and the results of the Special Military Operation in UA are considered to be “significant” by the majority or Russian. The small caveat was revealed in the Kommersant news agency article, almost if by accident. Specifically, the head of VTsIOM confessed that the poll “not the freshest one”, and actually was assembled from pieces of public opinion pulls throughout the year. This dead body of Frankenstein’s monster was presented to the public and (or maybe mainly) to the decision makers.
In my previous RU-UA war update, I speculated about Rasputin’s options at the anniversary of the war. One of those, probably the worst one, was for Rasputin to leave things as they are and to continue the “business as usual” approach. Apparently, it is what he chose. And at this point there are no more hopes left that he would start getting things in order. The country was left for Kremlin fractions to battle for control over it, without an orbiter to oversee the process. Shoigu is untouchable, Rasputin is impotent. The war will go on as it went before, with near-zero actual progress, with servicemen and their families losing any trust in their generals and their government.
Now, the criterium for victory is which side will be first to collapse politically. Yet the continuation of energy supplies to the West and half-hearted strikes on critical infrastructure, allows UA regime and its patrons to endure much longer than anyone could have credibly predicted.
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RU-UA War Status — Approaching the Anniversary (2023-02-21)
The time for Russian winter big offensive is running out. It is possible that it would not happen after the failed offensive operation in Ugledar and the parting of ways between Wagner’s owner and Russian MoD. The first is the result of incompetent commanders on middle and high levels, and possibly the shortages of certain equipment and armament. The seconds is the clash of ego and ambitions of personalities, and possible power struggle for place in politics.
Meantime, there are some suggestions the situation with Russian peacekeeping force in Transnistria is escalating. Russia now has no way to reinforce the troops there, after losing the foothold on the western bank of Dnepr River and the retreat from north-western Black Sea. Thus, the cut-off Russian troops in Transnistria could serve a convenient vector for hurting Russia. Not only Transnistria could be forcibly integrated into Moldova, the Russian contingent of ~10,000 soldiers can be partially destroyed, and the remaining thousands taken prisoners of war. This will have very grave consequences for Russian public opinion on Russian MoD and government, putting Russia in a very disadvantageous position regarding exchanges of POWs, and farther humiliating Russia. The only viable option to prevent such scenario would be credible threat of Russian stand-off strikes escalation against high value officials (including foreign ones) and installations in UA. Yet the credibility of any Russian “red lines” has eroded significantly over the past year of half-hearted measures, continuing supplies of energy and Rasputin’s eagerness to make deals like the “grain deal”.
The warm winter and continuing supplies of Russian energy to the West resulted in large natural gas reserves in EU and fallen prices. This could stimulate the EU to farther escalate the proxy war, especially seeing that the willingness to continue the war is steadily falling in popularity in Europe and USA. The anti-Russian alliance is running out of time, and the natural response for their ideologists would be to make a final push before their public mandate is has ran out entirely, and officials would have to distance themselves from the war.
Meantime, the financial fraction of Russian government is trying to micromanage the destabilized economy, arguably making things worse. Constant changes in legislation and rules make any business planning almost impossible, thus unnerving the already confused private sector. Any new investments that are essential at this situation to rebuild Russian domestic industry are becoming riskier than before.
The Russian politics is also undergoing a chaotic stage. Rasputin-aligned legislators are pushing to reinforce their position by introducing new rules for municipal and regional elections, destabilizing the status quo. The Russian court system is also seemed feverish, farther lowering the public trust in it.
The situation in UA is mostly unknown to me, except the usual “on the brink of collapse and anarchy”. Western cash infusion, credit life support and backing of “free world” mainstream media allowed the existing government to survive so far. Yet, the forced mobilization, mostly in Russian speaking regions it seems, will create a large number of military personnel antagonistic to the current regime and its supporters. Their motivation to fight Russian Army will be based only on their fear, but this kind of stimulation has its limits and could result in mass revolts. So far Russia failed to make use of any of it to its advantage, indicating the weakness or incompetency of its foreign intelligence services. FSB is mostly concerned with protecting the current regime inside Russia than enforcing Russian interests abroad.
The Belarus military build will almost certainly not result in any significant actions against UA, unless Poland will enter the war directly. Currently, Russia seems to focus its attention on south-eastern UA. East and north-east is another option. Landing operation in Odessa region is practically impossible. Any deep air-assault or air-drop operations are practically impossible due to unsuppressed Ukrainian air-defenses. Any deep-maneuver combat arms operations are practically impossible for a range of reasons. Thus, only wide front, shallow-depth operations could be expected from the Russian Army in near future. Each such operation would require expansive artillery preparations to “soften-up” the enemy, which would allow UA to move reinforcements in time to counterattack, reinforce its defence line, at or at least diminish any effects of successful Russian break-through. Shortages of ammunition and artillery pieces, deficit of heavy assault systems, airspace denial etc., all this make it almost physically impossible to conduct effective offensive operations by Russian Army. Until the West will retract its financial and military support or until the current UA regime will collapse, Russian military (as it is now) has no quick path to victory.
Meantime, prolonged conflict without real military victories will continue to sway Russian public opinion away from Rasputin’s government and Shoigu’s Army. Since the stability of Ukrainian puppet government has proven to be much more than Kremlin expected, and there is no imminent collapse in sight, Rasputin has few options: ignore and continue “business as usual” approach, risking the positions of entire regime, make deal with West possibly risking an even bigger public dismay, or sacrifice Shoigu. The latter will be the most popular decision but will start a new power struggle round in Kremlin, something Rasputin has generally avoided by his “divide and rule” approach.
