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Subscriber Mailbag Answers - 7/24/23 [Part 1]
Hello, all. Welcome to another edition of the paid subscriber’s mailbag. Firstly, I want to let everyone know that the comments section on the answers portion here is open to everyone, including free subscribers, so everyone may feel free to discuss the post.
Secondly, I just want to say that these were great thought-provoking questions, perhaps even better than usual. But there were a lot so they will be broken up into at least two or three parts which I’ll answer over the course of the week.
If you still have a question to ask which you haven’t, or are a free subscriber and want to upgrade to ask a question, then feel free to still visit the original thread here to ask something. I’ll leave it open up until I finish the very last part of the answers, so you still have this week or so left to lodge your query.
With that out of the way, let’s get to the answers:
Recently I read two comments from July 11, regarding the killing of генерал-майор Руслан Цоков [General Tsokov]. I really would like to hear your feedback on them.
Both seem Russian genuine friendly concerns that reveal some angles that I can’t find addressed on other commentaries but worry me.
The first comment by донецкий журналист Алексей Акутин tells us that Цоков is the 16th killed Russian General vs only 2 killed Ukrainian (and not in battle).
The second comment is from Gennady Dubovoi, a participant in the defense of Slavyansk and the storming of Mariupol, now fighting in the ranks of Akhmat, emphasizes that reports that the Russian army has learned to easily shoot down Storm Shadow, and they no longer pose a danger, are not true.” Most notably, he says “... now, using the Armed Forces, NATO is conducting a large reconnaissance in force: the real offensive of the enemy has not yet begun. And you need to be ready for it, first of all psychologically, and not indulge yourself with hatred illusions, ”Dubovoy warns.”
I am baffled, please give us some explanation to consolidate these comments within the consistent information from the front of the failure of the Ukrainian army’s offensives.
I believe this is referring to Lt. General Oleg Tsokov who was allegedly killed in a Storm Shadow strike in Berdiansk on July 11.
Firstly, let’s cover the “16 Russian generals killed” claim. The latest statistics from Ukrainian sources themselves claim the following:
Only 6 generals killed, not 16. Furthermore, Wikipedia has an entire page dedicated to the claimed Russian general losses in the conflict. You can see that they too have only 6 “confirmed killed” with 1 “claimed”. However, when you click on some of the “confirmed” ones, you see it was only “confirmed” by “British intelligence” and there is no actual evidence. I didn’t do a deep dive on all of them because it’s pointless as there’s so few anyway, but just randomly clicking on the second to last one says that British ministry of defense considers reports of his death to be “almost certainly accurate”. That doesn’t sound very convincing or confident of a claim to me.
What’s more interesting though, is on the same Wiki page, beneath the claimed kills, is a section showing the previously claimed kills which have all now been refuted and “retracted” by the chagrined AFU. This section lists 7 other generals whose ‘deaths’ were all proven to be fake Ukrainian propaganda. So, literally by their own admission there’s 7 previous ones all debunked, yet we’re supposed to believe the other 6 they now claim as “definitely dead”? Why would anyone believe such an untrustworthy propagandistic source with a history of repeated proven lies?
What’s funny is that one of the debunked “killed” ones, General Mordvichev, just happened to release a new video today which I’ve been saving to post in the next update.
Also, we should note that apart from the most recent two, which both were claimed to be victims of a Storm Shadow strike, the other “killed” generals all happened in the first few months of last year. Which means that, up until the introduction of the Storm Shadow a few months ago, even according to Western/Ukrainian sources, there were no Russian general deaths from June 2022 until recently.
If the two recent ones are true, then it would represent a bit of a slip up on Russia’s behalf as they likely didn’t expect the effectiveness and trickery of the Storm Shadow’s usage. However, it’s something they’ll adapt to as with everything else and then you won’t hear much about it again.
Recall, I’ve covered the Storm Shadow in detail more than probably any other analyst, with writeups like this one and others. So I do understand and respect the missile’s potential. In reconciling your second question, in regard to the comments about SS’s being easily intercepted as contrasted with the purported general deaths, there’s a bit of truth to both.
Selection bias often has us micro-focusing on the very few successes but ignoring the vast field of failures. In this case, the Storm Shadow does appear to have a few successes here and there, but the vast majority of them have been shot down as well. Not only have I previously posted three total videos of Pantsir units showing interceptions of them, but there’ve also been several videos of recovered shot down SS’s, one of which was the video I posted of a whole, intact SS taken to Russian labs, and another new one showing the explosive part of the SS being detonated by Russian sappers in a field where it was shot down. That’s all to say that there’s ample proof that they are being shot down, but as I outlined in the more detailed article above, they are also one of the West’s most advanced and stealth munitions which means they still have many opportunities to bypass Russian AD if used in a clever manner (i.e. carefully planned routes to bypass reconned AD nets, simultaneous saturation of AD with decoys, etc.).
There were even rumors, if you’ll recall, that the AFU was supplied with advanced British MALD decoys which can mimic the SS and are used to overwhelm ADs while the real missile strikes. For instance, here and here.
So this all complicates things. Just days ago, two ammo dumps in Crimea were ‘claimed’ to have been struck by suspected Storm Shadows. However, at least on the first one, Budanov had later issued a statement saying something about ‘intelligence’ which appeared to imply that it was more of a local job using partisans, or something of that sort, who presumably flew a drone from nearby into the site. The second strike however, has a bigger possibility of actually being a Storm Shadow.
One thing we must recall is that Russian AD requires a few months to typically get fully acclimated to a new enemy system. That’s not to say they can’t shoot it down before that, not by a long shot. What it means is that, modern AD systems operate with a lot of inbuilt electronic tolerances in the form of ‘filters’ which are keyed in on databases of certain known systems. This is done in order for them to be more precise because anything that doesn’t function like a known registered system can be far more precisely electronically “filtered out” as noise.
However, when a new enemy system is introduced, Russian engineers take a few months to register the target profile and characteristics of that new missile/system by studying its radar signatures from various recorded interactions. The reason it takes months is because they have to first wait for various systems to have verifiably come up against that particular missile. Then they compile the readouts from all these systems to get a fix on this new missile’s properties, radar returns, etc.
And finally, the engineers create a new electronic matrix that can be uploaded as a firmware ugprade to all the field units, like Pantsirs, Tors, etc. After this upgrade, the systems will all now be able to identify, track, and shoot down the new enemy missile much more efficiently. This famously happened with the HIMARS cycle last year. Russian systems at first had trouble dealing with it because they had never been up against it and the profile for a HIMARS rocket didn’t exist in their registry. After recording enough interactions, engineers uploaded the new firmwares and HIMARS became nearly useless.
“Initially, Russian air defenses did not understand what the HIMARS, MLRS rockets were, but after the firmware of the new program, they became a normal target,” RIA Novosti quoted the Russian air defense commander as saying. “We freely detect, track and destroy without problems.”
Thus, over the course of the next couple months, as Ukraine uses the Storm Shadow more, Russian systems will only adapt to it with increasing effectiveness.
As a last point, to bring it back to the beginning, as we all know Ukrainian losses are strictly hidden. However, even on the pro-Ukrainian graphic I posted it shows under 2,500 claimed total officer deaths for Russia.
Some researchers on the Russian side have calculated as high as 13,000+ officer (NCO + CO) deaths for the AFU, based on extrapolations from posthumous awards. See this thread as an example. And here’s a giant spreadsheet of every single confirmed UA officer death, nearly 2,400: Spreadsheet.
And as to the comments that they’re only doing ‘reconnaissance in force’ and the ‘real offensive’ is yet to come, these are just talking points from Anthony Blinken and co., and are all bunk. The AFU has experienced catastrophic losses and they don’t have the ability to launch any ‘real offensive’ any time soon.
What is the state of Russia’s equivalent to the USA’s VA (Veteran’s Administration)?
How well are wounded (psychologically and physically) veterans treated? Are medical issues properly addressed and done so in a timely manner?
What does this body do well, and where can they improve?
Secondary but related question: are there homeless vets in Russia? If so, how are they treated by the government and society at large?
Has this topic been broached in the Russian political discourse?
I ask because here in America the VA has been rightfully criticised for decades for falling short in terms of giving proper treatment to American vets.
This war is still relatively new and Russia hasn’t had a conflict to truly test this system in a long time. Recall that Georgia was in 2008, but it lasted for barely a week and there was no longstanding negative consequences as far as veterans because Russia took few casualties, wounded, etc.
And if we take it all the way back to the Chechen Wars, then that’s too long ago to be relevant to your question as I assume you’re asking about the current state of things in this regard, and the contemporary administrative advancements in this regard are on a completely different level than they were back then in the hellacious 90s. Just from the standpoint of pay, for instance, Russian soldiers currently enjoy massive pay increases compared to anything back then, so the two periods can’t really be compared.
