This is easily the best source on this war. In the US, there is very little unbiased news. I look forward to each new Big Serge article.

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"Because Ukraine relies on foreign assistance to continue its war, it must constantly be in a performative mode and under pressure to deliver visible successes."

Ukraine reminds me of a business with less-than-entirely-honest managers who personally profit by engineering quarterly results to please Wall Street. The venture began as hyped vaporware with no revenues but lots of buzz and deep-pocketed backing. It’s likely to end as a no-longer-popular brand loaded with debt, asset-stripped, and sold off after massive layoffs. It never had to be sustainable. Insiders just have to know when to get out to walk away rich.

By contrast Russia resembles a business in it for the long haul. It’s making risky, costly investments that nonetheless have a chance to pay off over time. It’s neither out for a quick buck nor dependent on financial gimmickry or nonsensical advertising. Even in a cutthroat market it’s getting a job done. Its competitors once knew how to build things, but that was when "stock" referred to industrial output rather than pieces of paper. After decades of farming out labor to offshore proxies they've forgotten how to develop products themselves, and rather than learn those skills again, they do everything they can think of to wreck the competition.

An inexact analogy, but evocative.

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Great insightful analysis. The level of detail and objective thought is appreciated.

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Crystal clear as usual.

The explanation about the stalled Russian offensive made much more practical sense than holding back in case NATO joins the fray, which sounds ridiculous as soon as it is uttered out loud or put on writing.

As for poor Moldova, some more details:

1. After one of the many wars between Ottomans (who were controlling the Principality of Moldova and Wallachia at that time), the Ottomans lost and in the horse trading that happened before finalizing a peace treaty, Russia started by asking the entire principality of Moldova. However, this was just before the Napoleonic invasion of Russia and the Russians were in a hurry to get the paperwork done. The Ottomans did not know about this threat and their dragoman charged with concluding the treaty (a Greek) was bought by the Russians. However, in the end Russians relented only with the eastern half of principality of Moldova, what was known as Bessarabia. The southern part of Bessarabia, Budjeak, on the coast of Black Sea is now part of the Odessa Oblast and through time, between 1812 and 1917 changed hands several times with Moldova and then with the United Romanian Principalities (then Kingdom of Romania). The Greek Dragoman was subsequently beheaded...

1. During the Russian Revolution, due to the collapse of the Russian Army, Romanian troops entered Bassarabia and ultimately, the region voted to re-unite with Romania.

3. After WWI and the victory of the Bolsheviks, a phantom RSS Moldova was set-up in present day Transnistria, on the eastern side of Dnister River. That area was never under Moldovan/Romanian control.

4. After WWII, Russians took back Bessarabia, and probably as interest payment also grabbed Northern Bukovina from Romania, which is now in Ukraine. Subsequently, Romania also "donated" the Snake Island to USSR.

Romanian language has a Daco-Thracian substrate, a Latin main component, and a Slavic ad-stratum. The fact that there is a Slavic component in Moldovan and likely overall Romanian genetic make up shouldn't surprise anyone. There was a cohabitation for some time until the Slavs decided to cross the Danube and then moved in Byzantine territories. So one cannot make that much hay out of that.

Also, there is a very easy solution for Moldova, which can renounce to Transnistria and re-unite with Romania, thus gaining immediate access to NATO and EU, and the whole thing of Moldovan Neutrality is bypassed without a problem and there will be none to join Russian protests. The only smart thing for Russian Government would be to issue a congratulatory note as well as an apology. The way the US is keeping North and South Korea separated, this is how Russia kept Romania separated after 1990 (albeit with far less interference, admittedly Transnistria secession was very likely a locally driven affair).

The question is what if Romania and Moldova decide to re-unite without renouncing to Transnistria... all the while guaranteeing the rights of minorities for local (that means villages, towns, cities, not areas) autonomy and everything else Hungarian minority has in Romania....

On a side note, Ukraine tried to set up a coup in Belarus some years ago, prior to the invasion, trying to blame Russia for it (some mercenaries on their way to an African country transiting through Minsk)...

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Dear Big Serge.

Thanks your brilliant novella.

I am journalist with a small news org back here in France and I was wondering if you could grant me the permission to translate in French and publish this article?


Pascal Clérotte


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Confining the eradication of the Ukrainian military and denazifying to the current narrow band on the front is an exceptional war strategy. The Ukrainian troops and the international mercenaries attracted to the front pour in to meet their demise. The vast remainder of Ukraine remains mostly intact other than power stations and military bases. Instead of a frantic rush across the landscape flattening cities and slaughtering civilians the battle and destruction is confined until finally the Ukrainian army and its political leadership capitulate or are totally defeated.

It could take more years yet but the narrow band of destruction and the intact mass of the civilian population may yet be grateful for small mercies of not being slaughtered and mostly having their property and shelter. Time will tell.

The west has blundered badly here and it is being observed across the globe as a better world emerges and the western global bully proves their ineligibility to serve as a humane beacon for freedom or even a reliable, agreement capable ally. Right now this ignorant global bully is blathering about creating two wars against the two most powerful opponents on earth spanning a vast landmass. The China statement is correct in that the USA is evidently guilty of invading more countries, murdering more people, destroying more human progress that anything seen in the past century or two - and the rest of the world can see it.

