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Ukraine 13: Pavlov's Bellum


Lykos

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11 minutes ago, Maithanet said:

My understanding is that (at least prior to Feb) Russians were better off in Putin's Russia than they were in 1980s USSR.  That is a key part of how Putin has retained power the past 20 years. 

In Moscow and St. Petersburg (if you can afford it), sure. In other parts, maybe not so much. Either way, the point of nostalgia being, memory vs. reality. What (not just) Russians remember from the collapse of the SU. Factories closing down, empty shelves, poverty. 

I mean, I could do a silly little anecdote to that nostalgia being real.

National athems of Russia.

Soviet Anthem

Anthem from 1991 to 2000

 

Current Russian anthem 

 

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11 minutes ago, A Horse Named Stranger said:

In Moscow and St. Petersburg (if you can afford it), sure. In other parts, maybe not so much. Either way, the point of nostalgia being, memory vs. reality. What (not just) Russians remember from the collapse of the SU. Factories closing down, empty shelves, poverty.

Well I'm basing my statement on NPR interviews with ordinary Russians they could find who would go on the record back in February.  These were not people hand selected by the Russian Govt, although obviously there is some self selection.  But overwhelmingly people said that the 90s were terrible, but as soon as Putin took over* the Russian economy flourished and people had more things and they were better off.  Not just compared to the 90s, but compared to the 80s as well. 

* Putin obviously benefited from energy prices going through the roof in the early 00s, which allowed for huge GDP growth in Russia during his first ten years in office.  And at least for a while, Putin made sure that some of that wealth was filtering down to regular people.  I get the impression there's much less of that happening now as corruption has gotten more entrenched.

 

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2 hours ago, Maithanet said:

My understanding is that (at least prior to Feb) Russians were better off in Putin's Russia than they were in 1980s USSR.  That is a key part of how Putin has retained power the past 20 years. 

But, back in the day, Russia kicked arse.  The rest of the World was afraid of the Soviet Union.  That’s what people are nostalgic for.

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5 minutes ago, SeanF said:

But, back in the day, Russia kicked arse.  The rest of the World was afraid of the Soviet Union.  That’s what people are nostalgic for.

Sure, and that is what Putin is promising.  The problem is that promises don't make empires and many of the things that made the Soviet Union strong are simply not there anymore.  Russia is an incredibly old country (the median age is 40), with a much smaller population than the Soviet Union.  Russia's economy is a joke compared to the Soviets.  Russia's military has some top notch stuff, but often in only tiny numbers because it is too expensive.  Instead the bulk of the equipment being used in Ukraine is Soviet era stuff that has been updated slightly. 

Russia is by almost any measure a second rate world power.  Not a complete joke, but not comparable to powerhouses like the US or China.  Putin's Ukraine invasion was supposed to showcase Russian might, but instead it is just highlighting how far it has fallen. 

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2 minutes ago, DireWolfSpirit said:

Time to begin the assault westward and blitzkrieg Moscow!!

While I find that emotionally appealing… that might actually prompt a very nasty response from the Russians.  I’d much rather see a Russian army mutiny and the mutinous Russian army head for Moscow.

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There are decades when nothing happens and there are weeks when decades happen. 

 

Am I the only one who is wondering whether the U.S. Intelligence wings might finally be retaliating for 2016? Russia dabbled in asymmetrical warfare and got a clown elected, but that clown couldn't really harm the American defense apparatus (for good or ill) the way Putin probably hoped. So... Yay for the Military Industrial Complex and the assorted intelligence agencies I suppose... And bad for Putin. So he took his shot in Ukraine at least banking on NATO not getting involved. That was a good gamble on good odds. Unfortunately his army sucks and the Ukrainians one and all, good and bad, are a tough tough people. So that's bad for Putin. 

But when I see Russia sprint into a poorly considered offensive, just completely misread the global economic consequences, and then have literal fires breaking out amidst public dissent... I wonder. The Russian thieves at the head of that government managed to really mess up America for YEARS just by buying ads and putting a few hundred nerds in an office room. America's intelligence, including cyber warfare, agencies are -uhum- much much more advanced. 

