Oct 5, 2022·edited Oct 5, 2022

As usual, a brilliant analysis and article. Always look forward to these and am never disappointed.

At this point Russia seems to be waging a war of attrition, not a war of territorial gain. Their object appears to be stall for time whilst destroying as much of the Ukrainian military, weaponry and resources as possible, in anticipation of their counter-offensive to be initiated when the ground hardens. At that point, Ukraine and the West will be harshly introduced to reality.

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Incha'a Allah! Yes, please.

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It's a long-winded load of crap.

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Oct 5, 2022·edited Oct 5, 2022

Interesting post. I do find it very hard to believe that things are as bad for Russia as the the western media say. I also find it very hard to believe Putin and his military leaders are this incompetent. Here in the US, I see the daily stories in the news about how Russia is being humiliated. I've learned that, when all the media say one thing, the opposite is usually true. I think the reality check is coming, and all the sheeple who believed the MSM's narrative are going to be very surprised.

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Wasn't just MSM's narrative...... its every major media outlet in the West.

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True. The only place I seem to find good info is the Coffee & Covid blog, and lately, I just stumbled up this substack as well. I read Daily Mail online for the entertainment value, but their Russia stories are beyond ridiculous.

The only reason Ukraine has lasted this long is because of the billions of taxdollars our esteemed leader, Mr. Potato Head, has sent them.

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Oct 5, 2022·edited Oct 6, 2022

"True. The only place I seem to find good info is the Coffee & Covid blog, and lately, I just stumbled up this substack as well."

Here is a lot more to read:

Larry Johnson's Blog (A Son of the New American Revolution):


Andrei Martyanov's Blog (Reminiscence of the Future... Si Vis Pacem, Para Vinum):


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Moon of Alabama does decent SitReps

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Larry especially cuts through all the AngloZionist propaganda bullshit.

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Why don't you go to thesaker.is?

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Saker is always out of date. Always behind events.

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try Alexander Mercouris at The Duran

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there are several good interviews with retired Col. Douglas MacGregor which are up on You Tube as well as Larry Johnson's blog and The Saker. On Cable tv only Tucker Carlson is contradicting the MSM 's rabidly pro Ukrainian propaganda ...

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" ... and all the sheeple who believed the MSM's narrative are going to be very surprised."

Hoo-HAH! And just what sheeple do YOU know about?

The sheeple I know of won't be surprised in the least. Whatever happens will roll off them like water off a duck. When they finally hear the truth (IFF that actually happens), they will pack the SUV for the tail-gate party before The Big Game and set off for the stadium.

Take notice of war in Europe? Good golly, Miss Molly! You know entirely different sheeple from the ones I know of.

They have NO idea. And they don't pay attention to MSM. (Or anything else.) That, too, rolls off them like water off a duck.

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So long as we ignore minor land changes but count the casualties instead, Russia is winning the last month by a mile - probably the best month of the war.

Meanwhile Ukraine is running quickly out of equipment, and it suppliers have little left.

The curious thing is why Russia isn't bragging about how many it has killed. It should be easy to present the last month as success.

The negative mood seems deliberate.

Encouraging Ukraine to push more troops into artillery range? Justify the call up? Preparing a surprise? Watch this space.

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Russia is trying to fight 'the good war' (hearts and minds of both Russians and Ukrainians), so boasting about dead Ukrainians probably not a good optic.

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You are almost certainly right. MbS would not have confronted the US with OPEC+ production cut if he thought that Russia was out of the game. No way.

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I don't get this OPEC stuff.

Economies are weakening. Forward prices are much lower than short term prices and have been for months. The Oil market screams that prices are falling as the short term squeeze is resolving itself. Forget Russia/US. The Opec production cut is smaller than the market requires. This was not a favour to Russia.

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Thanks for the political read. It is similar to one of the scenarios my mind is entertaining. I don't pretend to "know". It is also possible that Russian massed-forces await a concerted NATO attack, or that they forestall one. 41 years and counting that I know that "I should read Clausewitz", and I still have not. Art Of War by Sun Tzu is a very easy read, and how much one gets out of it depends upon the person. Everybody gets something.

Putin has done with patience what most rulers do with lies that the invaders are coming.

His conception of time is driving the west bonkers. He is so patient.

We shall see if this winter-offensive comes as you say. It is rational.

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At the risk of offering my own work unsolicited I have written 3 short chapters on the Eastern and Western approaches to strategy (based on insights from Sun Tzu and Clausewitz) with the final chapter comparing the key differences. It mainly aimed (though not entirely) at a business audience https://marcusguest.medium.com/the-eastern-approach-to-strategy-420e1bbf7056

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Sorry to keep replying, but I see that Russia/Putin has been accumulating "Shi" in the management of this existential war against the corrosive western short-term-profit and resource-extracting world management style.

