Spiders in Glass Jar: Ze Desperately Buys Time as Enemies Plot
A clearer picture of the outlook for the next term of the war is starting to resolve before us. We’ve long reported rumors that the issue of offense vs. defense had become a breaking point between Zelensky and Zaluzhny, and now Zelensky has finally bitten the bullet and announced a full change of posture to a defensive one, with the mandate to begin building vast fortifications and defenses all throughout Ukraine:
This comes at a critical time where each side seeks to out-maneuver the other in the great game of the Ukrainian throne. There are many side developments in relation to this, so let’s untangle the deep web.
Right now in the Ukrainian establishment, things are fracturing into two sides, as Zelensky backers get behind their breadwinner while the military class files behind Zaluzhny.
Yermak is said to be implementing a shadowy campaign to slowly discredit and depose Zaluzhny. That’s because Zelensky has decided it is, for now, too impractical and dangerous to get rid of Zaluzhny outright as the general has fortified himself with a shield of strong backers. Particularly, there have been announcements from military unions that they will “take up arms” if Zaluzhny is removed.
"Our source in the OP said that the SBU sent an urgent report to Bankova about the reaction of units at the front and in the body to Bezuglaya’s statement about Zaluzhny’s resignation. The military is ready to oppose the authorities if he tries to dismiss the Commander-in-Chief, the Armed Forces of Ukraine are completely on the side of Zaluzhny in the conflict with Zelensky."
Our source in the OP said that the President's Office is not happy with the situation with Zaluzhny, who is supported by internal actors: oligarchs/patriots/soros / opposition. In this case, the interests of foreign policy players who protect the Commander-in-Chief and do not allow him to be dismissed for a year have converged. In fact, the situation completely repeats the track of 2019, when a broad coalition formed against Poroshenko, which Zelensky took advantage of.
So instead, Yermak is overseeing a slow campaign to discredit their primary competitor. But it’s not going well—at least yet—because latest opinion polls of public sentiment have found Zaluzhny is now vastly outperforming Zelensky:
Trust ratings for Zaluzhny surpass those of Zelensky.
The Ukrainian channel "ZeRada" obtained confidential data from a November social study, conducted in Ukraine by order of the American USAID: When this data was seen in the Office of the President, panic began there.
One of the painful findings for the OP is that Zaluzhny's trust level is already higher than Zelensky's! The level of trust in Za is 82% and in Ze 72%! Moreover, Arestovich ranks third in terms of confidence.
When sociologists model the second round of the presidential elections, Zaluzhny wins the election over Zelensky with a result of 44%: 38%! At the same time, 8% had difficulty answering (and let's remember what that means).
Zaluzhny's conditional party also wins in the parliamentary elections: 31.5% of those who have decided are "for". The Zelensky conditional bloc will take 21.7%, and the Servant of the People 5.4% (this is also a sensation)!
That is why Bankova decided to launch a massive media attack against both Zaluzhny and the leadership of the Ukrainian Armed Forces as a whole. And the little box just opened
That means were the elections to be held now, Zaluzhny would likely win. So yesterday Zelensky finally had the Verkhovna Rada officially sign off on a law prohibiting presidential elections for a term lasting until six months after the cessation of martial law, which would only likely come after the end of the war itself. Thus Zelensky has now fortified himself legally and has sent a major message of resistance to Washington, that he won’t be rolled over that easily.
This means that Zelensky will now begin presenting a major problem to his Western controllers, as he’s quickly becoming unhealthily intransigent and defiant.
But to get back—Yermak has reportedly been using one of his key underlings, Rada deputy Mariana Bezuglaya to discredit Zaluzhny. She’s done this by repeatedly posting defamatory content about the general, even calling for him to resign due to “not having a military plan for 2024”:
One of the theories is that this is a ploy to try and get Zaluzhny to openly engage with her in a back and forth which will “drag him in the muck,” and give raison d’etre for the Rada to openly discuss his case and potentially publicly censure him.
