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Thread: Putin's Ukraine Cataclysm

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    Default Putin's Ukraine Cataclysm

    .
    Putin can’t control his Ukraine cataclysm — and the US must get ready

    As the Russo-Ukrainian war grinds into its sixth full month, we must reckon with strategic reality. Russia is losing ground, and its strategic position will only deteriorate in coming months; further military reversals will intensify its strategic quandary. Three possibilities exist — revolution, a palace coup, or horizontal escalation — and the United States should prepare for each.

    Russia faces a structural strategic impediment that goes beyond war-planning errors and the inefficiencies of an authoritarian kleptocracy. It simply lacks the manpower and capabilities to conquer Ukraine, or even to hold its current strategic position.

    Russia’s military planned its invasion poorly because of a series of flawed assumptions. Its high command believed Ukraine was brittle and feckless with a divided, poorly coordinated army; it assumed the West had no stomach for even a brief confrontation. Hence, only a push would be needed to topple resistance: A multi-axis invasion would overwhelm Ukraine and the West, President Volodymyr Zelensky would flee Kyiv, and — by May 9 — Putin could announce the reconstitution of the Soviet-Russian Empire, Belarus and Ukraine included.

    In the event, Ukraine fought with skill and tenacity. Russia’s greatest success came in the south, where it appears Russia compromised Ukrainian intelligence chiefs to facilitate its rapid capture of Kherson, Melitopol and Berdyansk. Russia’s invasion force, however, was too small to sustain a broad-front offensive for more than a few days. Although it captured much of Kherson and southern Zaporizhzhia oblasts, and took Mariupol following a vicious two-month siege, its momentum was spent. It withdrew from the north, abandoning its thrust towards Kyiv.

    Since then, Russia has been stuck in an increasingly insoluble bind.

    Despite prognostications on the failure of sanctions pressure, Russia’s economy is nearing implosion. Russia cannot sustain its economic interventions, and its industry is entirely starved of foreign-produced high-end equipment. Oil revenues alone are insufficient to prop up Russia and cannot procure necessary Western technology. A precipitous decline is probable between October and December — just as the purported Russian “commodity strategy” will bite the hardest, with the West placed under the greatest energy pressure.

    Putin’s options are, therefore, limited.

    Mobilization remains far too dangerous; arming tens of thousands of young Caucasian, Central Asian and Siberian Russians and shipping them through Moscow to Ukraine is a recipe for revolution. But seeking a limited peace, in which Russia retains the Donbas and Crimea regions, does not solve Crimea’s vulnerability nor save Putin’s domestic credibility. Most likely, the Kremlin will take this peace and Putin’s security services will batten down the hatches, hoping to outlast the economic downturn and maintain power.

    Continued
    https://www.google.com/amp/s/thehill...get-ready/amp/

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    Free Russia Forum

    The Free Russia Forum was established to unite Russians, both inside the country and abroad, who believe in democracy, freedom, and human rights.

    The Free Russia Forum is an independent platform for Russia’s opposition to discuss issues of Russian and international politics, as well as to develop solutions for bringing Russia out of its current political, economic and civilizational crisis.

    The key focus of the Forum is the formation of an intellectual alternative to Putin’s regime, which would create the framework for building a new Europe-oriented Russia

    www.forumfreerussia.org

    Why Are We Talking About “Good Russians”?

    One of the biggest debates on how to stay Russian, especially “a good Russian”, and on what it means, took place after the announcement of a project of online verification of Russian citizens to protect their rights in the countries they emigrated to during the II Anti-War Conference by the Free Russia Forum. An idea war proposed that you deserve a decent general and bureaucratic attitude if you’re officially and openly against Putin’s regime and the war in Ukraine. It’s assumed that in the context of controversial feelings that exist towards all things Russian due to the aggression against humanistic European values unprecedented for the post-World War II period, this measure should help both the emigrants’ integration into democratic societies and their potential mobilization as part of the anti-Putin front of the Russian diaspora.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cypress View Post
    .
    Putin can’t control his Ukraine cataclysm — and the US must get ready

    As the Russo-Ukrainian war grinds into its sixth full month, we must reckon with strategic reality. Russia is losing ground, and its strategic position will only deteriorate in coming months; further military reversals will intensify its strategic quandary. Three possibilities exist — revolution, a palace coup, or horizontal escalation — and the United States should prepare for each. .