With the little general info I have from the ‘current’ time though, it does appear like Russian leadership expends a lot of effort on this and does not neglect this area. We can tell this by the fact that Putin has made many statements, typically every few months, in regard to some new improvement to veterans, whether it’s increasing their benefits or increasing families’ bereavement pay for killed soldiers, which has happened in recent memory as well.
So, my perception on some of your questions is more from an ‘indirect’ angle in seeing how seriously the administration treats the subject of taking care of the soldiers in general, and extrapolating that out to the more specific areas like psychological care, etc., which I consequently assume is likewise being handled with serious attention.
There is a large amount of constant talk in the background about improvements to various soldier benefits that I typically don’t mention in my reports, which relates to this. For instance, in the past month or two there were major inroads made for giving ‘veteran’ status to various types of ancillary units, such as Russian border guards, volunteer forces, PMCs, etc., with the attendant benefits, which can include much greater payments to families of killed soldiers and general veterans benefits. This includes things like free apartments, reduced mortgage/loans, free land, etc., for veterans, some of which was announced recently:
Regional authorities in Russia have been tasked with distributing free plots of land to veterans of Moscow’s war against Ukraine, according to a decree signed by President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday.
Those eligible to receive land include combat veterans, as well as military personnel, volunteer fighters, and employees of the Russian National Guard who have been awarded the title of Hero of Russia or who have received other merit-based awards during their service.
The right to free land will also be granted to family members of decorated military personnel and those who died from their injuries or illnesses sustained on the frontlines.
“Last year, all Russian soldiers serving in Ukraine were granted veteran status, which allows them to receive monthly cash payments, tax benefits, free travel and priority medical services.”
Recently, Putin even pushed a new initiative to give civilian combat journalists and doctors veteran status so they can receive various benefits as well:
According to the law, military veterans can receive pension benefits, assistance from the state with housing, compensation for housing costs in the amount of 50% and other benefits.
And of course, just last month Putin again raised the pay for all soldiers, which Western media cynically called a ‘desperate ploy’:
Russian soldiers’ pay is now likely the highest in the world, not only per capita, but in general even compared dollar to dollar. They now make upwards of 210,000 rubles per month starting salary. Given the average Russian salary can be as low as 30k rubles per month up to maybe 40-70k for a median, this means that Russian soldiers’ starting pay is the equivalent of a U.S. soldier making something like 120-200k a year, which in the U.S. only the highest O7s and O8 generals can expect to make.
Also, there is generally nothing like the mass veteran homelessness, suicides, etc., like in the U.S. But part of this also has to do with the fact that the Russian healthcare industry is far superior and offers free healthcare to people, so veterans with medical problems can actually be treated at a government clinic for free.
Moreover, in the U.S. a lot of the issues seem to stem from the horrible mistreatment and neglect of Vietnam era veterans. The U.S. suffered tremendously more casualties in Vietnam than Russia did in any post-WW2 wars. There were around ~50k killed but somewhere around ~400k total casualties in terms of wounded of various degrees in Vietnam. Many of those wounded are the ones who end up as medically compromised homeless veterans who are forgotten on the streets of the U.S.
In the Afghan war, Russia only had 9-14k killed and ~50k wounded so the scale is not even comparable. The Chechen wars in the 90s likewise didn’t produce large amounts of casualties.
Ultimately, I believe that no country in the world currently treats their soldiers with as much respect and dignity as that of Russia in the present day and age.
Thanks for everything, Big Simp! Purely speculative, would/could you give any probabilities of MI6/CIA etc attempting any type of "accidents" or "incidents", IF Putin were to physically attend BRICS on Aug 24th?
My opinion is that these intel services have mostly transitioned to using more ‘indirect’ means in recent years. Namely, things like subtly infecting the target with some type of long term illness-causing agent, like cancer, etc. Sure, they had the infamous heart-attack/cancer gun back in the 70s:
More recently, many believe Hugo Chavez was killed by some sort of CIA ‘cancer’ weapon, due to the strange battles with cancer he had prior to his untimely passing.
I believe this is more along the vector that they would try to use against Putin rather than something like outright assassination—even if it’s made to “look” like an accident, such as an airline crash, etc. The reason being that it’s much less ‘messy’ and doesn’t create the kind of potentially sticky geopolitical consequences, like WW3.
Putin likely knows this, too, as there’s been footage of some recent visit of his where secret service agents were filmed ‘fumigating’ the area with a disinfectant gas. Perhaps it could be an anti-Covid measure, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s aimed at controlling potential foreign chemical agents of the aforementioned variety as well.
So, personally I don’t think they’d risk a more overt accident as you’re suggesting, but certainly they would do their best to set up some type of ‘humiliating incident’ revolving around the arrest warrant saga. Even though Putin’s actual arrest would be far-fetched, they would attempt to at least drum up the specter of it as a narrative to dominate the Summit’s actual points of agenda.
We saw two days ago, for instance, that an arrest warrant of some kind was already drawn up by one of the South African parties.
These are the types of psyops the CIA and their contacts would try to initiate to tarnish the Summit and further destabilize Putin, but I don’t think they’d go so far as outright assassination, if only for the reason that they know that the people standing ‘behind’ Putin are much more hardline than him, anyway. With that said, never discount anything or put it past Western intel agencies, as their depravity and desperation knows no bounds.
Does Taiwans Jan24 election feed into Russias/Chinas Ukraine deliberations?
I’ve admittedly not been following it too closely yet, since it’s still a ways away. However, the only thing of note and importance about the upcoming election I know of is that the current incumbent president cannot run again, and so they will necessarily be getting a new president no matter what. That alone usually has the potential for big or unforeseen changes that could affect a lot of laterally adjacent things like the Ukraine war.
It’s easier to analyze how the election will affect Chinese relations directly, but difficult to extrapolate that to Ukraine. For instance, the main Democratic Progressive party’s candidate, who’s already the current VP, is more of a ‘hard-liner’ as I understand it. I.e. he’s more anti-China and pro-‘Taiwan independence’. Whereas the opposition party candidate from the KMT—again, as I understand it—is much softer and wants ‘friendlier’ relations with China and is even accused of eventually allowing reunification and things of that nature.
I don’t know their exact stances on Russia/Ukraine, but I do believe he’s previously tweeted strong support for Ukraine, and the typical bromides about ‘Russia’s barbaric invasion’, etc., so I can only assume the hard-liner Lai Ching-Te would potentially be more aggressive towards Russia as well as more ‘pro-Ukraine’.
Ultimately, I don’t think it will affect the war in Ukraine too much because all the candidates are relatively similar in that regard anyway. The only way I can see to answer your question of whether it will affect China/Russia’s deliberations is that a more ‘hard-line’ victory in Taiwan could perhaps change China’s calculus vis a vis their timeline for potential Taiwanese reunification.
And since their timeline for that likely affects the type of support China gives to Russia in Ukraine, then we could see some changes. What I mean is, it’s a near certainty that internally Chinese military planners believe the Ukrainian war can in some ways benefit their own ideal timeline. Just to give an example: let’s say they really do plan on forcible reunification by the 2025-2027 timeline as current Pentagon/CIA analysts ‘claim’. Then, the victory of the more hard-line DPP candidate, who—let’s say hypothetically—begins making more allowances for U.S. weaponry to flood into Taiwan, could cause China to adjust the types of assistance it gives to Russia. Not only due to mere ‘tit-for-tat’ retaliatory purposes, but to also adjust the pace of the war to fit within their timeline.
China likely sees the war as a great distraction for the Atlanticist powers, so depending on Taiwan’s new direction, it may cause China to leverage the war in a more heavy-handed manner by adjusting its assistance. Also, China was rumored to have previously threatened to supply Russia with weaponry much more heavily should the U.S. begin heavily supplying Taiwan, so a new more hardline leader in Taiwan who happens to open up that pandora’s box could push China over the edge in retaliatory support.
Thank you for doing this - I only have one question, following from your predictions, that is really frightening: what are the conditions on the European continent that they will further allow the USA to push them....ending in “a continental European war”. I am aware that the answer is impossible, but this possibility is really scary.
There are two related questions that I’ll roll into one; I’ll post the other one afterwards.
The conditions are simple: the European super-state is a continent-wide deepstate that pretty much controls all the governments from within, whether via the EU mechanisms or from simply controlling the elections in the same way they’re controlled in the U.S.—a combination of vote manipulation schemes with media censorship.
