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Ukraine 14 - Back to the Mud


Maithanet
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I don't see why India or China would be particularly bothered.  

In the long run mobilization is a risk, because there's just a lot more angry people and higher stakes.  But as we've always, mobilizing will help Russia win the war in 2023, but not make much, if any difference this year.  Perhaps the war lasts that long, but I'm not sure it will.  Russia could have a very, very bad summer on the battlefield and internally if they're relying on mass mobilization to save them.

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2 hours ago, Ser Scot A Ellison said:

I’m seeing more and more people claiming Russia will declare war on Ukraine on 5/9 and call for a General Mobilization:

1) Isn’t that an admission things are going very poorly in Ukraine?

2) How will the Russian people react to being lied to for two and a half months?

3) How will the Russian people react to a call for general mobilization?

4) How will China and India react to such a move if that is the road Russia walks?

Considering that Russia is a heavily sanctioned kleptocracy, I doubt a full - or even a partial - mobilization is possible without a strong risk of total collapse. 

Of particular interest to me are the vehicles - Russia is getting closer to the point where they'll have to dig up the really old tanks and personal carriers that have been mothballed for decades, apparently without significant maintenance. I have a wee bit of experience fiddling with rigs that have sat for a while - they can expect everything from rotted rubber (not just on the tires, but wiring and vacuum hoses and other parts, plus severe rust issues - meaning a lot of seized up engines.  Probably be doing dang good to get even a quarter of them on the road - and it's likely they won't run well, or for all that long.

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Putin dreams of glory, dreams of restoring the former Soviet superpower.

Yet through his reckless war the World sees a paper tiger, a oafish facade of a power.  I am more and more convinced he will fall due to his ruinous policy and incompetent leadership. This war has shown Russian leadership to be the leadership of 1000 excuses.

When the masses figure it out, Putin will not survive the fallout. This bullies earned ass kicking is far from over.

Eta:

Maybe there will yet be a new Soviet superpower, but it will emanate from Kiev, conquerer of Moscow.

Edited by DireWolfSpirit
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3 hours ago, DireWolfSpirit said:

Eta:

Maybe there will yet be a new Soviet superpower, but it will emanate from Kiev, conquerer of Moscow.

If Kyiv is the mother of all Russian cities, then they should know better than trying to pick a fight with their mother. She was pretty unassuming before but now it's clear that she has no patience for this from her kids, and she's going to give them a whooping. 

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Would be a great relief if this war came to an abrupt end because Russia simply runs out of resources and will. If so Ukraine and the world will be fortunate indeed that Russia completely mis-calculated with this invasion.

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Ukrainian intelligence has made some conclusions on the situation in Transnistria. They believe that Russia is trying to encourage Transnistrian forces to prepare for offensive action against either Odesa or Moldova, and they want to use the threat of that to encourage Moldova's new government to abandon it's pro-EU policies. However, the plan is running into problems because Transnistrian force morale is very low, and there is reluctance to fight on either front. Russia may be okay with that, simply using the threat of a second front to tie up EU and NATO bandwidth.

Lavrov continuing to make odd statements. His latest line is that America is forcing to make Ukraine make a "false" choice between Washington and Moscow, when it is possible for Ukraine to coexist with both (directly contradicting almost everything Moscow has said about the conflict for months, if not years). Lavrov has said that the daily negotiations over the draft treaty that was presented in Istanbul have resumed but progress is "very difficult."

I wonder if Lavrov knows that on 9 May the conflict will turn onto a more unpredictable path and is trying to achieve some kind of diplomatic breakthrough before then.

Quote

I’m seeing more and more people claiming Russia will declare war on Ukraine on 5/9 and call for a General Mobilization:

1) Isn’t that an admission things are going very poorly in Ukraine?

2) How will the Russian people react to being lied to for two and a half months?

3) How will the Russian people react to a call for general mobilization?

4) How will China and India react to such a move if that is the road Russia walks?

The British Defence Secretary, who I'm assuming has access to way better intelligence than any of us do, has suggested that Putin might go further and declare war on Ukraine and declare a war against "international Nazism," possibly even referencing NATO countries, or leaving that ambiguous. Directly declaring war on NATO seems unlikely, but teeing up Ukraine as the bigger of a wider campaign that will (or even just might) eventually encompass all the former Soviet satellites (including Kazakhstan, the Baltics, Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary and Poland) seems possible. That will be quite a dangerous moment, of course.