This is timely in history.

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Oct 6, 2022·edited Oct 6, 2022

No apologies necessary John.

Some Western commentators use the expression that Putin is playing chess while Western leaders are playing chequers but, as I try to show in the final (longer) chapter, it’s more like he’s playing weiqi or Go. I agree with you that appears to have mastered multiple levels of shi, including learning how to cultivate alliances with leaders in mutually antagonistic counties (India/China, India/Pakistan, Saudi/Iran, Israel/Syria). This cultivating of advantage from conditions, which is possibly the difference between Russia’s economy withstanding sanctions or not, is at a level far beyond anything any current Western statesman could pull off.

The main question I have though is whether Putin is being used by Xi in the classic Chinese stratagem of ‘using far barbarians (Russia) to defeat near barbarians (US at the gate of China)’. And, if so, he is allowing his country to be used willingly in this phase of a longer war?

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Thank You, Marcus. Putin and Xi are clearly using each other to mutual advantage, and limiting their commitments to what is necessary, though that level of commitment is quite a lot right now, right?

Russians and Chinese have always been wary and have sniped at each other and skirmeshed on borders. Now though, it appears that the near-barbarians must be used against the far-barbarians, if I am not mistaken.

Of course, problems will arise later if Russia and China and the BRICS(+) and SCO et.al. prevail.

I think history favors the productive alliance prevailing over the extractive and punishing alliance, which is late in it's life and deeply corrupted. What BRICS(+) & friends propose is less heirarchical and more efficient, with the better efficiency in terms of production and also meeting production to needs at ground-level.

You mention the communication between upper and lower levels, and rapidity of response to needs and opportunities as being key to success. I think we have all experienced this in life.

One should never hesitate to promptly accept a serendipitous gift of circumstance.

One should always see such gifts of circumstance at first glance, lock gaze and gratefully accept.

You mention complexity and the mastering of relations with adversaries without choosing an adversarial side. These complex relations are often calle "Byzantine" in the west, and I like that term. It is well applied.

Byzantium, the eastern-Rome was different, and lasted longer, and lives on in Moscow (I am told).

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Oct 6, 2022·edited Oct 6, 2022

Moscow does believe itself to be the third Rome, the inheritor of true western values. Yet is also a multicultural city and the capital of a multicultural federal state. It is this, Byzantium, complexity that may give it a chance in maintaining an effective relationship with all-important China going forward. The fates of all of us are tied up in their fortunes (now that that have crossed the Rubicon). Can they do better than where western hegemony has led us to?

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That is my view of the flow of history. The current global financial empire is basically too inefficient, to the point of consuming production-centers and not making new ones.

Just on negative-efficiency it is doomed. There has been so much further corruption of the corrupt system that the Ponzi scheme is breaking and war is the "solution".

This severe, corrosive short-termism should doom the global $US based financial empire (but when?). https://www.unz.com/article/love-letter-to-ireland/?utm_source=email&utm_campaign=article

The parasitic "owners" are bound to have already hedged their bets with BRICS(+)/SCO etc.

It is really essential that the nature of the game change to support long term investment, and increase the efficiency of providing for human needs as the age of cheap energy and mineral resources has recently gone into terminal decline.

That being said, the "essential" does not always happen in history. I am hopeful that it will this time. I grow substantial vegetable gardens year round in central Texas.

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I have now sent the Honda B story to my older son, who is an engineer for a Japanese company in the US, and very interested in Japan since high school (he studied and studies Japanese).

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I am reading your work with interest. I enjoyed the Honda vs. Yamaha story. I see you read Samo Burja. I am impressed with his "Great Founder" theory of bureaucracy.

I presume you have also read "The Book Of Five Rings", which I read in high school, which I attended in Japan. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Book_of_Five_Rings

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Thank you John. Really like Samo’s framing of live players — those capable of going off-script and doing things they’ve never done before. That he gave Putin and Xi as examples of this makes him look prescient.

Book of five rings also very good.

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Excellent new substack. I've been recommending it to others as an example of clear thinking on the war. One especially insightful point is how the West's anti-Russia strategy has strengthened Russia nationalism to the point that a (partial) mass mobilization is even possible. So once again the neocons' strategy has backfired and created the very thing they were purporting to prevent--i.e., a motivated and militarily capable Great Power opponent.

Alas, I fear the actual cabal that runs our foreign policy (and hence much of the world), actually loves this outcome. A new Cold War with warring hostile camps just furthers their true objectives: i.e., for them to acquire and wield more money, more power, more secrecy, more propaganda, more surveillance, and more suppression of dissent. They literally don't care if Ukraine actually wins or loses on the battlefield. Either way, the Cabal gets more. Only peace is bad for their business.

Sadly, this may be the real way in which war is an extension of (internal U.S.) politics by other means.