The most powerful tool of course is the media, which is totally controlled by most of the same parent corporations with an allegiance to the globalist cabal at the top which ordains decisions and events. This is why no candidate can be elected in virtually any European country who goes against the deep-state / war party.
As you know, the MSM is able to almost entirely control public discourse and sentiment around elections which means they almost always are able to manipulate the results into getting the desired candidate to win.
Thus, all of Europe is subordinated to the U.S. and globalist-banker conglomerate, which is why no European country is truly sovereign and which is further why—to answer your question—war can be manufactured at any time through this method. They simply install whichever leader is capable of doing their bidding, usually a leader they have the most kompromat on, or is simply the most corrupt and amenable to bribery.
Ukraine is a rare example of where we got a ‘peek behind the curtain’ of how this works, much more in the open, partly because the corruption was so rampant, and the corrupt officials so easily bribed and manipulated that the U.S. officials dealing with them did so fairly artlessly without even worrying about scruples and nuance. So we got gems like the Nuland tapes (“Yats is our guy”) or the new Burisma-Biden revelations, which now prove that Biden was simply paid $5M to get rid of Shokin, the prosecutor who was on Burisma’s case. Biden did so easily by simply threatening the highly corruptible Poroshenko, who immediately did his master’s bidding.
My point is this: the same techniques witnessed so openly in Ukraine are utilized daily all throughout Europe. It’s simply that European politicians are typically much more sophisticated than the artless swine of the Ukrainian persuasion, and so we don’t get as much of an unbridled look into the same dealings which drive Europe toward war and disaster on a daily basis.
So the answer to your question is, those are the ‘conditions’—it’s the infinite corruptibility of compromised European politicians who are elected as part of fraudulent ‘elections’ entirely controlled by the globalist-bankster class elites which own the MSM which itself entirely steers the narratives revolving around any ‘election’.
Any opposition member or party who rises up against this is very simply decried and ridiculed by this entirely colonized MSM, with accusations like “nationalist, supremacist, bigot, etc.” and basically deplatformed into obscurity or irrelevancy. Le Pen and many others are examples of this. She was only allowed to ‘come back’ to an extent once she began to ‘play along’ and denounce Russia. Now, you can see Nigel Farage as an example, being completely deplatformed by his bank for heterodox views. Other politicians who have less power are simply smeared as ‘crackpots’ and completely erased from existence. Just look at how they’re already deleting RFK Jr’s recent videos from YouTube and elsewhere, just like they entirely deleted/deplatformed Ron Paul back in the day, wiping out his campaign chances (same for Tulsi Gabbard and many others, as well). Those are American examples but the same goes on in Europe, in fact even worse because Europe has even more repressive ‘anti-free speech’ regimes.
However, I will say that slowly but surely, the dissident often-but-not-always rightwing coalitions are gaining power, just look at German AfD’s recent surge in the pollings. The tide is slowly turning and so there’s a chance that things will begin to truly crack before the globalists are able to precipitate WW3.
⚡️⚡️⚡️JUST IN - Germany's right-wing AfD party gained another 2% this week. At this rate, the party is on track to become the most popular party in the country — INSA poll
Israel's ex-ambassador Shimon Stein on the AfD upsurge: "The current development in Germany cannot be tolerated."⚡️⚡️⚡️
Now the second adjacent question from someone else:
Related to [name]’s question above - you mentioned the prospect of Russia and Europe destroying each other’s infrastructure in such a broader conflict. How much damage can the European powers realistically deal out to Russia, especially at distances you would consider strategic? And given the current NATO arsenals of standoff weapons what level of AD munition production must be sustained to stop such attacks on an ongoing basis?
Personally, I believe Russia can destroy Europe’s infrastructure much more effectively than the reverse. The reason being that much of Europe’s infrastructure is well within reach of Russia’s systems, whereas Russia still maintains the old Soviet WW2 philosophy where most of its most important factories are very far away in the east, past the Ural mountains, squirreled away in Siberia. Everything from Uralvagonzavod (Nizhny Tagil), to Kurganmashzavod (Kurgan), to Omsktransmash (Omsk), to plants like Sukhoi in Komsomolsk-on-Amur which is closer to Japan than to Europe. These are all thousands of kilometers away and basically unhittable for Europe, whereas Russia can reach many of Europe’s top plants even with medium ballistic missiles.
However, by infrastructure we of course don’t mean just military but everything in general, so that changes things a bit—I just thought I’d make the point about the arms production lines first.
In general though, short of nuclear weapons, I don’t think Europe can do too much to Russia in the current state simply because the only way to hurt Russian industries would be to use mass amounts of very expensive and very scarce long-range guided munitions.
Just to put things into perspective, Russia has used a claimed (numbers from Zelensky himself) 5000+ total missiles thus far in the war. The U.S. has fired a total of 2200+ Tomahawks in history, since the advent of the Tomahawk missile—this includes both Gulf wars, all the 90s interventions, etc.
My point is that, you can see that even with this mass amount of 5000+ missiles, Russia has hardly damaged the relatively tiny and underdeveloped country of Ukraine. So, imagine how many missiles it would take to actually do critical damage to a country like Russia. Most great-power-level countries like the U.S. have maybe 2000-3000 total stockpiled cruise missiles, as an example. Countries like UK, France, Germany, etc., likely have even way less. For instance, I believe UK had under 1000 total Storm Shadows. These low numbers are evidenced by the fact that even during the ‘relatively recent’ Libya conflict, it was widely reported that the ‘allies’ had already begun to run low on guided munitions. Here’s a 2011 article from Washington Post highlighting this fact:
The simple fact is, all of NATO combined doesn’t have even close to the number of munitions nor the productive capacity to build those munitions to truly harm Russia in the long term. However, since we’re talking hypotheticals, if in this future European war things turn really serious and all of Europe somehow goes on an all out full war-time footing, activating total war economies, then things could perhaps turn different. I’d still be very skeptical of their capabilities in this regard, but at least it would change things somewhat, even if it ultimately doesn’t change the end result.
The other example I often use is that in almost 3 months of 24/7 bombing of Serbia in 1999, using the full-scale power of NATO’s mighty air fleet, they hardly managed to even put a real dent in Serbia’s armed forces. They only managed to destroy a few dozen tanks or less and the official reports I’ve seen state they only managed to degrade Serbia’s air defense by 50% in that time.
Once again, I may be discussing military losses above, but it runs parallel to their ability to destroy infrastructure/industries in general, as the theme is the same—they simply don’t have the industrial capacity or stockpiles to take Russia out.
Russian AD production can definitely out-pace NATO’s ability to produce long-range guided munitions as they are incomparable cost-wise. Ultimately, the biggest damage multiplier though that would stand a chance at destroying a lot of more localized infrastructure (as opposed to strategic depth) would be the more mass-produceable un-guided stuff like standard artillery shells and tanks as well as force multipliers like certain ancillary systems like EW, counter-battery radars, etc.
How does the Russian origin of most of Israel’s leadership affect relations between Russia and Israel? How does Israel’s condemnation of Russia’s SMO affect Russia’s opinion of Israel? How do Russians view the Palestinian issues such as the recent attack on the Jennine refuge camp?
I assume you’re referring to the fact that, for instance, both the current Israeli president and prime minister’s families both have heritage stemming from the Russian Empire, as well as many or most of the previous leaders including Israel’s first PM David Ben-Gurion, although to my knowledge all of the above are descended from Polish lands which happened to be a part of the Russian Empire at the time.
I don’t think Israel’s leadership themselves give too much credence anymore to any perceived ‘Russian’ heritage, however as a generality, Israel maintains a large amount of Russian influence as Russian is I believe the 3rd largest language spoken there only after Hebrew and Arabic. For those that don’t know, this is because many if not most of the people who emigrated to Israel (and continue to do so) were from Russia/USSR/eastern Europe:
So the two have always had a complicated history and relations as the USSR was actually the very first state to recognize Israel as a country in 1947, yet not long after that it became its bitter enemy and supported the Arabs throughout all the Arab-Israeli wars, even engaging in open warfare against Israel in the middle east.
Now, I think the two have a sort of mutually wary relationship of convenience and necessity, where they simply know that each of the other has the power to push certain buttons to make life uncomfortable for each other. So, because of that, they try to remain relatively cordial and cognizant of each other’s geopolitical interests.
In the Pentagon leaks of early this year, it was revealed that Israel expressed great amounts of secret trepidation at Russia’s retaliation to Israel potentially supporting Ukraine, which gave one of the first eye-opening accounts to how much Israel truly fears Russia’s ability to escalate its deterrence which could negate Israel’s ability to strike targets in Syria and elsewhere.