    Continued
    https://www.google.com/amp/s/thehill...get-ready/amp/
    I just don't see any of the three.
    Revolution? There's widespread support for the war in Russia.
    Palace coup? Don't see that either for the same reason. Virtually everyone in a higher up government position is pro war... if not, off to the gulag.
    Horizontal escalation? The entire article gives reasons why Russian can't sustain that.
    I'm more concerned about a vertical escalation. I'd prepare for Putin getting desperate and using tactical nuclear weapons.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cypress View Post
    .
    Putin can’t control his Ukraine cataclysm — and the US must get ready

    As the Russo-Ukrainian war grinds into its sixth full month, we must reckon with strategic reality. Russia is losing ground, and its strategic position will only deteriorate in coming months; further military reversals will intensify its strategic quandary. Three possibilities exist — revolution, a palace coup, or horizontal escalation — and the United States should prepare for each.

    Russia faces a structural strategic impediment that goes beyond war-planning errors and the inefficiencies of an authoritarian kleptocracy. It simply lacks the manpower and capabilities to conquer Ukraine, or even to hold its current strategic position.

    Russia’s military planned its invasion poorly because of a series of flawed assumptions. Its high command believed Ukraine was brittle and feckless with a divided, poorly coordinated army; it assumed the West had no stomach for even a brief confrontation. Hence, only a push would be needed to topple resistance: A multi-axis invasion would overwhelm Ukraine and the West, President Volodymyr Zelensky would flee Kyiv, and — by May 9 — Putin could announce the reconstitution of the Soviet-Russian Empire, Belarus and Ukraine included.

    In the event, Ukraine fought with skill and tenacity. Russia’s greatest success came in the south, where it appears Russia compromised Ukrainian intelligence chiefs to facilitate its rapid capture of Kherson, Melitopol and Berdyansk. Russia’s invasion force, however, was too small to sustain a broad-front offensive for more than a few days. Although it captured much of Kherson and southern Zaporizhzhia oblasts, and took Mariupol following a vicious two-month siege, its momentum was spent. It withdrew from the north, abandoning its thrust towards Kyiv.

    Since then, Russia has been stuck in an increasingly insoluble bind.

    Despite prognostications on the failure of sanctions pressure, Russia’s economy is nearing implosion. Russia cannot sustain its economic interventions, and its industry is entirely starved of foreign-produced high-end equipment. Oil revenues alone are insufficient to prop up Russia and cannot procure necessary Western technology. A precipitous decline is probable between October and December — just as the purported Russian “commodity strategy” will bite the hardest, with the West placed under the greatest energy pressure.

    Putin’s options are, therefore, limited.

    Mobilization remains far too dangerous; arming tens of thousands of young Caucasian, Central Asian and Siberian Russians and shipping them through Moscow to Ukraine is a recipe for revolution. But seeking a limited peace, in which Russia retains the Donbas and Crimea regions, does not solve Crimea’s vulnerability nor save Putin’s domestic credibility. Most likely, the Kremlin will take this peace and Putin’s security services will batten down the hatches, hoping to outlast the economic downturn and maintain power.

    Continued
    https://www.google.com/amp/s/thehill...get-ready/amp/
    Fascinating article. Would be good to know if the writer is as well informed as he is confident in his opinions. As he writes, and if he's correct about Russian military capacity, a leadership dilemma is coming for Putin.
    "Give pearls away and rubies but keep your fancy free."

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    Quote Originally Posted by martin View Post
    Fascinating article. Would be good to know if the writer is as well informed as he is confident in his opinions. As he writes, and if he's correct about Russian military capacity, a leadership dilemma is coming for Putin.
    He is chief of a foreign policy think tank, and a former undersecretary of the Navy, but I hadn't heard of him before.