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Yeap, you're probably correct - it's one, or the other. I'm not sure the hardliners in Moscow would have tolerated total incompetence for this long if this has been a gigantic clusterf.... but I guess we'll have a clearer idea as winter advances. Personally I think the situation is much more worrying if it turns out that Russia does feel like it's being backed in to a corner. That said though the next couple of months look interesting, whichever way it bounces. Enjoyed your well thought out analysis

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Oct 5, 2022·edited Oct 5, 2022

Russia is not simply withdrawing. It has lost thousands of square kilometres. When they taken Liman, it was said to be an important strategic location to attack other cities of Donetsk oblast. Now they want to sell it off as an unimportant location. The truth is that Russia is not able to compete against NATO. The Ukrainians can count on endless military support not only for weapons but also for manpower (mercenearies) and intelligence. 200,000 poorly trained russian soldiers will make no difference to win this war. If you want to win a war you must destroy basic infrastructure, elsewhere the winner is the one with more resources. In 8 months they were not even capable to stop the shelling of Donetsk and I believe there will not be any winter military campaign. Russia would simply try to defend what remains in his hands

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Oct 6, 2022·edited Oct 6, 2022

Lyman was to be a jumping off point to attack Slavyansk, and therefore was considered highly strategic. However, as events developed it became apparent that the forests outside of Lyman towards Slavyansk permitted the Ukrainians to dig in quite effectively. The costs involved in removing those barriers would have been too high, especially since there were other options available. So Lyman became unimportant and was abandoned - but not before they inflicted very heavy casualties on the advancing Ukes - all part of their war of attrition - gaining territory is not near as important as inflicting damage on the enemy.

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Re. Liman:

Granting that every side in a war engages in a huge amount of PR, is it not possible that a location has both of the following features?

(1) Serving as a transport hub, it is of much strategic value during offense, but

(2) Lacking geographical advantages such as height, a huge water barrier or forest cover, it is of little value in a defensive posture.

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Check the map - just a mile south of Lyman is the Siverskyi Donets river, just to the west is the Oskil, and there's plenty of forest to the south and west as well. IIRC the original claim was that the Russians were setting up their new defensive lines along the Oskil, as it's a major north-south river in the area. That seems like pretty good defensive ground.

Also, a place that has easy access to transport on the offense has easy access to reinforcements on the defense - they aren't totally separate.

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This comment has aged poorly. NATO is running out of weapons and manpower.

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Cutting oil production by 1-2 million barrels/day continues the war & increases the assault on the economic/attrition front.

Word is 1 line of Nordstream 2 was missed, so some gas could still be delivered if Germany chose.

And I've read & seen videos from multiple good sources showing the massive build up. 800+ planes, long long lines of tanks on the move to...somewhere.

I'd say we're in the eye of the storm. And the second part is where the storm surge is worst.

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Thanks for joining up the politics with the war on the ground. Excellent analysis.

I am reading Dominic Lieven’s book “Russia Against Napoleon”. Taking me longer than I want. But clear that the Russian Army was very prepared to exchange territory for time right from the start as a strategy. It also led io disagreement within Russia and it seems when Barclay de Tolly ordered the retreat from Smolensk that he was in a minority of one. But, ultimately Russia won and her troops defeated Napoleon. British audiences often forget that it was Russian troops that entered Paris in 1814. Fighting Russia never works and the foolish western childlike politicians have now awakened the Bear and goaded him too much.

Just as Russia starts her winter offensive, Europe will no doubt also be out of gas and everyone will also be freezing cold.

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I like you're observations but I think you've missed an important point - the citizens of the Donbass will feel they're abandoned when an Ukrainian offensive pushes Russian armed forces back, after Russian promises to protect them (and we know what violence will be visited on Ukrainian "traitors").

It also feeds the Western propaganda, no matter how absurd, something Russia needs to get ahead of when yet more false flag efforts are presented to the world.

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I suspect, without knowing, that Putin did not anticipate the significant USA contribution of money and arms to the war.

Zelensky appears to have little aptitude for military strategy and tactics, so the Ukrainian military leaders have to carry the management of all efforts. With the USA misinformation it is impossible to know what reality is.

As the article states, Putin, who is a serious student of the "Art of War", I believe is not to be underestimated.

The initial feint to attack Kiev town and then quickly pull out may have been such a move to distract and draw resources, as the move was far from significant Russian support for it to continue.

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Do you have any proof that he has read Sun Tzu’s seminal work?

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It is taught in ALL the USA military academies, and on line says the Russian generals have read it, so safe assumption that a KGB general has it in his head.

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Sun Tzu is total bullshiite . . . warfare has evolved from horseback, carrier pigeons, swords and arrows to drones, satellite communications, missiles, and robots . . .