With that said, to answer your question, I think Russian leadership knows that Israel’s so-called ‘condemnation’ of any sort is just lip-service meant to give the air of neutrality or support, but in actuality the Russian leadership knows that the realpolitik reality of it is that Israel exercises no real support for Ukraine. Materially, it has given the least support of almost any ‘Western’ nation and many in Israel feel very ambivalent on Ukraine anyway, given its open support of Nazis.
As for the Palestine issue, I’m afraid I don’t know too much on Russia’s sentiment regarding that other than they’ve typically supported Palestine in the past, including the Russian UN ambassador heavily criticizing Israel at the UN several years ago. However, now the issue is likely overshadowed by the much larger things Russia is embroiled in so it’s likely not something that gets national attention. Though there is the recent news item that Russia-Palestine will hold consultations on the Jenin situation.
I know in the past Russia has also expressed interest in being a mediator of sorts between Israel-Palestine but like I said, apart from that, I think the issue is mostly overshadowed by Russia’s bigger worries at the moment.
Should Trump - if he wins in GOP - publicly state that he would be honored and invites RFK Jr. to join his government as AG?
Sure, why not. Theoretically, that could prove a huge boon to consolidate his chances against whomever the Dems choose. Unfortunately, everytime there’s an election, pundits always fantasize about putting together the ‘super team’ like a sort of Avengers comprised of the other runner-up candidates, like Trump and Tulsi Gabbard as VP, though she ran as a Democrat but quit the party shortly afterwards, and things of that nature.
But these types of ‘dream teams’ rarely happen in reality, for a variety of practical reasons, so it’s probably unrealistic to expect something like that. With that said, an AG invitation is probably much more of a realistic proposal than the VP team-ups I used as an example so perhaps it could happen. Only obstacle I see is that Trump, last I checked, still considers the bio-weapon vaccine to be his huge gift to humanity that saved millions of people, while RFK is about as anti-vax as you can get, so I don’t see how you’d reconcile the two given the fact that RFK as AG would have to go after the same people Trump considers to be heroes in that regard. I guess we’ll see.
There has been talk of time being on Russia's side. Do you see an intersection on the graph of time taken by Russia with the SMO with effective results and returns on the SMO.
What I'm trying to articulate is, could Russia SMO find itself in a situation where taking more time provides an opportunity to inflict military, economic, territorial, terrorist damage to Russia without any appreciable return for time, lives, equipment expended?
Firstly, let me say that any sort of economic damage inflicted thus far on Russia is very negligible. For instance, the Kerch Bridge strike has been estimated to cost the equivalent of 12M Euros to repair. That’s about the cost of three or four Russian cruise missiles, which Russia fires dozens of daily; not really bank-breaking.
The same goes for various strikes Ukraine does on Russian oil facilities, etc., which are minor write-offs by comparison to state coffers. That’s all to say that in general, Ukraine would have to do massively more destructive types of damage to even put a slight dent into Russia’s ability to withstand the upkeep.
However, where I do see a potential for such an intersection happening is on the rare possibility that Europe/NATO is able to actually successfully align their productive capacities insofar as the most common types of munitions, like artillery shells, etc. For now, most of the talk is just vaporware and lip service meant to put up a false front of solidarity. But in reality, the real grapevine whispers tell us that Europe is not making any substantive effort in coordinating their industries into actually being able to produce anything approaching a war-time-footing level of munition capacities.
So for now, it doesn’t look optimistic for that cross-convergence you speak of happening. But, indications could change over time, and maybe something will trigger them to truly get serious about out-producing Russia.
For the time being, the prospects appear to indicate to me that Russia continues to maintain time favorability simply because it’s outpacing the rest of NATO in industrial growth and commitment toward true war production, which means Russia will only get stronger and stronger while Ukraine will reach a certain break-through point or critical mass (at the current rate at least, without the aforementioned ‘change’ in European commitment) where its collapse may exponentially accelerate sometime within the next year.
Moreover, given that the military arm is just one aspect of the broader global war, if we look at the other geopolitical and economic developments, it seems that the situation is worsening for the U.S./NATO everywhere. For instance, their Syria situation is worsening, in Africa NATO members are being booted out. All the old enemies which the U.S. used as pawns to control the middle east are now reconciling. For instance, KSA and Yemen, Iran and KSA, Syria and all the Gulf countries, and many others. While Russia and China continue to make huge inroads in places like Africa, where, as an example, just recently the CAR signed a deal to allow Russian bases in-country.
The thing to note is that, the consideration is not an all-or-nothing prospect. Meaning, just because Russia has the advantage in time, doesn’t mean it has all or total advantage while the other side has zero. Time buys certain advantages for the Atlanticist powers as well, I simply believe the totality of Russia’s advantages outweigh them. But they still cannot be discounted. For instance, time certainly allows NATO to continue consolidating large amounts of forces on Russia’s border, which increases the potential and possibility of a successful first strike attack which could overrun Russian forces in key strategic areas. So there’s a give and take, and time definitely endows some major weapons to the other side as well. I simply believe it bestows more of them on Russia ultimately, for now at least.
But to summarize: if the West does find a way for true solidarity on the issue of armaments (this is much harder than it seems on the surface), then the ‘time’ angle could go sour for Russia. Ukraine being flooded with 5 million shells per year compared to 200k presently could take virtually all of Russia’s battlefield advantages away. The same goes for drone production, which Russia is now running away with. I recently posted a new statistic from the Ukrainian side that they produce/acquire 10k drones a month and Russia does 45-50k. The latest whispers also indicate that Russia’s production is going to go through the roof in this regard, even exponentially more so. For instance, respected analyst channel Starshe Edda:
Older than Eddy: Observing the trend of using FPV drones by our army, I come to the conclusion that we will soon see an avalanche-like increase in enemy defeats with this type of weapon. Lancet will be the far arm and flagship of kamikaze drones operating at operational depth, while FPV drones will take over tactical depth. But the most important thing is not even this, but a geometric progression in the growth of professional drone calculations.
Considering that Russia will undoubtedly soon enjoy a tremendous victory over Ukraine and NATO itself, leaving NATO in total humiliation and on the brink of disintegration once it has dispensed with the AFU and Russian forces march all the way to the border with Poland, how do you see that resounding victory playing out with regard to the Russian minorities in Poland (Kaliningrad), the Baltics, Finland, Sweden, Norway, Moldova, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Romania, Czech Republic, Serbia, Bulgaria, etc. which will all undoubtedly express congratulations to Mother Russia on its historic victory?
I mean, since Lithuania and Poland are already making moves against their Russian minorities in advance of Russia's win in Ukraine, do you see this trend intensifying, obliging Mr. Putin to seriously consider making military moves beyond Ukraine to ensure the safety of its Russian brothers? (Will Mr. Putin perhaps actually become the modern-day Peter the Great as Mr. Putin himself has alluded to in his own speeches?)
Firstly, I’m a little troubled by the overly optimistic tone here only because I’m very wary of ‘alternate endings’ that still have a high chance of happening, due to a number of black swan events that U.S./NATO can trigger. While I certainly hope it happens the way you describe, I still get mental red flags when I hear someone describing the end of the war like it’s a foregone conclusion because I think there is a lot of very difficult days ahead, and events may yet veer to unexpected vectors that will likely surprise us all.
That said, assuming it happens the way you outlined it, I think the answer depends on who is in power in the U.S. at the time. For instance, if such a hypothetical ending happens after 2024 and someone like Trump ends up being in office, and let’s say—hypothetically speaking—that he actually makes some headway in eradicating the ‘swamp’ and removing the U.S. from a lot of the globalist MIC entrapments (unlikely, I know), then the small barking chihuahuas of the Baltics, and other such nations, may not have the courage to continue such unchallenged repressions against Russian citizens because they will see that ‘the Empire’ is no longer there to back them, and that they will be SOL dealing with Russia’s wrath all on their own, with their tiny 20k man armies at a time when Russian armed forces will have been expanded to 2 million total men and 700k+ contract ground forces, etc.
So, it really all depends on who’s in power at the top leadership positions of the West—most importantly the chief provocateur of the U.S.—and whether they continue deliberately provoking Russia toward the bankster-ordained wider continental war.
In that case, should they continue their provocations then yes, I do see Russia expanding the war into other countries eventually because inside Russian leadership and society, there has been a lot of changes toward a more hardline position. Not only have most Russian military/political leaders/siloviki and even press/television show pundits become increasingly more bellicose and hardline, but the Russian citizenry too has become fed up with the racist global mistreatment of Russians over the past few years, relegating them to second class citizens, disrespecting and violating them everywhere, banning them from all sports, organizations, and activities.