    But I thought his article was penetrating and chock full of deep and unique insights you don't typically see in American punditry.

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    Quote Originally Posted by anonymoose View Post
    I just don't see any of the three.
    Revolution? There's widespread support for the war in Russia.
    Palace coup? Don't see that either for the same reason. Virtually everyone in a higher up government position is pro war... if not, off to the gulag.
    Horizontal escalation? The entire article gives reasons why Russian can't sustain that.
    I'm more concerned about a vertical escalation. I'd prepare for Putin getting desperate and using tactical nuclear weapons.
    The Bolshevik coup in October 1917 had almost no popular support either.

    But I agree that a palace coup or a full blown revolution are long shots

    Putin doesn't have any good options as the article points out.

    The question is, is the military leadership going to ask at the end of the day if it was worth destroying the Russian army and undoing three decades of economic progress for some minor territorial concessions in Eastern Ukraine.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cypress View Post

    The question is, is the military leadership going to ask at the end of the day if it was worth destroying the Russian army and undoing three decades of economic progress for some minor territorial concessions in Eastern Ukraine.
    No doubt that is already on the minds of many in all kinds of leadership in Russia.
    But Putin calls the shots and I just don't see him backing down.
    Agreed he's painted himself into a smaller corner with fewer options. Only time will tell what happens.
    Also military leadership , from what I've seen up close as a former civilian contractor, is pretty much brain dead and almost always pro war in spite of everything.
    Alexander Haig was a perfect example.
    I'm sure it's no different if not worse in Russian.

    Personally I'd like to see Ukraine just cede the Donbas and Crimea and hopefully Russia would accept that and declare victory. But I kinda doubt they'd give up the south. The war continues.
    Last edited by anonymoose; 08-05-2022 at 01:56 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by anonymoose View Post
    No doubt that is already on the minds of many in all kinds of leadership in Russia.
    But Putin calls the shots and I just don't see him backing down.
    Agreed he's painted himself into a smaller corner with fewer options. Only time will tell what happens.
    Also military leadership , from what I've seen up close as a former civilian contractor, is pretty much brain dead and almost always pro war in spite of everything.
    Alexander Haig was a perfect example.
    I'm sure it's no different if not worse in Russian.
    Yeltsin came out of practically nowhere to engineer a coup against Gorbachev.

    But Putin has had 20 years to consolidate power, kill or imprison the democratic opposition, and shut down the free press.

    So nothing will happen to him anytime soon.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cypress View Post
    Yeltsin came out of practically nowhere to engineer a coup against Gorbachev.
    Yes, different scenario. Gorby was severely weakened with the collapse of the Soviet Union. Heck he had to go into exile to Switzerland. (Wish I could do the same.)

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    Quote Originally Posted by anonymoose View Post
    Yes, different scenario. Gorby was severely weakened with the collapse of the Soviet Union. Heck he had to go into exile to Switzerland. (Wish I could do the same.)
    It probably takes a perfect storm of events to trigger a seismic political event. Hundreds of thousands of Russians came out into the streets to defend democracy in 1991, or to challenge autocracy in 1905. But those were a culmination of a series of events that constituted a perfect storm.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cypress View Post
    Free Russia Forum

    The Free Russia Forum was established to unite Russians, both inside the country and abroad, who believe in democracy, freedom, and human rights.

    The Free Russia Forum is an independent platform for Russia’s opposition to discuss issues of Russian and international politics, as well as to develop solutions for bringing Russia out of its current political, economic and civilizational crisis.