One scenario that Russia should be wary of is if it presents itself too much as an irrational actor, to the point that a recommendation lands on the President's desk saying that Russia is 100% going to use nuclear weapons, leaving the US with no choice but to use them first, which would of course still be cataclysmic (even if 90% of Russia's offensive capability was taken out first, the retaliation would still be disastrous).

As for your questions, 

1) Yes. I assume this will be framed that the poor Ukrainians who would have welcomed the Russians with open arms have been corrupted by other countries and been heavily armed more than Russia expected.

2) Everything will be blamed on others and a small number of traitors.

3) I suspect a mixture of draft-dodging turned up to the max and apathy, with people just not showing up. Things could get violent, if we see young men being dragged off the streets or out of homes (especially in the big cities) to be forcibly conscripted. There will be quite a few people who reluctantly show up. I'd be surprised if we saw a ton of full-throttled support, simply because Russia has been trying to recruit volunteers to serve in Ukraine since almost the start of the war, with a very tepid response.

4) I think they will be somewhat alarmed at the idea, because the conflict growing larger and more unpredictable is in neither country's interest. I suspect China will look at ways it can spin that to its advantage, India will continue to chart a neutral course.

More of a question is what the reaction will be from NATO. If Russia calls up a million reservists and they're being prepped for fronts other than just Ukraine, the US might feel it has no choice but to send an additional 200,000-odd troops to Europe, which again is not great for de-escalation. If Russia calls up ~300,000 or less, just for Ukraine, maybe that would not inspire such a response.

 

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Interesting thread on what's appearing at the parade flyover in Moscow and what's missing, and why (there's a subthread for aircraft).

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From Heather Cox Richards's subscription:

Quote

 

.... Today, Russia avoided defaulting on its debt by making a last-minute payment in dollars from reserves outside Russia, a move forced on it by economic sanctions. This will speed the draining of the country’s financial resources. The country has been able to continue to function and to fund its military in part because of about $800 million a day in revenue it pulls in from selling oil and gas to Europe. 

It appears this is about to change. On Wednesday, Germany dropped its opposition to a European Union ban on oil and gas imports, enabling the 27 nations in the European Union to hammer out an agreement that adopts a phased end to shipments of Russian oil and gas. E.U. ambassadors expect to sign the agreement next week. “More important than the oil embargo is the signal that Europe is united and taking back the initiative,” Mujtaba Rahman, managing director for Europe at Eurasia Group, told New York Times reporters Matina Stevis-Gridneff and Thomas Gibbons-Neff.

Meanwhile, the House passed legislation to update the March 1941 Lend-Lease Act, passed to enable the U.S. to loan or lease military supplies to any country whose defense the president believed was vital to the defense of the United States. The original law enabled the U.S. to send supplies to Britain’s defense without joining the war directly. Yesterday’s update allows the government to skip some rules and move weapons more quickly. It will increase pressure on Putin by demonstrating that the U.S. is going to continue supporting Ukraine. 

The Senate passed the measure by a voice vote, and there was overwhelming bipartisan support for it in the House, with only 10 Representatives, all Republicans, voting against it. Those ten included Representatives Andy Biggs (R-AZ), Dan Bishop (R-NC), Matt Gaetz (R-FL), Paul Gosar (R-AZ), Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), Ralph Norman (R-SC), and others who also voted against last week’s House resolution “expressing support for Moldova’s democracy, independence, and territorial integrity” in the face of Russian threats.  

Today, Ukrainian defense reporter Illia Ponomarenko tweeted: “What America is doing now in terms of sending weapons to Ukraine is a masterpiece of logistics. In all regards, starting from bureaucratic hurdles.” ....

 

https://apnews.com/article/russia-ukraine-business-europe-economy-0e1fbdeccb8ea167cda783bd2400e486

https://www.wsj.com/articles/europe-keeps-russian-oil-gas-flowing-despite-tightening-sanctions-11649255803

https://www.wsj.com/articles/germany-drops-opposition-to-russian-oil-embargo-11651155915

https://www.congress.gov/bill/117th-congress/senate-bill/3522/text

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11 hours ago, DireWolfSpirit said:

When the masses figure it out, Putin will not survive the fallout.