That means by the time the Ukrainian war nears its end, there is a strong chance that the appetite for vengeance of the Russian bear will increase. As Russia grows stronger on the world stage, and the Russian mass-consciousness shakes off the last vestiges of the post-Soviet 90s shame and insecurity, they will grow increasingly bolder in rectifying all the wrongs dealt to them by a steadily declining and decaying Europe.
Particularly, one has to consider the fact that Putin may not even be in power at such time, and a far more hardline successor may take his place, who won’t put up with any disrespect. Putin has long been what some considered the most insufferably ‘soft’ and compromising of leaders; most of the people behind him do not share those values, and many of them are far more aggressive.
Of course, the most likely next flashpoint will be at some sensitive limitrophe like Transnistria or Kaliningrad, at some ‘geopolitical crossroads’. Some are skeptical of any future conflict because the Baltics are all in NATO, however by the time of such a hypothetical clash certain allowances can be made by the U.S.
For instance, the U.S. can easily signal some sort of temporary loosening of Article 5 to send the message that a limited war is possible without the involvement of the entire alliance, particularly in the nuclear sphere. This could be a way to goad Russia into a perceived ‘trap’ of attacking what might be considered an easy opponent while the U.S. curates a specific coalition of certain countries (so as not to risk perhaps “too big” of a war against the ‘great powers’ of the alliance, like Germany etc.) just to attain a medium-simmer war that can continue bleeding Russia without triggering full-on WW3, etc.
Ultimately, of course, such a misstep could lead to the fracture and collapse of NATO itself, so there are a lot of pitfalls in these hypothetical scenarios.
Could you do a comparison between the US airforce with its B1, B2, F35, A10 etc vs the Russian airforce with its TU160, TU22, SU57, SU50, K52 etc? I'd be interested in numbers, speed, range, capabilities and battle experience. I know it's a big ask but maybe you have it all in a giant spreadsheet already.
Unfortunately, I don’t have a spreadsheet and to compare everything in its entirety would be too big a task, but I can focus on a few key points.
Generally, both countries maintain a ‘strategic’ arm of the airwing whose task was to deliver nuclear strikes during a nuclear exchange, while other airframes are more for tactical strike purposes.
The more strategic and long-range equivalents of both country’s stockpiles are the U.S.’s B-1 Lancer to Russia’s Tu-160 White Swan / Blackjack and Tu-22 Backfire, the B-2 Spirit and B-52 Stratofortress to the Tu-95 Bear, and the upcoming B-21 Raider to the upcoming Pak-Da stealth bomber.
In general, the Tu-22 is meant to be more of a anti-ship killer with a medium range of around 5000km, using Kh-22 supersonic missiles, while the B-1 and Tu-160 are long range nuclear-capable bombers. The Tu-160 is heavier, can carry more payload, and much faster than the B-1. In fact, the Tu-160 has the most powerful jet engines of any combat aircraft in the world and can achieve over Mach 2 cruising speed, which no other bomber can do. Russia has just taken delivery of two new latest upgraded variants and intends to build much more of them.
The B-52 vs. Tu-95 on the other hand goes in the B-52s favor, as it’s faster and carries more payload. However, the Tu-95 is basically the fastest prop plane in the world, using highly unique counter-rotating turboprops, and it can fly nearly the same speed as the B-52 which has jet engines. The B-52 is more of a classical bomber, while most people don’t know that the Tu-95 while called a ‘bomber’ actually does no real bombing, though it’s capable of it. Its primary mission is as a cruise missile platform. It’s designed to fly over the north pole and unleash a payload of cruise missiles to hit the North American mainland, including the nuclear variety if need be.
The specific numbers are very difficult to give because there’s an endless amount of modifications and configurations that give completely different figures. For instance, in terms of range, there’s various types of ranges for combat range, ferry range with extra fuel tanks in place of weaponry, range at supersonic speed, completely different range at cruising speed if there’s no urgency in the strike. Then there’s range with tanker refueling, etc. In general most of the bombers can go anywhere from 3000-12,000km/h and up, according to these different configurations. Though, the important thing to note in ranges is that most people forget the return journey. A 5000km range on a Tu-22 appears to get it to nearly the continental U.S. but that’s its total range. If it flew there it would run out of fuel over Canada. In reality, it can go 2500km+ in one direction then needs the remaining 2500km to go back home, unless it’s a suicide mission. The bigger importance is their differing mission philosophies as I outlined above.
As for the fighter jets and fighter-bombers. The F-35’s closest analog is probably to the Russian Su-34, as they’re both capable of fighting but are primarily meant to be strike platforms, though they have very little in common besides that.
Much closer are the F-15/Su-27, F-16/Mig-29, and Su-35/Su-57/F-22. I’ll focus on just the latest and say that it’s funny how the F-22 is considered “5th generation” by the U.S. while the Su-57 is not simply because the F-22 is perceived as having ‘true stealth’. Meanwhile, the F-22 lacks a huge number of advancements which the Su-57 has that actually put the Su-57 in many ways in a generation ahead of the F-22.
The Su-57 has IRST sensors to detect stealth objects, the F-22 doesn’t.
The Su-57 has L-band radars on its wings, a frequency range specifically made for detecting stealth craft, the F-22 doesn’t.
The Su-57 has 3D thrust vectoring, which means its thrust nozzle can actually pivot in both yaw and pitch attitudes. The F-22 has a pathetic 2D which means it can only pivot in pitch, or up and down.
The Su-57 therefore has superior flight characteristics due to its unique thrust vectoring capability, and carries a superior air to air armament given that its R-37 missile is the world’s only hypersonic a2a missile, and has a range of upwards of 300-400km. The F-22s Aim-120 is slower and has half the range. And by the way, that R-37 is proven, as it has already scored the world’s longest air to air kill in history in Ukraine:
As a general comment for some of the others, a lot of Russia’s older Soviet airframes operate on a philosophy of having less advanced avionics but better armor and armaments.
So for instance, the Su-25 and its American equivalent of the A-10. The A-10 has better avionics in that it has a high quality ‘sniper pod’ which can seek targets at long range, as well as what is usually perceived as a better gun (30x173mm rounds vs. 30x165mm on the Su-25).
However, the Su-25 is much more reliable and has a more heavily armed cockpit which can take more damage. So it’s your choice of firepower vs. protection.
In the case of attack copters, the Ka-52 is more armored and more heavily armed than its AH-64 Apache counterpart, not to mention more powerful thrust to weight ratio, higher top speed, etc.
But once again, the AH-64 has slightly better optics and famous Integrated Helmet and Display Sighting System which follows the operator’s head movements with the gun:
But like I said, ultimately the Ka-52 has more armor, better performance in terms of speed and acceleration, carries more armaments/weapons, and is the only combat helicopter in the world that actually features an ejection system:
Also, the Ka-52s have a DIRCM in the form of the Vitebsk L-370 system which automatically jams and blocks manpads and missiles, making it far safer and more protected than the Apache which has no such system.
Hi Simplicius, not sure if this falls under geopolitics, but can you elaborate on the situation with Navalny and the cause for his imprisonment, as well as the alleged ‘kidnapping’ of Ukrainian children by Putin? The empire media are reporting about it, so I know by default they are lying, but I keep running into these arguments when trying to red pill family members. Also can you explain why Russia didn’t make a bigger stink about Bucha, if it were indeed Ukrainians of the Safari unit that killed locals who they perceived of as collaborators? Skip the Navalny one, if you can only do two.
The first thing is that Navalny is a nobody. He’s a completely concocted personality who has almost no following in Russia and is entirely manufactured by the West/CIA/NGOs at a time when the Russian media was still under a lot of control by Western intel assets and Putin hadn’t yet enacted the crackdown on Western NGOs (by making them register as foreign agents, etc.) which were pullulating throughout the country, inserting their agents everywhere to create provocations in support of their agenda.
Navalny first came on the scene, using what the West themselves would call ‘cheap nationalist’ tricks to appeal to a certain segment of the population. For instance, here’s the famous video of his first forays where he compared Muslims to cockroaches:
If you’re trying to redpill people who are presumably pro-Western and likely liberal then ask them if they consider it OK to hate immigrants and compare them to cockroaches.
Later on, Navalny began to agitate against the Kremlin, buoyed by his large support by Western intel services/NGOs, he likely felt ‘invincible’. How it works is the CIA whispers in his ear things like “don’t worry, the Kremlin is weakening, now is your time to seize power”. Particularly at the time when Putin himself was no longer president and Medvedev came in power, it must have been viewed in the West as the perfect time to ‘strike’ with their proxies and subvert Russian society and political scene.