I wonder... Y'all are so worried about Russian ICBMs. I wonder if if Putin should be worried about his ability to contact them.

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18 hours ago, Toth said:

but it annoys me when they portray Putin's nukes as an "I win" button,

The argument seems to paralyze people. Putin counts on that.

Thankfully Zelensky and the Ukranian resistors have a mission that doesn't allow for such head in the sand fears of the Putin bully. They are willing to fight to their death, if Putin is to resort to using nukes, the bluff is flipped back to him. Is Putin prepared to die on this hill via mutually assured destruction?

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33 minutes ago, DireWolfSpirit said:

Thankfully Zelensky and the Ukranian resistors have a mission that doesn't allow for such head in the sand fears of the Putin bully. They are willing to fight to their death, if Putin is to resort to using nukes, the bluff is flipped back to him. Is Putin prepared to die on this hill via mutually assured destruction?

After that exchange yesterday I ended up wondering just how complicated the usage of nukes against only Ukraine is anyway. I mean... not just in terms of internal procedure, but I can't imagine you can launch nukes without officially announcing it first so that the US, quite probably quickly becoming aware of the preparations, don't interpret it as a possible attack against them and in return start second strike procedures. And officially announcing it comes with the disadvantage of both Ukraine getting some time to evacuate Kyiv and the world being able to voice their threats of retaliatory moves, with the US quite probably threatening with an intervention in a gamble to make Putin reconsider, a threat they then have to follow through with.

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20 minutes ago, Toth said:

After that exchange yesterday I ended up wondering just how complicated the usage of nukes against only Ukraine is anyway. I mean... not just in terms of internal procedure, but I can't imagine you can launch nukes without officially announcing it first so that the US, quite probably quickly becoming aware of the preparations, don't interpret it as a possible attack against them and in return start second strike procedures. And officially announcing it comes with the disadvantage of both Ukraine getting some time to evacuate Kyiv and the world being able to voice their threats of retaliatory moves, with the US quite probably threatening with an intervention in a gamble to make Putin reconsider, a threat they then have to follow through with.

They wouldn't use strategic nukes but tactical ones. Those are deployed by short range ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, airplanes, or artillery. You can fire nukes from a 155 mm howitzer like PzH 2000, e.g. I doubt any of that would cause. a counterstrike by the US. 

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A Duma member has said that cities captured by Russia since 24 February will not return to Ukrainian control in any deal. They will form new statelets like the DPR/LPR or be annexed to Russia outright. It should be noted that the opinion of Duma members is not necessarily what will happen, but this has the ring of truth to it. If Ukraine wants those cities and towns back, it needs to recapture them in battle.

Russia is currently politically focused on creating a "Kherson People's Republic" but a total local of local support is continuing to stymie them. Ukrainian forces continue mounting spoiling attacks on Kherson's suburbs and surrounds, but have not mounted a major offensive to take the city in full. It looks like Russia identified their lack of defence in depth around Kherson last week and have moved reinforcements to make their hold on Kherson stronger. Russia also renewed their offensive north towards Kryvyi Rih (NE of Kherson), which they abandoned a month ago, but it looks like they used wholly inadequate forces and the Ukrainians drove them back. Continued Ukrainian rocket and missile attacks from around Mykolaiv continue to degrade Russian forces in and around Kherson, but Russian artillery and missiles continue to hit Mykolaiv. It looks possible that the Russians may attempt a secondary offensive out of Crimea west towards Odesa, but so far their buildup is haphazard and the forces for such an operation have been routed towards Donbas and Mariupol instead, outside of reinforcements for defence.

Unconfirmed reports that a forward C&C centre in Kherson was destroyed by Ukrainian artillery, with up to 50 Russian officers killed and injured. No confirmation of that, but the surreal Russian insistence on putting high-value military assets in Kherson, which is in range of Ukrainian artillery, makes this at least plausible.

Lots of fighting in the Donbas. Some Ukrainian losses but the Russians have lost armoured columns, multiple tanks, tons of support trucks, artillery and multiple helicopters. Hard to get a read on the overall situation but it appears that there has been no major Russian breakthrough, though incremental gains in some areas. Lots of interest developing in the Ukrainian counter-attack around Kharkiv, which has had some success and is threatening the lines of communication towards Izium. However, the Ukrainians need to mass more forces to launch a counter-attack to sever that line.