Instead Zaluzhny has played it smart by ‘insulating’ himself entirely from the political class. In fact, there still appears to be no contact between him and Zelensky. Zelensky just published a new video of himself visiting the Zaporozhye HQ from whence he later declared his new ‘defensive’ reorientation, and Zaluzhny was conspicuously missing amongst the wide array of general staff present (Umerov, Tarnovsky, Sirsky, etc.).
As a side note, check Zelensky’s face during the meeting:
Zaluzhny’s absence was pointed out by “Yermak agent” Bezuglaya:
She made a comment on facebook agreeing with someone pointing out that Zaluzhny was missing from this Stavka meeting, and Zaluzhny himself subsequently “reacted” to her comment with a smiley face, which can be seen below. Yes, this is what things have devolved into—high school social media intrigues! That’s Ukraine, folks.
But the point is, Zaluzhny is apparently being ‘goaded’ into the open. Now we have the following rumor:
Bankovaya went further in the backroom war against Commander-in-Chief Zaluzhny and forbade all heads of military administrations (governors) to communicate with him, or mention his name, etc., just so as not to pump up his popularity in society.
The goal is simple: cross him out altogether, since" hero one " is Zelensky, the rest are just pawns in the game.
But when the question comes to responsibility, the Bankova System, on the contrary, pushes the blame on everyone except itself and Ze. Here is such a clumsy manipulation.
If that wasn’t bad enough, Poroshenko was caught on a leaked call speaking with the Ukrainian oligarch, Rinat Akhmetov, where he appeared to desperately call for immediate “action” to be taken. Here’s a rough auto-translation:
The below clarifies some of the inconsistencies of the AI translation above:
Panic among Ukrainian oligarchs.
“The President of Ukraine Vladimir Zelensky and his team must be overthrown immediately, otherwise the Banderaites will lose the war against Russia, and the moneybags protecting them will lose everything they have acquired through dishonest labor.”
Ex-President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko spoke about this in a telephone conversation with oligarch Rinat Akhmetov.
A recording of their conversation was published in the Ukrainian segment of social networks. It is interesting that the current Rada deputy and former President of Ukraine, who became famous in the field of fighting everything Russian, conducts business conversations in Russian.
Poroshenko: “Rinat Leonidovich, these are difficult times, and the time has come to change the situation. I had a conversation with our friends, with our older brothers, so to speak. Shtepsel and Tarapunka, with the letter “E”, are preparing to go to Washington to negotiate. But in principle, nothing will work out for them, because they are tired of them, just like they are tired of this whole situation. And they very directly hinted to me that it was necessary...”
Akhmetov (interrupts): “Alekseevich, I understand that they are hinting to you, but without a guarantee I don’t even want to discuss anything. I understand what you’re getting at, Ermak and the others are tired of everyone.”
Akhmetov began to complain that the air defense systems transferred by the West were unable to protect his facilities, and therefore the oligarch was suffering huge losses, but Poroshenko promised full support from the West - any support except financial.
Poroshenko: “Our friends fully support us... There will be help, I promise you. We need to resolve an important issue. Our friends hinted that they themselves have a lot of problems, and we need to support them with our own efforts to invest. Rinat, if we don’t resolve this situation, then nothing will save your networks or our business. The Russians [referring to Zelensky’s government] will not negotiate with them.”
But Akhmetov rudely replied that he was not going to negotiate anything with the Russians, and the guarantees and promises of the West could not be trusted at all - they deceived everyone who came into contact with them.
Poroshenko: “Rinat, I understand. But either we are doing something now and we have a chance to come to an agreement, stop it and save it. Or we will have nothing left."
He emphasized that Valery Zaluzhny and the military are “with them” and are just waiting for a decision, as well as the financial support that they will have to provide to the Ukrainian oligarchs.
Poroshenko: “Our friends said that they had already invested a lot, they covered us too much, negotiated for us with the Russians. Now we need to take everything into our own hands, decisions. We will agree, but we need to act, there is no time.”
Akhmetov said he would think about it and asked for a personal meeting.
So, if this call is not ‘fake’, it represents a gradual maneuvering of Poroshenko, potentially allied with Zaluzhny and other “American backers” to oust Zelensky. Ironically, this is an almost inverse repeat of what happened in 2019 when it was actually Zelensky maneuvering to oust the increasingly unpopular Poroshenko with his own breed of backers.