Why do you think there will be Russian reckoning with corruption, incompetence, criminality and sheer evil, when it hasn't happened in either the UK or the USA, no matter how constantly the authoritarians in these two countries have been exposed enacting all these traits and running the UK and the US -- not to mention democracy -- into failed state status?

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1 hour ago, Zorral said:

Why do you think there will be Russian reckoning with corruption, incompetence, criminality and sheer evil, when it hasn't happened in either the UK or the USA, no matter how constantly the authoritarians in these two countries have been exposed enacting all these traits and running the UK and the US -- not to mention democracy -- into failed state status?

Authoritarianism or creeping semi-authoritarianism is often accepted when it's presented as stability, peace and not rocking the boat. It's astonishing how many people will accept encroachments on their civil liberties and the loss of personal freedom and choice as long as they are left alone to watch TV, eat food and have a roof over their heads.

Authoritarians often - but not always - get into trouble when they start sending people to die in their tens of thousands, lie about it and endanger the lives of their citizens. In those cases the people are capable of rising up and overthrowing the dictator (often just to smile and clap in the next one, who rises on the promise not to get them all killed next time).

In western countries where freedom and accountability is on the wane and corruption and authoritarian characteristics are on the rise, it's being accepted because it's so gradual, and wears the clothes of existing structures rather than a sudden, violent coup.

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The FSB insider has released a new report. Assuming its legitimacy, it makes for deranged reading. Apparently Chechnya and the rest of the Caucasus are a powder keg, there's a number of elements in the chain of command there who believe that Russia has fucked up so badly in this war that Chechnya can now break away and Kadyrov is so worried at losing his support base he is strongly contemplating just turning on Russia and hitting it as hard as he can at the moment of maximum extension. That sounds insane - right now Kadyrov is full-throttled in his support for the government and the operation - but it's consuming huge amounts of hours in the FSB as they struggle to understand the scale of the problem. There's also an issue in that, allegedly, their superiors cannot see the scale of the problem or, if they do, they're certainly not going to report it to the top.

The good news is that the FSB's own analysis is that using nuclear weapons in Ukraine is either pointless (it won't change the battlefield unless they are willing to literally scorch and abandon the battlefield, which they are not) or dangerous, as they have zero idea of how the more-belligerent-than-expected west will respond. Hopefully that has been firmly reported further up the chain.

The bad news is that apparently all the conditions were in place for a de-escalation a couple of weeks ago and a move to more modest goals (probably just the Donbas republics and a quick exit once achieved), but that was overruled from the top and now it looks like the top of the chain wants a return to maximal goals which, with the manpower and equipment situation, will be very tricky to achieve even with mobilisation.

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1 hour ago, Werthead said:

Authoritarianism or creeping semi-authoritarianism is often accepted when it's presented as stability, peace and not rocking the boat. It's astonishing how many people will accept encroachments on their civil liberties and the loss of personal freedom and choice as long as they are left alone to watch TV, eat food and have a roof over their heads.

Authoritarians often - but not always - get into trouble when they start sending people to die in their tens of thousands, lie about it and endanger the lives of their citizens. In those cases the people are capable of rising up and overthrowing the dictator (often just to smile and clap in the next one, who rises on the promise not to get them all killed next time).

In western countries where freedom and accountability is on the wane and corruption and authoritarian characteristics are on the rise, it's being accepted because it's so gradual, and wears the clothes of existing structures rather than a sudden, violent coup.

The people on their own, can’t do much to overthrow a dictator.  It’s when the security services start to turn that the regime is in trouble (had the Imperial Guard not been largely destroyed in 1916, the Tsar would have had little difficulty putting down the rising in 1917.  The replacement guards had no loyalty to the regime).

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Huh, apparently Russia has been modelling a possible nuclear tactical strike on Ukraine and one of their big nightmares is that it's the nuclear shell/missile which gets hit by air defences. Apparently they're not entirely sure what would happen, with a nonzero chance (depending on the arming system) of the missile/shell going nuclear over Russian territory, which would not be ideal. It's rather worrying that they seem to be concerned about that, but also positive if that's making them seriously dismiss the idea.