However, Navalny ultimately began to go too far. One of the most egregious acts was launching the ‘Smart Voting’ app, which is a system that in any other Western country would have been derided as ‘election interference’, its purveyors likely immediately thrown in jail. In short, the app was a way to basically get the younger demographic of Russia to skew the vote to throw Putin’s party out of dominance. What the app did was transmit the best opposition ‘choices’ (as chosen by Navalny’s team, aka the CIA/Western intel) for every single regional election so that people in every region around the country would all vote in line with whatever harmed the leading party most. In many ways, it’s election interference of the highest order.
Another time, just to give an example, when Navalny had gathered his largest ever crowd—no thanks to any inherent ‘popularity’ of his but rather the full spectrum activation of all NGO/Western intel operations in the country which agitated for all their networked nodes to rise up and join the protests—he made a threatening speech during which he appeared to imply the overthrow of the Kremlin:
What does that remind you of? The people who are pro-Navalny in the West are likely Democrats who are big J6 zealots, no? What’s good for the goose is good for the gander, isn’t it? He’s literally threatening an armed insurrection. The Democrats in the U.S. tell everyone that this is the gravest of crimes, for which all involved should be imprisoned for a long time and for which they’re still chasing Trump to indict him. Why the hypocrisy, then? If it’s considered a major historic crime to threaten a coup in the U.S. then surely any reasonable person can see that this is a similar threat in Russia.
Now, as for the details of why he was ultimately arrested and imprisoned. There may be other aspects I’m missing but the gist of it is as follows:
He was initially indicted for election campaign fraud in a very—what appears to me—cut and dry case. You see, Russia—as well as, presumably, every developed country in the world—has strict regulations for how you can fund your election campaigns. This is done for the obvious reason that elections are not tampered with by foreign entities/sources.
Navalny’s team set up a fund for his election campaign—this wasn’t the 2020 presidential election but I believe the 2013 Moscow mayoral elections, where he tried to run for mayor. Anyway, a reported tens of millions of rubles in foreign funds came to this internet fund collection, which is illegal. Recall that America made a huge stink about a mere $4000 in Russian advertisements on Twitter which allegedly invalidated the whole U.S. election, so why shouldn’t tens of millions of rubles coming from foreign funding be considered as suspicious by officials?
The simple fact is, it’s absurd to think that a Russian official should be allowed to take massive amounts of foreign funding to run for Russian office—of any kind. Navalny did this out of necessity because, as I said before, he has no real following in Russia, therefore he’s forced to take foreign payments from his Western intel sponsors to even have a campaign to speak of.
So, after he was indicted for this and had various forms of probation, he violated the probation several times by refusing to appear in court at the appointed date. This is cut and dry stuff. No matter what you think of the charges, if you’re given a court date and you flauntingly skip out on it, well, that’s on you. Of course, his ‘excuse’ for the final date skip was that he was ‘poisoned by Novichok’ or whatever, and had to be flown to a German hospital. However, from my memory, the time between that and his court date in 2021 was many months. He claimed he was ‘recovering’ and failed to show up to his court hearing in St. Petersburg. That was the final straw, as he’d broken several probations prior to that.
So, the next time he finally returned to Russia he was arrested and sentenced. Not a single one of his acts of corrupt malfeasance would have flown in America, so the hypocrisy of any liberals/Democrats who claim he was unfairly persecuted is all too real.
I’ll comment briefly on Bucha. Russia called several UN Security Council meetings and things of that nature over Bucha when it first occurred, but of course most of it was down-played by the West or swept under the rug.
I’m not sure how much more Russia could do. Also, coincidentally there’s allegedly been a new initiative announced just days ago where Russia will be again enjoining the UN to investigate Britain’s involvement in the Bucha provocations, though I can’t find any corroboration yet on whether this is true:
The simple fact is that the Bucha falseflag happened right as Russia was leaving or had left the area in the mass pull out last year, which means Russia no longer had much power to do any investigating of its own, since it was no longer anywhere near the area and had no access there. So any effort was mostly futile as Russia was left with simple ‘complaints’ that fell on the deaf ears of the West. With that said, apparently Russia has just made a new film on Bucha, for which the trailer appeared a few days ago:
Do we have an approximate idea of how many anti air missile systems (s-400, Buk, Pantsir) Russia can produce and provide missiles for? It would seem that providing trained crews would be equally difficult, and if things escalate it would really pay to have tons of them.
Is this an area Russia has been trying to expand on?
Air Defense systems themselves are one of the objects taking the least losses for Russia in the conflict. The reason is fairly self-evident: most of these systems operate from the rear to the deep rear and therefore are not much in danger of Ukrainian strikes.
Thus, Russia has no major issue in supplying the systems themselves. For instance, even taking something like Oryx’s numbers as a base hypothetical, he currently lists exactly 18 Pantsir S1 systems destroyed and damaged total in the war so far. Damaged ones are usually repaired so the total destroyed is even far less. There’s no current exact figure for it but in the past Russia has produced upwards of 20+ Pantsir units for export per year. This is before any sort of war-economy ramp-ups during the SMO, so we can safely assume Russia is capable of producing even more.
That means, just using Pantsir as one example, if less than 20 total have been destroyed yet Russia can produce 20+ per year, and we’re already nearing the 2 year mark of the war, that means we can assume Russia has more than made up for the losses and has no problem keeping up with any relatively minor attrition.
There are similar numbers for TOR missile defense. And the real enterprise systems like S-300/400, very few if any of those have even been destroyed at all, as they operate from even the deeper rear, so there’s almost no attrition of that to even speak of. Even Oryx’s list has something like 2 or 3 maximum S-300 launchers confirmed destroyed while Russia is said to have over 2,000 total launchers (this doesn’t count S-400, of which it has another 500+ launchers). So, as you can see when it comes to these, there’s no attrition at all and no need to even talk about how many they can produce.
The much more pertinent question is of course production of the actual missiles/ammo for these systems. We don’t have the exact numbers but only the statements from officials months ago during Shoigu/Putin visits to the Almaz-Antey plants (manufacturer of S-300/400) which said that procurements for the missiles were increased “significantly”.
The quote’s not from the video of the Almaz-Antey plant visit below, but at least you can get an idea of the ongoing production:
I don’t think the missile ammo expenditure is much of an issue for Russia either. I’ve seen another quote from a related arms official which said something along the lines of—I’m paraphrasing—that for every HIMARs and Ukrainian munition in existence there’s already many AD missiles allocated. The reason is that, all things considered, the AFU is not actually firing much at Russia. The odd HIMARs/Storm Shadow strike here and there is a drop in the bucket, really. The only big expenditure is probably on drones but truth is, the vast majority of drone takedowns happens via EW stations, not missiles. So the total Russian AD missile expenditure is not as high as one might think—I don’t see much problem in this particular area.
But one thing you’re right on is that the bottleneck for Russia right now is the actual crews and troop numbers in general, not the systems themselves. But this is of course increasing slowly as Russian troop numbers expand with the ongoing stealth mobilization being carried out.
Hey Simp . Does Russia have an end game in mind .I mean are you privy to information concerning the long term intentions of the Russians
I think Russia’s long-term motivations are fluid. I’ve discussed before how Putin is using the SMO to reconfigure all of society, the economy, and global geopolitical structures. To do this, one must remain to some extent fluid and open to ‘adaptation’ to whatever the West does.
Sure, the ultimate goal of the SMO is for the full capitulation of Ukraine, but Putin knows that achieving this may not be ‘allowed’ by the West. Meaning, they may intervene before Ukraine has the chance to fully collapse or surrender, which means that Putin has to construct fluid goals that are much ‘larger’ than just Ukraine alone.
For instance, the biggest example of that which we’ve talked about here recently is Shoigu’s announced major expansions of the Russian army structure, in particular the addition of two new military districts of the Moscow and Leningrad districts to the existing Western/Northern/Southern/Eastern, which will be stewarded by a whole new ‘army’ group and a new army corps.
These are likely in response to some of these potentialities vis a vis the NATO endgame mentioned above. So what is the true Russian end game? The end game is the preservation of the Russian state at all costs which necessitates doing anything and everything necessary to continue combating NATO’s aggression and provocations, which may soon include things ‘outside of Ukraine’, i.e. Belarus, Transnistria, Kaliningrad, the Baltics, etc.
The point is that, Russia sees that NATO’s own end game is not merely “the defeat of Russia in Ukraine”. All that stuff you hear in the media about the goal being a simple return to 1991 borders or the removal of Russian troops from Ukrainian territory or even the capture of Crimea. These are all just figleaves meant to conceal a widening total war on Russia which is designed to effect the total collapse or break-up of the Russian state.