Some have taken it further, with popular channel ZeRada claiming that the structure for the new post-Zelensky ouster is already being decided:
🧩🇺🇦🧩 American transfer: Zaluzhny, Stefanchuk, Razumkov‼️
It's important for the White House to end the conflict in Ukraine as quickly as possible because:
✅ they realize that there will be no better opportunity than now, any delay will lead to aggravation of Ukraine's situation, and they need it strong - to put pressure on Moscow in the future;
✅ it is important for them to keep as many Ukrainian assets as possible, which will make it easier to service debts to BlackRock, which according to the plan should consolidate Ukraine's liabilities. The more factories and businesses that remain in operation, the easier it will be for external players to support Ukraine.
Therefore, the transfer of power from Ze, who does not intend neither to surrender power nor to sign peace should be sharp to offset the risks of losing additional territories.
We have already written that Zaluzhny will fulfill the role of power guarantor, but the key body will be the Rada. That's why Stratfor is meeting with Stefanchuk, a lot will depend on the speaker. In fact, many "servants" are oriented on him, who will need to be convinced of the right position at the "moment C".
At the same time Poroshenko wants to become speaker and acting President, but the Embassy considers this option too risky. Petro Poroshenko has a very high anti-rating, which may have a bad effect on the mood of both military and civilian.
If Stefanchuk suddenly refuses to move towards peace, they are preparing a replacement for him. The only candidate in the Rada with a low anti-Razumkov rating among the people can be considered to be Dmytro Razumkov.
It is the pair Razumkov (acting president) - Zaluzhny (commander-in-chief) that the Americans consider the most optimal for transfer.
An important factor is that Dmitry headed the list of "Servants" in 2019, so he has influence in the faction and really enjoys respect among deputies.
To make the structure stable, Klitschko (local councils) will join the tandem, as well as support from Poroshenko (agreed) and Tymoshenko (she is not going anywhere).
At the first stage, a government of people's unity will be formed from the majority of factions, which should consolidate society for a while.
So far so good.
So, according to this, the Americans are leaning toward Razumkov as acting president with Zaluzhny as perhaps true power behind the throne. Poroshenko is desperately trying to maneuver himself into the presidency or at least Speaker, but apparently he’s considered too high of a risk due to potential unpopularity.
Interestingly, Poroshenko had an important series of meetings in Washington on December 4th where he was likely hoping to ‘iron out’ some of the above movements:
And lo and behold, Zelensky issued a secret decree to stop Poroshenko—once again—from leaving the country. Despite having a Rada-sanctioned order allowing him to pass the checkpoint, Poroshenko was stopped and barred from leaving into Poland by motor vehicle:
It’s said that it was specifically a secret order straight from Zelensky.
Poroshenko’s trip to the USA was canceled on the basis of a “classified secret” letter, - Vice Speaker of the Verkhovna Rada Kornienko
“ According to our internal principles, participation in party events is allowed, but when a letter arrived for official use, which I cannot comment on , we were forced to cancel this business trip,” he said.
Now, to add to this sizzling drama, Seymour Hersh has come out with the claim—as always, originating from his “sources”—that Zaluzhny may in fact be secretly negotiating with Russia behind the scenes, with a direct Gerasimov-Zaluzhny line:
Secret negotiations? American journalist Seymour Hersh claims, citing anonymous US officials, that Russia and Ukraine are allegedly conducting secret peace negotiations along the Gerasimov-Zaluzhny line, despite the objections of Zelensky and the White House.
In an article on the Substack platform, Hersh wrote that the issue of possible fixation of borders along the current front line with the retention of Crimea and the liberated territories of the DPR, LPR, Kherson and Zaporozhye regions for the Russian Federation is allegedly being discussed; in exchange, an option is being considered in which Kiev could join NATO, but with a commitment that the alliance will not station troops or offensive weapons there.
