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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