By large, there are three different approaches amongst the Russian patriotic public regarding how to deal with the current situation of incompetent military planning, the lack of political leadership and the eternal problem of corruption, adversely affecting the present and future of the ethnically or culturally Russian people.
As a side note, I like to explain one thing, which isn’t understood in the West. Russian language has two different words, both translated simply as “Russian” into English. One is “Rossiyskiy”, and the second is “Russkiy”. Generally speaking, in Russian official language uses “Rossiyskiy”, meaning “of the Russian Federation”, while “Russkiy” means “of the Russian ethnicity”. The first term includes all the ethnicities and cultures which are present on the Russian territory, similar to the previously used “Soviet”, which was devoted from ethnic meaning. So then speaking about Russian patriots, I don’t mean ethnically Russians, but people of various ethnicities and religious believes, who are living in Russian Federation. Practically, there is no, or very little regard to ethnicity in Russia. Many top officials are not only ethnically non-Russians, but also of non-Slavic ethnicity. The Minister of Defense Shoigu was born to Tuvan (Turkic ethnicity adhering to Tibetan Buddhist religion) father and Ukrainian mother, Minister of Foreign Affairs Lavrov was born to Armenian father and Russian mother. The Russian Central Bank is headed by Elvira Nabiullina is ethnic Tatar (an ethnicity adhering to the Islam religion). All of them are referred as “Russians”, very much like US citizen is considered as an American, regardless of his or her ethnicity.
So, the three main approaches to the current situation amongst the Russian patriotic public are as such:
- The President, the government and the Ministry of Defense should be given full backup and support in the time of emergency.
- The government and the MoD failed the Russian people, so the people should do what is needed despite any resistance and obstacles put in place by the government; people should volunteer, donate to the war efforts etc.
- The government should be replaced, and all who is responsible should be dethroned and ultimately punished for their crimes.
Some mixed approach is also possible.
There is a post by Strelkov on his Telegram channel (in Russian), there he gives full support to the idea of putting all efforts into winning despite the government and the MoD corruption and incompetency. He also thinks the cleaning of the official structures from those ailments is required.
Personally, I believe any efforts to win the war without first addressing the underlying issues are erroneous. I’m sure what the war against UA cannot be lost, military speaking. The victory is assured, unless hampered by diplomatic agreements, or the total political collapse and subsequent chaos. If so, then the victory will be achieved, it will be credited to the current government. Any failures would be explained by the Western support to UA, and by incompetency of some middle-tier officials and commanders. And the government will survive.
But the war is secondary to the question of Russia’s future. Practically speaking, how much of the former UA’s territories RU will control at the end of the war is not really important. What is important is what will come next, how this new status quo will develop in the future. If the same men remain in power, the nation will continue to decline — its military and economy and cultural identity. We saw what happened as a result of Minsk agreements, when Russia had its upper hand — it resulted in situation much worse. So, the main objective should be not military victory (which is all but assured), but political reforms that should take place as a result of the slow destruction of the Russian military (and the civil society) by the current leadership.
The notion that the public should support the leadership in times of a national emergency is stupefying simply because the emergency was directly caused by the current leadership. It wasn’t an honest mistake but was in line with almost any other major decision made by this regime. And the war is not threatening the very exitance of Russian state. In fact, now is the time to make every effort to criticize and resist the government, and to create a strong base for its change during the next elections — the only time Russian public has any power to make a change.
The other notion that the public should ignore the government and make any effort to win a war is not any less stupefying because private citizens cannot win a war of such scale with their privately bought medical supplies, warm clothes and Chinese commercial drones. They can make a difference, but any success would be attributed to the government and thus strengthen its position amongst the naive, tv-consuming or normativity-aligned public. Those who volunteer into fighting or supplying the fighting soldiers with necessary equipment are the most active portion of the population, and their efforts would be ultimately much more beneficial if they would concentrate instead on taking down (by the legal and democratic means) the current government.
A crisis is time to enact changes. Peacefull, content society will not revolt against the elites. Only then agitated beyond the tolerance limit, it can force major changes. And a war is a nature’s way to combat complacency and stagnation, to get rid of cancerous cells inside the body of a nation, and to heal and rejuvenate itself. It comes with a heavy price, but the alternative is ultimate demise and decline.
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