“The American official said that Zelensky was made to understand that it was not him, but “the military that would solve this problem, and negotiations would continue with or without you.” “If necessary, we will pay for your trip to the Caribbean,” the American official told me,” wrote Hersh.
Firstly, many have understandably rolled their eyes at the claim that Russia is ready to give Ukraine the NATO allowance, or is content to simply walk away with Crimea and Donbass. But keep in mind, since this was relayed to Hersh through an alleged “American official,” it likely represents just the American side’s offers, not what the Russian side is necessarily actually willing to accept—but who knows.
Either way, I’ve already written previously about how Zaluzhny may be used as the sort of ‘Russian asset’ to bring peace, because he doesn’t want his troops being needlessly killed. He can be lured with the promise of resuming the conflict later, after much NATO rearming.
In fact, I read a new report which seems completely believable given the somewhat ‘strange’ and inconsistent tactics of the grand counteroffensive, that essentially Zaluzhny in some ways ‘threw’ the offensive. Not deliberately sabotaged it per se—but rather that Zelensky really wanted an “all in” approach, maximum meat sacrificed, while Zaluzhny played it extremely safe after the disastrous opening, where the 47th and other brigades were mauled, with the famous Leopard/Bradley orgies of destruction. If you’ve noticed, since that point, the offensive devolved into a very cagey company-at-a-time approach that seemed more like an endless probative action rather than full on multi-brigade combined arms maneuvers into one direction. According to this opinion, this was a deliberate attempt of Zaluzhny’s to countervail the ‘orders of sacrifice’ and save as many men as possible.
Zaluzhny has been known to be the one calling for defensive fortifications and a retreat from various blood-baths like Bakhmut and Avdeevka, while Zelensky has always pushed forward to not give an inch, same as currently happening in Avdeevka. So it seems Zaluzhny has always been the one most amenable to whatever will save the men’s lives.
Now onto the second thing regarding Hersh’s claims. The confidante made some tongue-in-cheek mention of Zelensky’s ‘trip to the Caribbean’ being prepared. Ironically, a new such report actually did hit the streets, which claims that a secret operation is already underway to prepare Zelensky’s relocation to the U.S.
A US Secret Service agent who wished to remain anonymous has revealed to DCWeekly details about the arrangements being made for Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s relocation to the United States. The agent claims that the Biden administration has issued orders to ensure the safety and accommodation of President Zelensky’s family starting in the spring of 2024. This decision is based on the belief that Zelensky’s presidency in Ukraine may conclude next year, and remaining in Ukraine thereafter could pose security risks.
The audio message published from Youtube:
Granted, much of this is highly speculative and uncorroborated, however it clearly falls within the realm of reason. Also, many of the ‘rumors’ I’ve sourced thus far, come from channels which have recently been vindicated and validated. For instance, Resident/Legitimate channel were first to report weeks ago—which I relayed in my own reports—that Zaluzhny was pushing to build defensive fortifications, and a defensive reorientation in general; now Zelensky himself has officially acquiesced.
Anyway, some of this is further supported by the new statements from Zelensky’s wife, who says she doesn’t want him to run for any re-election:
So, is Zelensky being given an “easy out” corridor in order to soften him up for removal?
Let me add that there has been an increasing volume of voices from the Russian side pointing to the complete disavowal of any potential ceasefires. All the usuals like Medvedev and co. have been barking but there’s been a few interesting new additions. For instance, Russian deputy foreign minister Ryabkov said there’ll be no ceasefire in all of 2024:
Furthermore, Kherson governor Vladimir Saldo said he spoke with Putin directly who reassured him that all of Kherson would be retaken, and appeared to imply that Odessa and Nikolayev would as well.
Meanwhile, Putin’s assistant Surkov wrote a brief epistle with the following:
“Twilight on the Farm”: Vladislav Surkov, assistant to the President of Russia, wrote a column about how and why Ukraine will end.
“Belief in magic is part of Ukrainian political culture. Now Ukrainians are once again beginning to become disillusioned with their sorcerers. Twilight. Eve of darkness. There won't be a miracle. Many on Bankova secretly dream of Minsk-3. In vain. And there will be no Minsk-3.