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That isn’t proof. By strategy and tactics the Ukrainians have read it. Russian strategy and tactics show no sign.

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No proof, just a recollection from long ago, and the recognition of the pattern of some tactics and strategies., reviewed here.


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I truly enjoyed reading this thrilling analysis. *What has happened in the months since February 24 is rather remarkable. The existential war for the Russian nation has been incarnated and made real for Russian citizens. Sanctions and anti-Russian propaganda - demonizing the entire nation as “orcs” - has rallied even initially skeptical Russians behind the war, and Putin’s approval rating has soared. A core western assumption, that Russians would turn on the government, has reversed." How is is that so few people are ready to understand this?

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The real war is about to begin and it will expand the initial military operation into a totally different political, financial and industrial dimension.

Things have changed much on the geopolitical board since last February and it seems that this is requiring Russia to undergo a rather deep restructuring all the way from the frontline to intelligence and international alliances, far beyond the initial tactical or even strategical efforts.

Now is Russia itself being military attacked, and their still so considered Ukrainian brothers can’t be the real enemy. This goes in a similar way as Germany, France nor Italy can’t be either considered real enemies to Russia after the infamous US act of estate terrorism on the Nordstream infrastructure.

Russia which has so far proven not to be interested in playing the western propaganda tricks but to abide to international law and order, while on the battlefield has likely tried to reduce to a minimum the human losses - on both sides of the conflict.

At this point is that pathological cabal driving the whole West as a single entity from their unspecified headquarters in the anglosaxon world which should be targeted as the sole Russian enemy. Through trickery and deceit they despise not only international law and diplomacy but even their own population and their actions don’t even seem to be just economically or financially motivated but something destructive beyond that.

Civilisation itself is turning out to be at stake in this conflict: let’s cross fingers that Russia and its allies are able to assess the situation and target things in the best interest of the whole world.

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This is a great article, but I have a rather different view. Here is my view as expressed in a comment on a different site:

"Many have characterized Putin as extremely cautious and careful. I think there is some truth in that and I think those traits can be useful in certain contexts. It may for example have been useful in the difficult decade after the disastrous 1990s helping the country to recover and start rebuilding. But there are contexts in which excessive caution can be very bad and turn into timidity and vacillation, and that seems to have been increasingly the case in the past decade. Once Russia had recovered by about 2008 Putin and the leadership simply sat and did nothing instead of taking serious steps to diversity the economy, to shift its reserves out of dollars into gold held in Russia, to protect it from the economic war that was certainly going to come. Ukraine in 2014 was simply a disaster for Russia, because decisive intervention to support a legitimate democratically elected president (no matter that he was a corrupt scumbag) would very likely have been successful. Yes, sanctions would have followed but they did anyway, and would have been much more limited than now, and given the Russian economy a better chance to diversify and protect itself. The current intervention has been a total disaster precisely because of Putin's timidity, hesitation, and penchant for doing as little as possible as long as possible. In a war excessive caution can be the most disastrous thing one can possibly do and this has been the case here. Even now the partial mobilization is a half measure and far, far too little. With the professional army who should be there to do the retraining and provide the crucial officers and NCOs now stuck in Ukraine or absent (having not renewed their 6 month contrasts in disgust) throwing 300 000 men with little preparation or training and lacking experienced officers and NCOs, and probably quite poorly equipped, against what the Ukraine now has - a well trained, very well equipped, well lead and experienced army of at least 400 000 men with high morale and victories behind them and all the support NATO can give - is a recipe for a further and much bigger disaster than what has unfolded recently. How is it that Putin has not yet got it into his head that this is not an "anti-terrorist operation", it's a fucking war, and a bloody big one. It was of course in February. When one starts something like that you can't just do half and quarter measures - in war, and this was war from February (not a bloody special military operation) its all or nothing. You have to use all the force at your command and act swiftly and decisively not fiddle around with quarter measures and sit on your butt doing nothing. The stakes for Russia today are very high, and failure will mean far more than just losing Ukraine and Crimea. Believe me, the empire and NATO won't show any mercy, they will surely destroy Russia and properly this time. Stalin may have been a murderous psychopathic bastard but I'm afraid that's probably what they need now if they are to save themselves."

I very much hope you are right and I am wrong!

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I really don't understand why 300.000 ex-contract reservists should be considered "poorly trained" while a composite force of likely 300.000 UAF soldiers only a fraction of which allegedly trained to Western standards for a few weeks in the UK or some EU Country should be considered well trained and well led.

This perspective is strongly biased. Russia is not mobilizing conscripts. She is mobilizing people that already served (most of them in the last ten years, if I'm not wrong). At least nominally, we are talking about people with previous military experience.