The nearing anniversary will mean some progress report is needed to be offered to the public. And “they had it worse” is not a good message, especially after the “everything is going according to our plan/timetable” statements, and years and years of pumping up the Russian Military capabilities in media and tens (if not hundreds) of trillions of tax rubles drained into “modernization” and “import-replacement” defense and military industry projects.
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The “balloon panic” continue to successfully distract the public from the real issues.
Russian supplies of energy to EU managed to bring the prices or natural gas to their pre-war level, around 500-600 USD per 1,000 cubic meters.
Russian government is searching for a way to retroactively tax “large” businesses to bring another 300B rubles into the budget. The fossil fuel companies are expected to be exempted from this “one time only” tax.
Meanwhile, Russian government is placing a “hand tuned” discount limits on Russian crude exports, tying it to the price of Brent oil benchmark.
Evil clown Prigozhin admitted RuMoD has cut supplies of ammo to Wagner Group. Some retaliatory measures were expected from the Shoigu fraction, but this can potentially collapse the Wagner operation in Artemovsk/Bakhmut.
Russian Tretyakov Gallery displaying the wood works of art of the Russian Minister of Defense, the transparently corrupt and totally incompetent Shoigu. It seems the minister not only enjoys power struggles with his opponents, giving preferential treatment to some minority groups in Russian Army and MIC (while destroying the rest) and losing wars, but also wood crafts. How nice for him!
Piotr Butowski, who is probably the best Western analyst of Russian military tech, published an article about the cost of some Russian military hardware used in the war. More interestingly, he shows that Russian MoD under Shoigu is consistently contracts new weapon systems below their cost prices. This means he practically bankrupts the Russian MIC, putting it under MoD and government control. Some companies receive preferential treatment, while others die or get absorbed by the state-controlled mega-corporations.
Russian large offensive is still nowhere to be seen, and the activation of positional warfare still bear no real fruits.
The largely trumpeted project of “Western tanks for UA” has largely deflated. I was expecting up to two hundred modern western main battle tanks to be supplied in 2023, but it seems US will supply practically nothing this year, and the EU will supply maybe one or two UA-standard battalions worth of tanks and support vehicles at best. UA tank battalion is considered to consist of 31 main battle tanks, while heavy NATO battalion — of ~44 MBTs.
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Russian Army conducted another wave of deep-rear strikes in UA territory. This time electricity-generating turbines of many power plants were hit, together with the usual 300kv class transformers. After many long months of mostly pointless “sparing” strikes on transformers only, someone in the Russian MoD finally made the obvious choice of targeting the power stations themselves. Yet, seemingly because of the cruise missiles shortages, the effects are very limited. The Iranian Mercedes priced junk-drones don’t carry large enough warheads (50 kg only) to penetrate the building and destroy the turbines. Instead, at best only one or two turbines were damaged or affected in each targeted power plant. The much more capable Soviet/Russian made missiles were instead wasted on power distribution substations and other nonsense.
Russian Army made an exercise in diversion operation by bombing the Snake Island and yet again blowing up the bridge over Zatoka in Odessa region. Since those two are only critical for maritime assault operation in Odessa region, and since Russia obviously can’t conduct any landing operations there (without risking a huge disaster), it is nothing more than an attempt to make UA to pull some of its forces into Odessa.
The attack on the Zatoka bridge was evidently done using some kind of naval suicide drone. Almost certainly this is an Iranian made drone. In the Iranian drones news, an information about new factory intended specifically for licensed assembly of Iranian drones was published in the Western media. According to it, the deal is valued $1B for the production of 6,000 drones. Which means a per unit cost of $167,000. What even more embarrassing, is that according to publicized information, Russia will develop new engines and maybe warheads for those drones. In practical terms it means a joint venture company with Iran, where Russia will transfer its superior aerospace know-how to Iran, to be used by Iran and its proxies and clients. It is quite possible the long-lasting effect of this cooperation will be a technological and military jump in capabilities. The one to feel this the most will probably be Israel.
The revolutionary sentiments in Russia are brewing. While ignored by the ruling class, they start to seep into the public consciousness little by little. Since there is no viable alternative to the current regime, the situation might become dangerous by letting the worst elements and ideologies to surface.
Russian large winter offensive is still nowhere to be seen. The activation of pressure on the south-eastern front was met with inflow of Ukrainian reserves. There is no decisive force seen that could overturn the mostly static situation. The Russian problems are threefold: deficit of military hardware, equipment and ammunition, the inability to effectively train mobilized reserves, and the incompetence and/or corruption of the top military commanders. Then the reservists were used, it often resulted in abysmal failures. The best performing forces which include Wagner professional soldiers, paratroopers, special forces, marines etc., are being grinded in frontal assaults on fortified enemy positions. The “grind” that the Russian MoD is talking about in regard to the Ukrainian forces is actually affected both sides. And unlike the Russian side, the UA is continuing its relentless and increasingly ruthless forced conscription practice.
If the Russian MoD will lose its time window for winter offensive, a larger Ukrainian spring offensive will follow, resulting in great numbers of casualties on both sides, and farther destabilizing the political structure of both countries. Any new waves of mobilizations in Russia will only make situation worse. In order to prevent this scenario, president Rasputin might try to find a refuge in signing bad deals with the West, which would be the end of him, of course.
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