Russia is no longer a mediator, patiently sorting out neighborly squabbles. Russia is now an impatient participant in the great struggle, which will take its toll. Understand, pagans. Next year will be a year of degradation and disorganization of the Ukrainian fake “state.”
Finally, there is one last very significant perspective that I’ve actually forgotten to add to this episode’s entire outlook in most of my reporting on it thus far. Many will recall that Soros recently visited Kiev, with Yermak posting photos of the warm reception he bestowed on the new head of the Soros empire.
This leads to one of the most important aspects: which is that Zelensky and co. are fully entwined with the Soros/BlackRock/criminal globalist cartel, and have been busy making secret deals to sell off Ukraine’s most vital national ‘organs’ in exchange for various financial promises. Recall in the earlier ZeRada report, it said:
✅ it is important for them to keep as many Ukrainian assets as possible, which will make it easier to service debts to BlackRock, which according to the plan should consolidate Ukraine's liabilities. The more factories and businesses that remain in operation, the easier it will be for external players to support Ukraine.
But now a new eye-opening report has shed light on what some of those secret deals were about:
A high-ranking Ukrainian official disclosed a secret agreement between Soros Foundation and the administration of the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky. Information by a French journalist indicates that Soros Foundation has served as an intermediary between Zelensky’s office and Western chemical companies Vitol, Dow, and Dupont, which concluded a deal to dispose toxic waste on the territory of Ukraine. For an unknown reason, fertile lands of Western Ukraine were chosen as chemical waste landfills. This can have a critical impact on the quality of the local grain and cause famine in Europe, Africa, and Middle East.
Those interested can read the full lowdown in the report here.
Whether it’s true or not, the fact remains that we know from earlier confirmed findings that many of these conglomerates have been slowly moving into Ukraine, particularly for the farmland, in recent years.
This puts a potential ceasefire in a whole different perspective. Recall in a recent report that I wrote about how the reason U.S. cannot allow Russia to continue fighting is because it risks losing all of Ukraine in a total, decisive Russian victory over the embattled country.
This adds even more weight to this, as BlackRock, Dupont, Soros, and co., cannot allow their vast investment projects in Ukraine to completely fall into Russia’s hands. That means for these megacorp powerhouses, a ceasefire that preserves their holdings is of paramount importance. If Washington and the CIA won’t do the dirty work of ridding Ukraine of whomever may be holding up that process, then certainly these nefarious and shadowy organizations will gladly oblige.
Recall in the earlier Poroshenko leak, the oligarch Akhmetov groused about everything they own being wiped out by this war. Like I said, this adds a whole other dimension to developments, as I highly doubt these all-powerful consortiums will allow Ukraine to fall into the enemy’s hands, losing billions in investments and the control of such a critical piece of the ‘world’s breadbasket’ and unregulated dumping ground.
So where does that leave things?
Zelensky needs to get rid of rising competitor Zaluzhny, but has decided it’s too risky to do it now, instead resolving on a long-term campaign to slowly discredit him so that once a few more ‘losses’ accumulate—like Avdeevka—they can be blamed on Zaluzhny to throw him under the bus.
In the meantime, Zelensky has switched to full conservation mode to preserve his forces, going onto the defensive to buy himself time. He has defiantly signaled to the West—thus far at least—that he won’t roll over, actualizing a Rada vote to fully legitimize the total annulment of elections. This is a form of brinksmanship, where Zelensky is challenging the West in order to basically say: “See, I won’t give this up. We have to take this to the end. So either fully fund me and get this show back on the road, or I will run this train off the tracks to such an extent that it will destroy you as well.”
Recall that losing this war in a ‘decisive’ manner would be disastrous for Washington and the sitting administration. So Zelensky is calling Washington’s bluff to force them to re-engage. This is supported by the fact that in the interim, Zelensky has been hard at work trying to reach out to the Republican party in order to dissolve the blockade on his cash flow. You see, Zelensky still believes there’s a good chance to get that massive windfall awaiting him—and he may be right. That’s why going on defense is a smart move to buy him time, as he can work on getting that money unlocked, which could be big enough ($60B+) to fund major military operations through the ensuing year.