Knowing this, Putin is acting accordingly and treating Ukraine and the SMO as merely the visible outer shell of what is a much deeper conflict. The ramifications of that are manifold in terms of actual on-the-ground doctrine. For instance, it effects force disposition and how you use that force. Russia doesn’t want to fight in a manner which commits too many forces at any given time, knowing that NATO is now looking for a possible opening to catch Russia at a weak spot, overcommitted and bogged down.
Similarly, Russia itself may want to tie down certain NATO forces in certain areas, in order to keep them out of other areas. For instance, look at the recent Wagner hubbub and how it’s forcing Poland to redeploy major forces near Wagner.
All in all, while defeating Ukraine is a major objective, there are even bigger objectives which have unfortunately developed over the course of the conflict for which Russia must readjust its approach. It has to continue defeating Ukraine while focusing on strengthening its defenses in every sphere against the building NATO threat.
Speaking purely of the microcosmic Ukraine situation, though, we can say that Putin’s recent speeches gave us a few hints toward his possible ‘end game’-related approach in Ukraine. He stated that in his view, Ukraine is critically weakening, it’s running out of weapons, ammo, and even manpower, as he specifically commented on the fact that ‘Ukraine’s mobilization pool is not infinite’.
This to me gives us insight into his mindset, which clearly indicates that he believes that the AFU is getting close to structural collapse and that Russia’s current attritional strategy is working and will ultimately effect a total capitulation in the form of surrender or a ‘patriotic’ military overthrow of the leadership in Ukraine.
Do you think Putin truly believes that Russia is at war with the US, that the US is committed to Russia's destruction? If so, what can you say about Russian strategy and tactics to defeat its enemy beyond the Ukrainian battlefield, because is that not what's required? For example, will Russia retaliate in kind for the Nordstream pipeline. Will it seek a military alliance with Cuba or some other country close to US borders? How has Russia's foreign relations priorities changed? What is Russia going to do to put the US under pressure and cause it to bleed? Thanks.
This question mostly ties into the answer I just gave above. With that said, retaliating ‘tit-for-tat’ is not how you defeat an enemy. That’s just showmanship or grandstanding. The true art of war is about finding your enemy’s unique weaknesses and hitting them there. The U.S. and NATO’s weaknesses are not the same as that of Russia. So, why should Russia just blindly hit a NATO pipeline just because they hit Russia’s pipeline, for instance.
Russia has already begun a campaign of asymmetrical escalations which I’ve written about extensively before, particularly in Syria. There Russia has already facilitated a large increase in actions against the U.S. presence, which included what I suspected to be ISR/recon/intel sharing to Iranian proxies which launched massive attacks on American bases there, including ones which killed U.S. contractors/operatives/soldiers.
Also, the U.S. has experienced a huge uptick in explosions at key industrial plants which supply their weapons industry. Many believe this is not by coincidence. The most recent theory I’ve seen is that Russia/China could have been responsible for the huge Louisiana Dow Chemical plant which reportedly supplies chemicals critical to explosives manufacturing.
Ultimately, like I said, the key word is asymmetrical. Russia is concentrating more on the geopolitical/economic factors of moving the world away from the dollar as well as mediating reconciliations between various groups like Iran/KSA/Syria/Gulf states, etc., which all gravely harms the U.S. geopolitically.
Let’s not fool ourselves though, Russia is not the world’s superpower, so its responses are limited compared to what people are used to seeing being flaunted by the gungho U.S. Conversely, Russia’s work is a steady drip which is slowly loosening the bonds holding together the Western hegemonic order. Don’t expect Russia to make big splashy Hollywood-style retributions all over the globe.
Unlike the completely immoral U.S., Putin doesn’t operate in that fashion. Instead, he’s building economic inroads and completely re-balancing the global economic order, which in the grand scheme of things has a far greater effect in the long term. Let’s wait and see what happens with the awaited BRICS summit coming up on August 24th, not to mention the big Africa summit being hosted in St. Petersburg in only a few days on July 27th, which over 50 African countries will be attending.
My question is: How much do you see the war in Ukraine as being a religious war with the Vatican motivating countries of Western and Eastern Europe to go against Russia and eliminate the Russian Orthodox church? I see Rome in eschatological terms seeking to establish a one world religion. I believe that Vatican is the main force instigating all the attacks on Russia such as the Crimean War, the Russo-Japanese war, Germany's invasion of Russia during World War I and World War II.
I never really thought of it with that angle, particularly because being the fastest growing religion in the world, Islam would logically seem to be the greatest ‘threat’ to the Vatican, not little old Eastern Orthodoxy.
Maybe there’s something to what you said back in the previous eras of the wars you mention, but today’s Vatican is barely hanging on to its own power, I’m not sure how much influence it has to the degree you mention.
Sure, there’s theories of a wider Vatican power, for instance through control of the Rothschild banking system. The Rothschilds were once the Vatican’s official personal bankers (maybe still are)—here’s from Wikipedia:
But it’s difficult to say what true power they have to this day. There certainly could be some type of esoteric ties by way of ‘ancient blood oaths’ which allow the Vatican to have outsize influence in the world but unfortunately I can’t speak with any certainty on it.
It’s possible, but logically speaking, one can find a lot “bigger fish to fry” for the Vatican than Russia or the Orthodox faith. If they are completely compromised and tied into the Global Homogeny project aka one world government, then I suppose it’s possible.
I do see the conflict as a sort of esoteric holy war against Russia, just not through the Vatican but rather the Western/Atlanticist/Banking cabal and the ancient religions they may ascribe to which can be said to vastly pre-date the Vatican’s faith.
I’m curious as to why we haven’t seen a much wider and heavier use of Russian tactical air support. Appreciate that Ukrainian MANPADS are a potential problem, but wouldn’t have thought that alone would have been enough to shut down the airspace over the battlefield. Any ideas on this?
Many thanks for your writing - greatly appreciated.
I think calling Manpads a mere “potential” problem is understating it a bit. They’re a pretty huge problem. Literally tens of thousands of anti-air missiles have been sent to Ukraine, exponentially more than were sent to Afghanistan in the 80s.
Nearly every unit has them, every bush and hedge-line is crawling with them.
And then, they’re not even the biggest problem—which says something. Ukraine still maintains an extremely lethal frontline AD threat, which is difficult to root out as their AD systems typically operate in cold mode, keeping radars off and relying on forward observers to report aircraft movement. Then, they turn the radars on briefly once the object is already known and being visually tracked, allowing them to stay undetected and not give a constant radar signal which can be easily hunted by SEAD/DEAD anti-radiation missiles, etc.
So, while Manpads present a huge problem, I would say that their frontline SHORAD systems are likely an even bigger one. The BUKS they typically have 10-20km behind the FLOT are very powerful and can take down a Russian airframe as soon as it blips up above radar horizon, as we once witnessed in an infamous Ka-52 shoot down video where two Ka-52s are flying together, but only one goes slightly too high and is instantly melted by a BUK (we know it’s a BUK specifically by its particular attack profile).
Besides this, though, by far the largest issue in general for any tac-air shortcomings has been Russia’s lack of guided munitions for these frontline platforms. The types of guided munitions they did have were laser guided bombs that still require you to overfly the enemy, like Kab-500s, etc. These Russia actually did have a fairly good amount of, and commonly used them in Syria. But like I said, since they don’t glide, you still have to drop them from relatively close distances and high-altitude, which easily puts you on AD screens.
The real trick for successful tac-air support in that regard is to have a lot of at least medium range stand-off weapons, whether they’re TV guided missiles with 40-60km ranges or JDAM-esque glide bombs.
Now, Russia is reportedly widely using the new JDAMs and also more of the TV guided variety as well. They already were shooting a lot of the LMUR Iz.305 missiles and now the Kh-59s as well. In fact, I’ve recently shown photos of how they’re expanding the UMPC glide-bomb use so much that they’re even now outfitted them to older Su-24s in order to get a maximum amount of airframes that can carry them.
But also remember, when talking about frontline support, we can’t ignore the massive usage and contribution of Russia’s rotary wing craft. After all, doesn’t that qualify as tactical air support? Russia’s usage of Ka-52, Mi-8MT, Mi-24/35, Mi-28, etc., has likely been by far the widest and most successful usage of attack copters in any conflict in history, going off of the pure numbers of kills—so we can’t ignore that. Too many people focus on the “inaccurate” cabriolet style shooting of dumbfire NARs into the air and ignore the trove of daily guided Vikhr missile kills on enemy armor.
Choppers have a distinct advantage as they can hover just above treeline and just below radar horizon and get their pinpoint kills. Also, much more of them are outfitted with advanced DIRCMs like Rychag AV and Vitebsk L-370 so they become much more immune to the Manpad threat compared to fighter jets.