The recent successes of the UAF are more correlated with the sparseness of Russian defenses than they are with UAF competence. Tactics that employ mobile forces wreaking havoc ISIS-style while running around in pickups or Humvees is only practicable as long as the front line is porous and armored formation presence marginal.

And yet this successes are shaping the perception of people around the world.

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Well, I hope you are right, but let me clarify a few things. The people being mobilized in Russia have had military training but have been living as civilians for some time, maybe many years. The purpose of basic military training (boot camp) is not to teach skills. As someone who was in the military for a year and went through basic training I can attest (as military experts well know) that the purpose of basic training is not to teach skills. It's to shake people out of their civilian mindsets and to drum military discipline and group cohesion into them. This typically takes about 3 months, but with previously trained people and really good professionals doing the training can probably be done in about 6 weeks but that's probably an absolute minimum. This is crucial for any army to function well because without that they're basically just a rabble. The problem with Russia's mobilization is that most of the professional army (soldiers on 6 month contracts) were sent to the Ukraine so that conscripts would not have to go. After 6 months in the Ukraine it appears many refused to renew their 6 month contracts and went home (this should not have been allowed to happen), and this is a big part of the reason why the Russians are so terribly short of manpower now in the Ukraine. But as importantly there is now a massive shortage of professional soldiers to do the basic training of the newly mobilized and to provide the experienced officers and NCOs that would be absolutely critical to make a mass of newly mobilized men into an effective fighting force. Experienced and competent officers and NCOs are the absolute backbone of any army and I fear these 300 000 may be severely deficient in that.

NATO, because that's what running the Ukies war and making all the decisions, have been smart. Early in the war they withdrew most of the Ukies professional and experienced military to be thoroughly retrained, most in Ukraine but also in Poland and UK, and fully equipped with modern armour and weaponry, of which they now have an abundance. So from March to July they cynically pushed their reserves, less trained and poorly equipped, to the fronts to hold the lines while their main forces was being retrained and re-equipped. Of course these reserves got chewed up by the Russian artilleries and suffered dreadful casualties. They lost quite a bit of ground but basically did hold well enough until the newly retrained started being fed back in from about July. Then resistance stiffened and Russian advances stalled. Then about a month ago the Ukies started throwing most of these new troops in and that's when the shit started hitting the fan. Make no mistake these are not ISIS style irregulars in pickups. They are now well trained, very well equipped, have masses of modern armour, hugely outnumber the depleted Russians (and militias) and with each success their morale rises further.

The only things now in Russia's favour are that some competent front line generals have managed just in time successful withdrawals that have averted real military disasters. And the arrival of the mud may halt or slow the Ukies until Russian reinforcements arrive in sufficient numbers to stiffen their lines. This may hold things but it won't win the war. My basic point is that the conduct of the war by Putin and the leadership (and the Russian high commend sitting in Moscow) has been woefully inadequate and that either they must be replaced or they need to understand very quickly that Russia will need not a partial mobilization but a full and total mobilization, both military and economic, to win this war and the longer they fail to realize this the more difficult winning will be, and the more likely a disastrous and humiliating defeat may become.

Well, I hope this is wrong but I'm afraid I don't think so.

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I'm not saying the UAF soldiers are like ISIS irregulars.

I'm saying they have been using ISIS-like tactics that are effective right now because of the sparseness of Russian lines but that I don't expect to be as effective once those lines are adequately manned.

The fact that these tactics had to be developed in the first place, in order to achieve a few successes in september and october, seems to me to be an acknowledgement that ordinary military assault tactics against an enemy like the Russian Army, that is superior in artillery, aviation and armored firepower was not sustainable for Ukraine.

I would also point out that Russian frontline generals didn't appear to have simply managed "just in time withdrawals".

In Izyum, in Kherson and at Krasny Liman we witnessed very methodical and calm maneuvers. It was decided to fight fighting withdrawals that were meant to inflict serious damage on the attackers while withdrawing just before the cost for the defenders was deemed to likeliky be on the verge of becoming too high.

My point is that the systematic nature of these actions points to a deliberate decision, given the contingency the RuAF found itself in.

According to the reports (assuming they are somewhat accurate) Lyman was actually surrounded for a brief period of time. When it happened, the RuAF sent in armored formations to break the encirclement and withdraw the Cossack garrison, that managed to leave without suffering serious losses.

There is also one more issue in my opinion with the over-emphasization of the efficiency of the UAF Army.

The West has been training and preparing a new UAF Army since 2015, after the Minsk II agreements froze the conflict.

I'm not convinced that during the last six months the Russians fought only badly trained cannon fodder. More than once they actually fought and defeated some of the best and most motivated formations in the UAF Army.

They did so in Mariupol for instance, and they did it in the Izyum direction in the spring.