At the same time, he’s gotten cagey and highly paranoid. Rumors claim that even on his recent trips abroad, he refused to eat any food given to him without testing it for various toxins and chemicals as he appears aware he’s on the chopping block.
In the meantime, while he works on unlocking the money, and while his new defensive posture slows the Russians down as much as possible, one last major component is designed to buy them time: the mobilization factor.
While Zelensky has again put off any overtly draconian measures, like mobilizing all 17-80, the new mobilization criteria appear to revolve around opening up the ease and flexibility with which people can be called up. It’s a sort of entrepreneurial la carte venture where private companies will join in with the effort by advertising and operating basically akin to job placement services.
💥‼️💥Ukraine set to change rules on conscription in the Ukrainian Armed Forces to attract those hiding from mobilisation for fear of going to the front -⚡️ The Guardian⚡️
"The changes, expected to be announced this week, will include the use of commercial recruitment companies to carry out more targeted conscription and reassure recruits that they will be deployed in roles that match their skills rather than simply sent to the front," the British publication writes.
In the article did not forget to mark and the Secretary of the National Security and Defence Council of Ukraine Danilov. According to "Ball", some people are "afraid to die, afraid to shoot." Unexpected! But then he says that these people can be involved in "other activities".
Danilov decided to "reassure" Ukrainian conscripts and said the AFU will work with two of Ukraine's largest recruiting companies to "find highly qualified people who don't want to go to the front and avoid conscription."
Furthermore, reports claim that smaller units like companies, battalions, etc., will be granted more freedom to simply hire men ad hoc to their unit, rather than getting new conscripts assigned to them via a more centralized command.
Military expert Alexander Zimovsky:
“The situation with the lack of reinforcements has acquired such proportions for the Ukrainian Armed Forces that the Ukrainian military department is entering into direct contracts with recruiting offices.
Now all commanders of formations, units and subunits of the Armed Forces of Ukraine up to and including the company commander can independently place advertisements for the search for trench labor.
And everything became simple - having lost half of the company, the company commander does not beg the soldiers from the battalion commander, but places an ad in the newspaper, something like this: required machine gunners 30 people, mechanical drivers 6 people, machine gunners 3 people, grenade launchers 7 people, and so on. The Ukrainian ingenuity and organization famous in the West is visible in everything.
One of the major issues is that incoming reports from several districts continue corroborating that previous mobilization numbers have been absolutely disastrous. Firstly the head commissar of Sumy region reported that in the last 3 months they only achieved 8% of their mobilization quota:
Then if that wasn’t bad enough, Bloomberg wrote about how Poltava region too reported a measly 10% quota fill for the same period:
Kyiv will not publish data on the effectiveness of conscription into the Armed Forces of Ukraine in 2023, Bloomberg writes in an article about the failure of mobilization.
The agency notes that, for example, in Poltava alone the conscription campaign by the end of the year was implemented only 10% of the plan. At the same time, the military at the front is concerned about the very meager replenishment of the ranks of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
Zelensky has not yet approved the order to lower the minimum conscription age from 27 to 25 years old out of fears that society would then demand “peace at any cost,” the article says.
There’s also some word from Odessa region, which likewise eked out a paltry 10-15%:
💥💥💥The Odessa Region administration has been tasked to urgently step up mobilisation measures to make up for the losses suffered by the AFU during the so-called "counter-offensive" and "meat" assaults near Rabotino and in the Kherson direction.
Thus, the leadership of the territorial centre for manning and social support (as military commissions are now called) in Odessa region received instructions to call up 11,500 people for military service by December 20. As of 1 November, less than two thousand people had been drafted.
That gives us a rough baseline of several major regions reporting similar numbers, which can be extrapolated to the entire AFU’s experience.
And so it comes as no surprise, that another startling report claims that in the recent month of October, Ukraine experienced its first ever true personnel deficit in terms of the casualties/losses no longer able to be replenished by mobilization:
Our source reports that October 2023 was the first "globally negative / deficit" month in the case of mobilization for the Armed Forces of Ukraine during these more than 600 days of war.
