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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