1 minute ago, SeanF said:

The people on their own, can’t do much to overthrow a dictator.  It’s when the security services start to turn that the regime is in trouble (had the Imperial Guard not been largely destroyed in 1916, the Tsar would have had little difficulty putting down the rising in 1917.  The replacement guards had no loyalty to the regime).

Yup. A lot of Russian police have been deployed to Ukraine, leaving less behind in the cities. The FSB and the other security agencies and the military apparatus are now all somewhat annoyed at how the conflict has been handled, but in different directions (hence the hawks versus doves). It sounds like the FSB, or agents thereof, are in favour of deescalation and a pullback to pivot to political solutions to the crises. Some of the military may agree with them, but others want to escalate to all-out war, mass mobilisation etc, perhaps without a full consideration of what that means and the dangers it causes.

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43 minutes ago, Werthead said:

It sounds like the FSB, or agents thereof, are in favour of deescalation and a pullback to pivot to political solutions to the crises. Some of the military may agree with them, but others want to escalate to all-out war, mass mobilisation etc, perhaps without a full consideration of what that means and the dangers it causes.

Likely fueled by the ambitious prospects of being able to successfully court Putin's favor. 

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1 hour ago, Werthead said:

Huh, apparently Russia has been modelling a possible nuclear tactical strike on Ukraine and one of their big nightmares is that it's the nuclear shell/missile which gets hit by air defences.

What is the source?

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1 hour ago, SeanF said:

The people on their own, can’t do much to overthrow a dictator.  It’s when the security services start to turn that the regime is in trouble (had the Imperial Guard not been largely destroyed in 1916, the Tsar would have had little difficulty putting down the rising in 1917.  The replacement guards had no loyalty to the regime).

Quite.  As France's army, one and all, deserted King Louis XVIII, in favor of Napoleon. Why yes, Louis XVIII -- and his wife -- were shytes and shyte rulers too.

In a biography of Genghis Khan, I've been reading in detail the Golden Horde's conquest of Rus, then eastern Poland and Hungary.  Somehow their horrible brutality and murder comes through far more vividly in these chapters, than those given over to Central Asia and the East.  Is it because, while reading the destruction and massacre of the people of Kyiv by Genghis's son, Ögödei, I have the pictures of what the Russians are doing to Kyiv today?

The Mongols really destroyed everything in Crimea and the Ukraine, Bulgaria, and those parts of Poland and Hungary, beyond belief, even just reading what they did.  For reasons of primary historical commitment until now I've been unable to read in such detail what these armies did, when and where, and never before anything of their European campaigns.  [It's been interesting to see that everything about that aspect of the Mongolian conquest which I'd been told by others, well it's wrong. ]  It's such painful reading, with the burden of knowledge of how many times in history these places will be destroyed by invading armies, right into this very present moment.  

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18 minutes ago, Zorral said:

Quite.  As France's army, one and all, deserted King Louis XVIII, in favor of Napoleon. Why yes, Louis XVIII -- and his wife -- were shytes and shyte rulers too.

In a biography of Genghis Khan, I've been reading in detail the Golden Horde's conquest of Rus, then eastern Poland and Hungary.  Somehow their horrible brutality and murder comes through far more vividly in these chapters, than those given over to Central Asia and the East.  Is it because, while reading the destruction and massacre of the people of Kyiv by Genghis's son, Ögödei, I have the pictures of what the Russians are doing to Kyiv today?

The Mongols really destroyed everything in Crimea and the Ukraine, Bulgaria, and those parts of Poland and Hungary, beyond belief, even just reading what they did.  For reasons of primary historical commitment until now I've been unable to read in such detail what these armies did, when and where, and never before anything of their European campaigns.  [It's been interesting to see that everything about that aspect of the Mongolian conquest which I'd been told by others, well it's wrong. ]  It's such painful reading, with the burden of knowledge of how many times in history these places will be destroyed by invading armies, right into this very present moment.  

Compared to the Chinese or Iranians, they still suffered less at Mongol hands.  Between 1211 and 1241, the population of Jin (Northern China) was cut from 30m to 9m, a significant proportion of the world’s population at the time.

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