In October, they were called up much less than the losses of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. According to the source, the shortage is more than 43% (for example, the losses were 10 thousand killed/wounded/written off/commissioned, and only 5,700 people were called up).
If in the summer another +- mobilization could cover the losses, then in October there was a severe "shortage" that could not cover the losses of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
The trend is bad, as November will also be scarce in the case of mobilization, but the losses of the Armed Forces of Ukraine are growing, due to savings in BC and heavy equipment.
We learned about these risks in the summer.
That is why they are in such a hurry to tighten the mobilization and start stuffing literally everyone into the army.
Now as if on cue, there’s been an undeniable spate of both new footage as well as documented reports of Ukrainian women on the frontline. Examples:
Including this video which appears to show a female AFU soldier manning a trench hit by Russian drone—note the lank features, and long black hair falling from the helmet:
There was another report of the first deceased female tank driver as well.
⚡️⚡️⚡️The first female tankman, Inna Stoiko, of the 3rd Tank Brigade was eliminated⚡️⚡️⚡️
And that’s not even the half of it—many other reports of female battalions, new photos of female soldiers’ graves, and a report of a female psychological officer fragged by her commander in Kupyansk, after she belittled the refusenik men for not wanting to sacrifice themselves to pointless meat assaults.
In addition, there’ve been several reports about very heavy-handed new mobilization initiatives, for instance from the Zaporozhye council which announced door-to-door document checks:
My take is that given how utterly unstable the situation is getting, Zelensky fears creating too large a disruption. He relies, in part, on keeping society carefully insulated from the war.
But pulling the yoke of mobilization too hard may be the final political death knell against his regime. Furthermore, it would give his enemies—which in this case may include Washington, or will soon—a huge lightning rod with which to depose him.
The conclusion? It seems for now the mood is that he may be given at least the winter as a final determinant condition, to see how things go. Or at least, that’s how long we may have until the alarm bells begin really urging those in Washington to shut the operation down.
Zelensky for his part may be moving toward a blackmail role, where as I said before, he will hold Washington’s and the EU’s reputations hostage with his uncompromising regime, giving them no option but to double down with him in order to save themselves from a catastrophic ‘decisive’ prestige loss to Russia.
In other words: “If I go down, you’re going down with me.”
It appears clear that Russia is counting on a collapse and is, for now, content to press the status quo and slowly grind the enemy to exhaustion—of both the military and political variety. Of course the West knows this, too; so much of their latest headline fodder has revolved around bringing attention to “Putin’s long game” and the fact that NATO/EU must stand together in solidarity for the long haul.
But the problem is the EU is in fact slowly losing support, rather than gaining it for this adventure, with the steady entree of a new class of skeptics like Wilders and Fico.
However, I do think that Russia will have a “golden moment” that lasts two years or so, but then if Ukraine were to survive past 2025 into 2026, the tide may start to turn.
I agree with this accounting:
The window of opportunity that is now open to us in connection with the apparent unwillingness of NATO to give the Ukrainian people weapons in the required volumes will not be eternal, and this must be taken into account. In some categories, in 1-2 years, in others in 3-5 years, the West will be able to reach production volumes that will allow both to ensure its own defense capability, and increase support for Ukraine – if it still remains by that time, or grow someone else to play the role of an enemy.
Beyond just the reasons listed above, of manufacturing parity, the real reason is that I believe in a philosophy that nations typically have about 10 years for a war, with the exact middle 5 year mark acting as a sort of fulcrum after which point things begin to sour. That’s how it was in Afghanistan. I believe 5 years is the maximum amount of time that most soldiers are able to psychologically justify a given conflict, before they begin considering it a pointless waste, with ill-sentiment forming for their command and political leadership. So it’s really preferable that Russia finish this before 2026 or so, in my eyes. From now until the end of 2025 is my self-professed ‘golden window’ of opportunity.
I’ll close with the following fitting impression, which captures the tragic aspect of Ukraine’s slow-motion dissolution—a Russian soldier wistfully reflects on what will be left of the country, prompted by the question of whether Ukrainian soldiers know what they’re fighting for:
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