I don't want to underestimate the capability of the UAF soldiers. But my impression is that what is happening is rather the contrary. the fact that the UAF managed to advance quickly on mostly empty or sparsely defended territory made them looks more efficient than they actually are, mostly because the condition under which these advances happened have not been appropriately taken into account.

I guess we will know in the next few months.

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Well I agree we will find out over the winter. Oh, and I didn’t mean to imply the Ukrainians have a super army. But they do now have one that is very well equipped, has been NATO trained has all the support NATO can give. And it’s highly likely the real leadership and decision making is NATO, not Z or the Ukrainian command. And while most NATO militaries except the US are small and inexperienced, they are very well trained and highly professional, particularly the leadership. I have no doubt whatsoever that the Ukrainian army would be smashed if the Russian leadership would start taking this seriously and mobilized fully, and that includes the economy. But the longer this drags on and the longer the leadership hesitates the more difficult and costly this becomes. And the more likely NATO are so emboldened that they start moving in troops (openly or covertly) resulting in escalation that could well lead to nuclear war.

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Ukraine started its mobilization at the start of the war six months ago, and took months before it launched any major counteroffensives. Why do you think they only had a few weeks to train?

Russia, on the other hand, started its mobilization two weeks ago and needs fresh troops on the front yesterday. And the professional soldiers who should be showing the newbies the ropes have been ground down by six months of combat. Not a great environment for building professional formations.

>Tactics that employ mobile forces wreaking havoc ISIS-style while running around in pickups or Humvees is only practicable as long as the front line is porous and armored formation presence marginal.

So, in other words, the Russian front line is porous and has marginal armored presence, and Ukraine is aware of this fact and has been exploiting it over tens of kilometers of frontline. I don't see how that's supposed to be anything but a failure on Russia's part.

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Because we know that the training of most new UAF soldiers in the UK only lasted for a few weeks. This was reported during the summer, but I don't have a reference anymore.

> I don't see how that's supposed to be anything but a failure on Russia's part.

I don't care if it's a failure. I care about the UAF advance being sustainable or not. I don't believe it is. Your "high mobile force" is not more mobile that a tank gun HE round. This kind of tactic works right now exactly because the Russian defense lines are undermanned. Which is why Russia mobilized.

300.000 mobilized troops will basically triple the number of available Russian soldiers. Once the density of the defensive formations improve, this kind of tactics will become suicidal. And the UAF developed these tactics because ordinary military tactics were not working against an enemy with modern ISR capabilities and enough aviation and artillery to rain hell on any kind of concentrated UAF force.

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>Once the density of the defensive formations improve, this kind of tactics will become suicidal.

Maybe wait to gloat until that actually happens. Currently, nothing you've said is arguing that the Ukrainians made a mistake by launching their offensive, only that they *will* be making a mistake, *if* they continue advancing and *if* the Russians unfuck their logistics fast enough to matter. That's a far cry from the article's original claim that Russia is intentionally drawing things out to make the Ukrainians overextend.

Ukraine was smart enough to not do suicidal offensives a few months ago when there was an artillery stalemate, once HIMARS started working over the Russian supply lines and the artillery balance shifted in their favor, they started advancing. If Russia somehow conjures up more artillery from somewhere, things will slow down again, but I don't see any indication they're not capable of assessing the situation and reacting appropriately.

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Oct 8, 2022·edited Oct 8, 2022

1) I'm not gloating

2) It's not like this war started with the September assault on Izyum. It started at the end of February. So it's not like we are talking about hypotetical engagements.

We have already witnessed the Russians defeat UAF troops again and again. Think Mariupol, for instance.

The UAF tactical adjustments came out of necessity, because they couldn't stand toe to toe with the Russian Army whithout an overwhelming numerical advantage.

3) These current attacks ARE somewhat suicidal. They allowed the UAF to take territory. But the cost was pretty steep. And for every successful assault there are tens of unsuccessful ones that cost the UAF thousands of lives and tens of vehicles.

4) I still have to see proof that the HIMARS changed anything at all. I don't think anybody actually attributed these Russians tactical defeats to the fact that they ran out of ammo or that their logistic was disrupted.

What they appear to miss is personnel to man the defensive lines.

I'm not sure where this manpower issue originates from.

It doesn't appear to be caused by excessive casualties (even the BBC in august ascertained about 6.000 Russian casualties, DPR and LNR excluded, and estimated that the true number could be at most twice as high).

In the summer we saw the Russians conduct a joint military excercise in the East that employed at least 50.000 troops. So they do have more.

One of the ventilated hypothesis is that a sizeable part of the Russian contract soldiers whose contract expired in the summer didn't renew it and that caused the Russian numbers to dwindle to the point that they are not able to man the whole front anymore. That's why they mobilized.

I don't know the General Staff plans, obviously. I can only look at facts and try to figure out what the intentions are.

