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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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