Responding to Jacob Dreizin’s video “Who deserves the Firing Squad” (in Russian)

Jacob’s video: Кого на расстрел? (1st exclusive video for my Russian audience)

He makes a few points I want to address. For some reason, my comments on his blog aren’t being published. I assume the reason is him approving each comment one-by-one, and if there are a large number of comments, not all of them may pass through. Whatever the reason is, those points are important ones, so I would like to voice my commentary of them.

First point: those journalists who are now criticizing the MoD and demanding radical changes in command structure, are the first ones to blame, since they haven’t reported any of the now surfaced problems.

I would like to remind people, that some time ago, maybe a year and maybe more, long before any criticism started to come out from the independent sources like Rybar and Strelkov, the Russian Parliament has adopted new legislation, that made any specific criticism of the Russian MoD to be illegal. Any mention of any specific problematic issue, any mention of a problematic official, could land you in jail or some forced labor penal colony. As a result, the most serious defence related media outlets, like the CAST institute, changed their approach to reporting. Only foreign sources could be published, instead of the local sources. Unless they were approved or released by the Russian officials themselves.

If so, any criticism of the MoD officials or reporting of specific problems would be highly dangerous for the ones who report it. And even now, then the reported problems are so obvious they cannot be rationally dismissed as false, those reporters are being threatened and black-PR’ed as some kind of traitors.

Second point: Only Strelkov was talking from the start about the need for wide (300,000 for starters) mobilization. The rest were supporting the president Rasputin’s decision to only use the current standing force of professional soldiers.

Well, as we have seen, in the beginning of the operation, the Russian numbers were sufficient to throw them in pointless offensives in the North (Kiev and Sumi regions), as well as quickly conquer the most of Zaporozh’e and Kherson regions. The military conduct of those operations was disastrous, but the number were sufficient indeed. And those numbers were still sufficient to hold the lines in Kherson, Zaporozh’e, Donetsk and Lugansk, with some local offensives in Kharkov region.

Until suddenly, the number of Russian troops has imploded. I’ve already explained the reasons as I see them: the moral of troops has crushed due to the disastrous management of the campaign by the Russian MoD. Their trust in the Army has disappeared. And, naturally, they exercised their options to leave the military service.

If, instead of playing the usual president Rasputin’s Grand Diplomacy games (which he usually loose), he would take all the steps to inflict as much damage to the Ukrainian military, industry and logistics, then at this point the situation could have been entirely different. As much as I agree with the sentiment, voiced by Alexander Mercouris, that time is on the Russian side, this is no good reason to waste it. Especially if the other side doesn’t.

Now, if someone thinks that throwing more people into the war is the obvious solution, then those people should also agree that Ukraine’s tactics are the right ones. “Do not concern yourself with the casualties, just throw as much personnel and hardware into the meatgrinder as you can, and things will turn out just OK.” This is a terrible idea, on many levels. The most basic one is that each soldier needs to be quipped and armed. Most importantly, those people need to be competently commanded and managed. And since we can see that the Russian military industry, for some exceptions, cannot provide even the current number of troops with all the needed, and the military command is extremely incompetent, those newly mobilized soldiers would have very low efficiency on the battlefield, and a very high attrition rate.

Towards the second half of the WWII, Soviet Army reformed itself to the point it became as good as the Wehrmacht, and the numerical superiority, extremely powerful military industry and the abundance of natural resources allowed it to start decisively winning the war. At the end of the WWII, the Soviet Army was at its peak, the strongest military force in the world. In the beginning, it was suffering terrible loses in personnel and territories. The deciding factor wasn’t the numbers (which were always present), but the overall efficiency of the military machine. Today, Russian military efficiency is probably at its lowest, thanks to the runaway corruption and degenerate bureaucracy under the supervision of the president Rasputin himself.

That is not to say that there was a need for plan B, which would allow to induct an effective mobilization before the front start to crumble. But obviously, Putin had no real understanding of the state of the Russian Army (or the Russian people). As usual, he distances himself from the particulars, in order to stay above any blame. There were always enough signals that the state of the Army and MIC is problematic. Yet he took no steps to examine or fix any of it. Ultimately, he can blame it all on the Shoigu, if things become really bad. This is a cowardly position, unfitting the unreplaceable ruler of Russia.

Third point: Rasputin has reached the status of unflawed and holly demigod in Russian mainstream media. Not a single word of any criticism is tolerated against Rasputin himself.

This is a point with which I totally agree. It is tolerable, as long as things are going well. Guarding the status of the country’s president has its merits. But then things are falling apart, not letting any critique to slip through is highly demoralizing for the population. Since the lack of criticism implies lack of any possible changes to improve the situation. And if situation won’t improve even when the Russia is losing a war to Ukraine (not NATO, not China, but Ukraine), that country has no future. This is a sentiment which will weight on regular Russian. And if they can flee, then they would. Not because they are traitors of the motherland (well, some probably are, but they have already fled in the first days of the SMO), but because their country’s government openly betrays them.

When Hannibal waged his war on Rome, the Senate became almost empty of its senators. Because the senators were of the equites (knights) class, and as such took part in the battles. They were killed, so they and their families experienced as much pain and sorrow as the regular Roman citizen, maybe even more. Rasputin and the current elites are totally detached from the reality of a regular Russian citizen. And the taboo on any criticism of the Rasputin himself only widens this chasm between the people and the elites. This happened before in Russia, with the disastrously mismanaged Russo-Japanese war and the WWI. The people said enough, and we know what happened in 1917 to the Russian royal family and the rest of elites. Only this time the lucky ones would have to flee to China instead of France. So, they need to ask themselves, is this really the end they are striving for? Is the hold of corruption so strong it can’t be broken by (arguably) rational people even when facing their own political (or worse) demise?

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