And to me the facts seem to point to these Ukrainian successes being predicated on the Russian lines of defense being thinly manned. To me this looks like the most relevant factor.

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6000 Russian casualties? Seriously?

Oryx has over 6000 Russian losses in *vehicles alone.* Like, just counting the big, easy-to-count trucks and tanks that we have photographic evidence of gets you over 6000. https://www.oryxspioenkop.com/2022/02/attack-on-europe-documenting-equipment.html

If Russia only had 6000 casualties and some expired contracts, they wouldn't be recruiting from prisons to make ends meet.

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I reject the idea that the reformed Ukrainian army is "Very well equipped."

You don't mention airpower/logistics/artillery ammunition at all! All essentials for modern warfare. Russia is well stocked in all three. The first Ukraine has none, and cannot replace the losses; it's logistics is pretty badly knocked about; it has insufficient artillery and ammo: the West cannot produce the numbers of shells/rockets needed. For example in a year the USA currently produces enough 155mm shells for 2 weeks of Ukraine artillery use. Apparently it is no longer supplying 155mm because its stocks are depleted, only 105mm. It is doubtful that Ukraine can get any Soviet calibre artillery ammo any more so all its remaining weapons are useless and the crews still alive have to be retrained on *proven to be less robust* Western weapons.

Here's Brian Berletic's analysis, which I commend to you: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pONjlORXdFQ&ab_channel=TheNewAtlas

If the renewed Ukie army is so great why are we seeing T55s, Humvees and M113s? They belong in museums, not on the battlefield. Nato cannot replace the equipment lost. The Ukrainians developed a wheeled Infantry Fighting Vehicle called the BTR-4 which was powerful and decently armoured. None have been seen for months so 100% are almost certainly destroyed.

I think you will agree that the Ukrainian airforce is basically non-existent, and cannot be replaced. The Russian airforce, including attack helicopters, has suffered minimal losses*. Do conventional armies prevail under such a disadvantage?

*I am ignoring the OSINT stuff on twitter because a lot of it massively inflated Russian losses. Armchair Warlord (no longer posting) debunked a lot of it.

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I would like to believe what you say is reality. But if it is why are we not seeing any evidence of it on the battlefield? (And please bear in mind the Russian MOD estimates of Ukrainian losses may be just as inflated as those of the Ukrainians).

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Oct 6, 2022·edited Oct 6, 2022

Russian economy had “recovered by 2008”. Take a look at GDP for 2008/9 and the massive drive to modernise (which, in Russia, happens around every 30-50 years going back to Peter the Great) then perhaps rethink your argument?

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Thanks for that but I think you misunderstood what me. I said Putin's excessive caution and conservatism (particularly in the economic area) was probably useful in helping the Russian economy to recover and rebuild after the disastrous decade of the 1990s. i.e during the decade from 2000 to 2010. So we agree there. My main point then was that from then on he and the political leadership basically continued these conservative neo-liberal economic policies and did little or nothing to use Russia's surpluses to try and diversity the economy to make it less reliant on raw material exports and less heavily integrated with western Europe, and less invested in dollar reserves held in US federal reserve. There was somewhat more effort here after 2014 but it was far too little. Putin does of course deserve great credit for keeping Russia's natural resources largely under Russian control and reasonably safe from being plundered by the west in that crucial decade after the 1990s. In the circumstances today it is truly remarkable that the Russian economy has weathered sanctions reasonably well over this year, but this may be largely due to high oil and gas prices, and may be dependent on their continuation. My main point was that Putin's excessive caution also makes him a disastrous leader in times such as these - in war, when what is needed is a capacity to take decisive action using all the force at ones command to strike the enemy when and where it is weak. In a war timidity and caution is simply a recipe for disaster and I very much fear that is what is happening now. I only hope I am wrong.

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Oct 7, 2022·edited Oct 7, 2022

I think you make some good points John but I do see things somewhat differently.

Putin becoming President can be likened to sitting down at a poker table at which time Russia had very few chips left on the table. What he got though was an incredible run of hands (namely China’s rise and insatiable demand for resources which created a super boom for oil). I think Putin played these hands reasonably well but the chance to diversify/modernise etc should have been taken then (when there was abundance) but wasn’t.

As is the way of such things it took a shock (2008) for Russia to start trying and mistakes were then made (ex, channeling everything into building the Russian Silicon Valley at Skolkovo, which was a terrible example of cargo cult science). But in fairness these things are hard (as I mentioned above, Russia periodically launches these huge modernisation efforts, usually following a disaster such as the Crimean war, the Japanese war etc).

Since 2014 Russia has been preparing for this moment (hence the huge reserves) so weathering the economic storm, which they expected, I would argue has been a vindication of their policies. Yes, throughout this time they were following a neo-liberal ideology and can, rightly, be criticised for following something so dangerous. But those were policies that should have been adjusted earlier on in this century when Putin came into power. That would have been hard but it became even harder to alter course when the economy was on its knees form 2009 on. Not taking the opportunity to adjust Russia’s course early on was arguably Putin’s main mistake.