Soviet flags and patches seem to be cropping up more and more.

Current estimates seem to be that Ukraine has ~5% more tanks than it started the war with, Russia has around ~15% less than it started the conflict with, potentially far less.

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10 minutes ago, Loge said:

They wouldn't use strategic nukes but tactical ones. Those are deployed by short range ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, airplanes, or artillery. You can fire nukes from a 155 mm howitzer like PzH 2000, e.g. I doubt any of that would cause. a counterstrike by the US

Yeah, tactical one and aimed at troops, maybe just behind Ukrainian defence lines, not against cities, i think.

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It should be noted that tactical nuclear weapons are not small. In fact, the Hiroshima and Nagasaki class of bombs would be considered tactical nuclear weapons by modern standards and are capable of destroying huge areas of cities.

The use of tactical nukes in anger would still represent a major escalation in warfare over the nuclear non-proliferation ideal that has held fast since 1945. It would trigger wildly a unpredictable international reaction, probably end the idea of non-proliferation and see countries like Saudi Arabia, South Korea and Japan (if not Taiwan, Poland and the Baltics) rushing to acquire nuclear weapons of their own. It could cause considerable blowback on Russia itself. I suspect Russia will not use tactical nuclear weapons unless in extreme circumstances, but the problem is that we don't know what Russia will declare to be "extreme circumstances." 

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Also, Ukraine has various ways to retaliate against that scenario. They could probably assemble some dirty bombs out of nuclear waste from their power plants relatively quickly. And there are two million Ukrainians living in Russia, most of whom would be furious and looking for any way to hurt their enemies. Think the wave of Chechen terrorism from early 2000s on steroids.

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21 minutes ago, Werthead said:

It should be noted that tactical nuclear weapons are not small. In fact, the Hiroshima and Nagasaki class of bombs would be considered tactical nuclear weapons by modern standards and are capable of destroying huge areas of cities.

They can be tuned down ("variable yield") to minimise collateral damage. But at full yield, a tactical nuke can destroy a city.

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13 minutes ago, Loge said:

They can be tuned down ("variable yield") to minimise collateral damage. But at full yield, a tactical nuke can destroy a city.

I heard that one does not use tactical to destroy city, it makes no sense from military pov (?) Do not ask me why, maybe because its end of the world option anyway, so if you attempt to start the Armageddon it is better to begin with a big warhead ? :dunno:

As for the re-sovietisation, just read that the function of political commissar is being (re)introduced to state's institutions, media and enterprises in Russia. As far as i know political officers are back in Russian army already.

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I am dissapointed by this converastion and near fascination about Russia using nuclear weapons just because they decide they want to. While this might seem exciting to discuss, but for me comes across as a type of boredom with the ongoing very real fighting. Russia will not use nuclear weapons, they won't. No matter how exciting that sounds to consider, it is a distraction.

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5 minutes ago, a free shadow said:

I am dissapointed by this converastion and near fascination about Russia using nuclear weapons just because they decide they want to. While this might seem exciting to discuss, but for me comes across as a type of boredom with the ongoing very real fighting. Russia will not use nuclear weapons, they won't. No matter how exciting that sounds to consider, it is a distraction.

This seems exactly the kind of thinking of people saying Putin wouldn't invade

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1 hour ago, Werthead said:

Lots of fighting in the Donbas. Some Ukrainian losses but the Russians have lost armoured columns, multiple tanks, tons of support trucks, artillery and multiple helicopters. Hard to get a read on the overall situation but it appears that there has been no major Russian breakthrough, though incremental gains in some areas. Lots of interest developing in the Ukrainian counter-attack around Kharkiv, which has had some success and is threatening the lines of communication towards Izium. However, the Ukrainians need to mass more forces to launch a counter-attack to sever that line.

Lots of fighting, but very little changes on the map.  Has the offensive started, or is this just an extensive "softening up" phase?  Because while Russian casualties have been high (and presumably Ukrainian casualties as well), there's been almost no discernable progress for Russia.  If this is the full effort, then the offensive looks to be failing.

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