But in terms of fixed wing, the biggest issue has been the lack of proper munitions and the targeting pods necessary, which don’t exist on many of the planes. The Russian Su-34 is really the only plane with a proper targeting pod that can potentially hunt its own ground targets (this doesn’t count simply launching guided bombs with pre-inputted coordinates of the Glonass/GPS variety, which other platforms can do). The Su-25M3 has a Shkval sighting pod but it’s on the nose and the plane basically has to ‘dive-bomb’ toward the target to use it.
Also, the other biggest bottleneck is simply the ISR. Russian aircraft can’t hit targets they don’t have or aren’t given. Ukraine has become very adept at hiding all their important assets and I’d say the largest bottleneck by far in general is recon/intel. The AFU has moled up and digs in well, operating in large underground structures/facilities, hides and camouflages their equipment well, particularly in civilian areas which are hard to hit for obvious reasons.
The increase in drone technology and mass production of reconnaissance drones is having a large multiplier effect for Russia as it allows them to find targets more effectively then transmit them to the appropriate centers for processing with aircraft. But besides the rare times when the AFU goes on a mass offensive and brings all their gear out in the open, they dig in and hide very well, having inherited the Soviet maskirovka traditions.
Hello Simplicius, and thank you very much indeed for your great work. What do you make of Andrei Martyanov's assessment (which I absolutely agree with) that in regard to the ongoing conflict and the larger geopolitical game, BRICS is in fact "RIC", because B&S are weak links bending to US pressures whenever the going gets tough?
Many people have recently argued that even the ‘RIC’ doesn’t exist because China and India are at each other’s throats. While all of this is true on the surface, it ignores one particular consideration or way of viewing the topic.
That is, one has to remember that the whole point of the BRICS-sponsored ‘multipolarity’ shift is to move away from the previously dominant mode of thinking where a unipolar hegemon dominates while all the vassals of his particular ‘bloc’ simply take orders and do his bidding. That is to say, the entire philosophical ethos of the new multipolar world order is to create a type of structure where you can in fact disagree and not see ‘eye to eye’ with other members of your community. That means to some extent, the fact that the BRICS nations are not completely subordinated to the dominant vision of the group means they’re expressing the exact foundational philosophy with which they’re purposed.
Of course, we can’t get too carried away and use that to excuse every possible rift and potentially fundamental incongruity. Maybe it’s true that BRICS will never make it by virtue of their fundamental disagreements or differences. That could certainly be possible, so I’m not trying to make excuses for them.
But we can’t ignore the reality that the BRICS nations are expressing the exact type of neo-Westphalian vision for which they’ve been striving. This vision maintains that it’s okay to not be in total agreement on everything, it’s okay to not tote the ‘company line’ like required by all Western-based blocs, whether it’s NATO, the EU, G7, etc., where any type of dissent is completely prohibited and will result in your country being destroyed by IMF-style economic terrorism or your leaders simply being overthrown by a ‘popular (color) revolution’.
I think that the BRICS nations actually realize this, and they understand that the new vision of the post-Western world requires them to work together on certain key overriding initiatives while still allowing the necessary breathing room for them to disagree on various ancillary issues. This is what true independence, sovereignty, and multipolarity entail.
Does this extend to some of the members being possible pawns of the U.S. as you suggest? Well, probably not. But it’s arguable how much influence the U.S. has on the aforementioned countries, as they take plenty of anti-U.S. actions as well. While they may ‘bend’ to U.S. pressure at times, I’m not sure it would be a fair characterization of them to say they’re outright pawns so I would say they have still demonstrated enough initiative toward the broader Russia-China-multipolarity movement as to qualify themselves into the latter camp.
With that said, I’m still not necessarily saying that BRICS is the end-all-be-all, however the broader multipolarity and de-dollarization movements are of greater scope than the BRICS themselves, anyway. Just look at India-Indonesia’s recent initiative towards trade settlement in national currencies.
Good morning. It is amazing to watch Russia implement the new standard for future war. The nimbleness required for that flies in the face of the rigid/Soviet narrative. So my question is will China and America adjust accordingly or is beurocratic inertia in the MIC too much to overcome? Thank you.
Much of the ‘rigid Soviet structure’ narrative is just Western boilerplate propaganda with no real foundation in reality, or at least great exaggeration. I’ve debunked it before in much more detail in articles like this one:
But in general, the idea is mostly premised on the fact that Russia didn’t privilege an NCO corps as much as Western countries, and NCOs in NATO militaries are regarded as the backbone of the army, allegedly endowing them with independent ‘initiative’ on the ground. But Russia has NCOs too, their armed forces are just not as heavily weighed in that direction.
As you correctly stated, it’s much more recently that Russia’s capabilities in this avenue have opened up even more in response to battlefield necessities. So as to your question of will the U.S. adjust—well, according to the U.S.’s own position, they have nothing to adjust to since they’re already premier in those areas of small unit tactics and combat self-sufficiency, right?
In terms of adapting to Russian advancements, we see some languid attempts in this direction. For instance, in the last report I’d posted about the new focus on building trenches and trench warfare in Fort Moore/Benning training recently. Last month I had reported on a big series of exercises in Virginia which appeared highly targeted toward combating Russia’s new tactics. It saw U.S. soldiers training against mockups of Russian Geran drones, including training on using various types of drones to take out mockups of Russian AD systems, etc. Also, check this video of U.S.’s elite 101st airborne training “against Russian tactics” (according to their commander) in Romania last year.
So if your question was will the U.S. adjust to Russia’s own advancements, then that’s the answer. I believe they definitely are watching and learning as much as they can. However, it’s very unlikely they will give up their technological creature comforts in a large-scale way so as to make a big difference, as such things would take huge structural reforms that are in no way possible in today’s faltering U.S. army climate.
The Dr. Karber talk at West Point I often post discusses much of this. The U.S. army operates with a huge baggage of technological signal exposure which creates the types of convenience in rear C2/C3 areas that U.S. has come to count on and has become inured to, but which would become easy glowing targets for Russia. I simply don’t see them ‘adapting’ out of this and learning to fight in a flexible underground and pared down manner in the way Russia has done against the AFU’s own NATO-based ISR capabilities. The way Russia has adapted, and continues to evolve in real time—that type of resilience and flexibility, I simply don’t think the U.S. armed forces is capable of anymore, at least not in such an on the fly manner. Their war machine has grown far too rigid and bureaucratic and is now famously more concerned with DEI initiatives than battlefield tactical advancements. Maybe a few decades of think-tank churn will allow them to process the results and begin to adapt them.
At the Vilnius summit, NATO members agreed to expand the Rapid Deployment Force to 300,000. What do you think Russia's response to that will be?
On one hand, Russia has already made several responses, one of which was the Wagner redeployment. Note that initially, the Wagner camp was said to be somewhere in the south of Belarus, closer to Kiev, which gave Ukraine a big fright. But eventually, after the NATO summit, as I understand it the new camp is now much closer to the Suwalki corridor in northwest Belarus, in the town of Osipovichi:
Russia also announced the deployment of new forces closer to their Western border, which includes near Finland, as well as deploying certain strategic equipment there like Iskanders in Kaliningrad, etc.
The largest of all, of course, was the decision to deploy nuclear weapons in Belarus. There’s no bigger or clearer a symbol of escalation or deterrence than that. And last I heard, the weapons have already confirmed as being deployed to Belarus, contrary to reports they were still working out the storages and things of that nature from a month or two ago.
But, with all of this said, one important point that no one has made yet about these developments is that in some ways, much of this NATO 300k stuff is just empty blather.
They used the same exact threat over and over years ago. Here’s an article from 2016:
Then another one from last year:
How many times can you rehash the same bogus bluff?
Now, again we hear the same old tired threat:
It seems they roll this thing out every year. They were “mulling” it in 2016, and now they’re still “mulling” it in 2023. If NATO still exists in 2030 (not likely), they’ll probably still be mulling it.
Of course, that doesn’t mean there’s no threat. There have been some tangible movements, like Biden’s recent activation of 3,000 reservists to send to Europe:
But it’s a far cry from 300k, unless they forgot a few zeroes.
The truth is, in many ways, NATO is a paper tiger that does a lot of roaring and yowling to present a false front of strength and solidarity, but internally I’m not sure how much actual concensus exists on such grand gestures.
In the end, an empty announcement by a cheap mouthpiece like Stoltenberg doesn’t mean much. We’ll have to wait and see if they actually follow through with tangible moves in this regard. But for now, I think the Belarusian nukes and a rabid, foaming Wagner on their doorstep are enough to fill their scrawny technocrats with enough dread as to delay any such bravado.
That’s all for now, folks. Tune in next time for Part 2, which may come in a few days, likely after a new regular report/update/sitrep.
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