However, Russia has proven itself much more resilient economically now and I think and hope a new economic direction is being taken, one where it will learn from China and have the confidence to find a Russian path for Russia. It all depends on how this conflict plays out, the immediate policy decisions made and who comes next.

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I agree with most of what you say here. And I'd add that I think Putin has been masterful in his handling of foreign relations with important emerging countries like India, Turkey, and the Saudis. Though not the with the west who have taken him for a ride on occasions, notably in 2014. It's the war where I think he's been disastrously bad, in fact so bizarrely bad that I can understand why many people just don't believe it and think he must have some plan, something up his sleeve, and be simply leading the Ukies on while he prepares a huge and devastating winter offensive. That might just be so, but I think the simpler and more parsimonious explanation is that its simply overcautiousness, incompetence and overconfidence by him, the leadership, and the high command in Moscow. Look at all the great military disasters in history and one sees essentially the same almost bizarre pattern of incompetence and refusal to face unpalatable realities. I hope I'm wrong and that the optimists are right, but I'll only believe it when I see it.

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History will be the only true judge of whether it was overcautiousness and overconfidence or doing what was necessary to keep allies on side and military prescience (and even that will be shaped by who wins and who gets to write the history).

My own sense is that we’ve entered the end game: Ukraine have committed their reserves in order to appeal to their allies to make one more big push, but those allies now have their own emerging disasters to deal with. This leaves Z with few options, which is why he’s calling for pre-emptive nuclear strikes (ignored by western msm) - that is not the move of a side that’s winning.

Russia forces mobilising, prepared for winter and will strike before US mid-terms maybe while they’re distracted. Then a short winter campaign as how are Ukraine going to keep what troops they will have left warm in winter and power their war machine with limited fuel supplies ?

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You're an optimist. I only hope you are right. We shall see over the winter.

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Please read this article (and others at the site), and inform yourself ... https://www.awaragroup.com/blog/russian-economy-strong-and-stable/ ... this was back in 2018 btw, and then get back to us.

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Yes, the Russian economy is holding reasonably well. The ruble is strong and while there will be a growth contraction this year it looks like it will be much less than expected initially. That's not the problem. The problem is the war. It's going badly and seems to be getting worse every day. Even the mud isn't helping much yet. If one looks objectively and puts aside what one would want to believe, it looks like a staggering display of complacency and ineptitude by the political leadership and total incompetence from the high command. Follow Strelkov, .. .like many I dismissed what he was saying right up to a month ago, but if one now looks back he has been completely right on virtually everything he has said from the beginning. People in Russia need to wake up fast and start putting major pressure on the leadership and probably replacing a lot of them, if this is going to be turned around. And it still can be. Otherwise it may be at worst a humiliating defeat or at best a long, long grinding and inconclusive Vietnam-like war that will drain the economy and the will of the people.

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Perhaps they are following Ali's strategy for his fight against George Foreman, in Zaire - The Rumble in the Jungle. Ali called it Rope-a-dope - wear your opponent down early and then deliver the coup de gras, later in the battle.

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I am wondering if this is a satirical piece. Sorry if I am wrong, I am new here. Is Big Serge saying that all things western mainstream media says is a lie and the opposite must be true? Is Big Serge omitting the many historical Russian military blunders on purpose? Is the reference to 1709, 1812 and 1941 a joke?

The Arctic winters have as much claim to answering the call as "Russia's sons" do. Under closer inspection those years show massive defeats and disproportionate losses for the Russian military. Besides huge military and strategic failures like Afghanistan and Japan, the blunders their military operations have had are legendary.

The MSM is not always anything. It might be popular to say so, but the truth is you must be a critical thinker to sort out the most likely to be true. You don't get it easy in that you get to simply jump to the opposite conclusion. Leave that to the lazy minded who will forget when they are wrong or be forced to spout ever crazier conspiracy theories in vain attempts to dodge accountability.

Finally, I must point out that unlike the years put forward (satirically?) as evidence of Russian sons answering a call, no invasion into Russia has happened. The exact opposite is true. Russia has invaded a close neighbor that has many families and friends imbedded in both. Based on the Russian media releases on the reason for the invading Ukraine, those friends and family are scratching their collective heads.

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Thanks for the satirical comment!

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You are very welcome.

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how's your stock portfolio? Home value? Purchasing power? Social cohesion? Political stability? What about those long lines for food banks?

Yeah you are right, Russia is losing big time.

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Where did I say Russia was losing? What does my stock portfolio, home value, purchasing power, social cohesion and political stability have to do with anything? What long lines at what food bank?

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