    The key focus of the Forum is the formation of an intellectual alternative to Putin’s regime, which would create the framework for building a new Europe-oriented Russia

    www.forumfreerussia.org
    Talked to my friend Oksana, who is from Ukraine, yesterday. Her mom/sister/brother are still staying in Kiev and doing as well as can be expected. She was telling me about her aunt who lives in Moscow. She is not well off and Oksana has been sending her money for years to help her get by. The aunt totally believes all the Putin propaganda -- Ukraine is overrun by Nazis. Ukraine belongs as part of Russia. The photos (some of which Oksana has sent her) of bombed-out Ukrainian schools, markets, apartment buildings are "fake news." Ukrainian soldiers are committing war crimes against the Russians, etc. Oksana said that there are some "free" media that Russians can access, based in places like Lithuania. But the Russian govt. is cracking down hard on dissent. She said even putting a smiley-face emoji on an anti-Russian-invasion social media comment can get you fined, even imprisoned. She likened it to the Trumptards who believe the lies that the 2020 American election was fraudulent and Trump really won. Like them, the citizens are willing to believe even insane shit because it is safer that way.
    "Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery that mediocrity can pay to greatness.” -- Oscar Wilde

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    Quote Originally Posted by anonymoose View Post
    I just don't see any of the three.
    Revolution? There's widespread support for the war in Russia.
    Palace coup? Don't see that either for the same reason. Virtually everyone in a higher up government position is pro war... if not, off to the gulag.
    Horizontal escalation? The entire article gives reasons why Russian can't sustain that.
    I'm more concerned about a vertical escalation. I'd prepare for Putin getting desperate and using tactical nuclear weapons.
    I agree. While I'm rooting for Ukraine I'm afraid this will be a very long war and the West may simply lose interest and not supply Ukraine with enough of the right weapons to fully push Russia out of Ukraine. I'm afraid we will be stuck with Putin until he dies.
    IMPEACH 46

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    Quote Originally Posted by ThatOwlWoman View Post
    Talked to my friend Oksana, who is from Ukraine, yesterday. Her mom/sister/brother are still staying in Kiev and doing as well as can be expected. She was telling me about her aunt who lives in Moscow. She is not well off and Oksana has been sending her money for years to help her get by. The aunt totally believes all the Putin propaganda -- Ukraine is overrun by Nazis. Ukraine belongs as part of Russia. The photos (some of which Oksana has sent her) of bombed-out Ukrainian schools, markets, apartment buildings are "fake news." Ukrainian soldiers are committing war crimes against the Russians, etc. Oksana said that there are some "free" media that Russians can access, based in places like Lithuania. But the Russian govt. is cracking down hard on dissent. She said even putting a smiley-face emoji on an anti-Russian-invasion social media comment can get you fined, even imprisoned. She likened it to the Trumptards who believe the lies that the 2020 American election was fraudulent and Trump really won. Like them, the citizens are willing to believe even insane shit because it is safer that way.
    it's turning family against family.

    It's scary. 20 to 25 years ago, Russia had a functioning free press.

    Now the independent media is driven out of the country, the political opposition is either in prison or on the run.

    I know two Russians who were anti-war who had to flee, one to Germany and one to Israel.

    And these tend to be the younger, educated class.

    I don't think anyone has the nerve to tell Putin how this brain drain is really going to harm Russia.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cypress View Post
    Yeltsin came out of practically nowhere to engineer a coup against Gorbachev.

    But Putin has had 20 years to consolidate power, kill or imprison the democratic opposition, and shut down the free press.

    So nothing will happen to him anytime soon.
    Putin being killed is more likely than being pushed from power.
    IMPEACH 46

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cypress View Post
    it's turning family against family.

    It's scary. 20 to 25 years ago, Russia had a functioning free press.

    Now the independent media is driven out of the country, the political opposition is either in prison or on the run.

    I know two Russians who were anti-war who had to flee, one to Germany and one to Israel.

    And these tend to be the younger, educated class.

    I don't think anyone has the nerve to tell Putin how this brain drain is really going to harm Russia.
    It really is. Those with means will escape. I almost expect to see the resurrection of the Iron Curtain again, with citizens being forbidden to leave the country for any reason. All that will be left will be the poor and the elderly and the unskilled/uneducated, like Oksana's aunt.
    "Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery that mediocrity can pay to greatness.” -- Oscar Wilde

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