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Mar 2·edited Mar 3

What I understand about the military conflict in Ukraine and about the great offensive is, first of all, the total ignorance in the West about Russia's plans! And just this secrecy of the Russian MOD in the information age is in itself an almost unattainable feat . No army in the world can be so immune to information leaks! The truth is that I repeat, no one has the slightest idea what is going on in the minds of the highest Russian spheres. It is indeed with great sadness that I listened to Douglas McGregor for two months announce that Russia was just waiting for the ground to freeze to launch a major land offensive and now that the ground is already thawing, he has come up with the version that Russia just waiting for the putting together ammo?!

Simply ridiculous and unbelievable. And I don't say this to discredit McGregror but as a sign that he also never had access to any privileged information! And the analyzes he offers us about the conflict are just in his head. Which is no small thing if we think of the great troop commander he was. Dougas McGregor probably conveys what he would do in the theater of operations! But about the Russian operation is completely at zero. And I could say the same of everyone who comments on the conflict in the West! All mere opinions! Already the Russian strategic plan remains as impregnable today as on the 24th of February!

My opinion, on the other hand, of someone who knows much less about operational art than McGregor, remains the same as ever. There will be no major offensive because not even men have been mobilized for a major offensive in Ukraine! Just this! 300,000 men are mainly to defend the front line of more than a thousand kms! And any military man should know this! To stop new "counter offensives" like in Kharkov. That it wasn't a counter-offensive at all but just an intelligence coup by US satellites! And to this day nobody knows if it wasn't an invitation from Russia. Ukraine at the end of the operation lost thousands of men! A mobilization of 300,000 men is enough only to defend the front line of the 4 oblasts that Russia annexed! In other words, it is, for example, completely impossible to cross the Dnieper with just 300,000 men without breaking the front line from Kherson to Donbass. Russia entered Ukraine with no desire to wage war, to force Kiev into negotiations, and absolutely nothing changed. RUS even today wants above all to liberate what is left of Donbass and expel the existential threat of NATO from UKR.

I am completely convinced that if Ukraine signed these two points tomorrow the war would be over! Most likely with a lot of sad people on both sides of the barricades. But it's life! Another point in which I value a lot and that perhaps goes very unnoticed is how Ukraine, after 1 year of conflict, the only major terrorist act it managed to carry out was the murder of Dugina in Moscow! Because Russia has Ukraine completely controlled! In the same space of time, how many serious attacks did the "insurgents" carry out against the US in Iraq? Just so that we have an idea of ​​the capacity that is needed to almost completely neutralize the enemy, no matter how weak he is. Only yesterday, Ukraine invented an attack on a Beriev A-50 parked in Biolerrusis without any evidence because even a simple drone can no longer reach the Russian forces! Which once again demonstrates an enemy control in my opinion never seen. Regardless of whether tomorrow it manages to burn some Russian infrastructure as it once was!

So I think that without negotiations what we will continue to see in Ukraine will never be much different from what we are seeing now! While Ukraine and its patrons were not willing to negotiate mainly the neutrality of Ukraine but now also the 4 oblasts conquered by Russia, the Russian forces will continue to demilitarize, denazify and conquer territory from Ukraine! Always with as few casualties as possible, which has also become one of Moscow's main goals. Don't lose men unnecessarily! Russia has all the time in the world on its side! Also in the economic war with the West! And due to the desperation with which Zelensky appeared today to summon the sons and daughters of Americans to war, perhaps the support of the Ukrainian forces is much closer to the limit than many think.

I've already convinced myself that we'll never know the true number of casualties in Ukraine and I'm even glad for that. Because I believe that after the WWII no country lost so many lives in such a short space of time and by choice. Which apparently is also coming to an end. Calling Americans to war is perhaps Zelensky's most dignified act since the beginning of the conflict. Even in response to beings as disgusting as Lindsey Grahams who talks about Ukrainian lives as if they were a totally disposable utensil. Unfortunately I also believe that Zelensky is only doing it now out of sheer desperation and with that he must have already signed his own death certificate. How sheer desperation is all the diversionary ploys like Transnistria to divert attention from the fall of Bakhmut where Ukraine has invested so much!

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"Any aggressive action in Transnistria will be perceived as an Attack on Russia"

https://warnews247.gr/triti-proeidopoiisi-rosias-opoiadipote-epithetiki-energeia-stin-yperdneisteria-tha-eklifthei-os-epithesi-sti-rosia/ (Google translate from Greek)

This has been loking like a trip-wire to me for months.

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Mar 2·edited Mar 2

From reading sources on the Russian side (Orlov, The Saker, etc.) I get the view that the Russians are content with how the war is going, their KIA aside. Two points they make - the goal is to "deNazify" and demilitarize Ukraine; and they won't trade soldiers for land.

Land can be retaken, soldiers cannot be raised from the dead. Remember, the Russians have fought here before. When pressed too hard, they pull back, like WWII, just like the Mongols "feigned flight" tactic but without the intent. The AFU rushes after them and gets blown to the proverbial smithereens by AFR artillery. The initial goal was to liberate the regions that wanted join Russia, but NATO's continued belligerence will probably result in the elimination of Ukraine altogether. We shall see. No plan survives contact with the enemy.

The demilitarization is ongoing. There is a reason Bakhmut is called "the meat grinder". There is video on Telegram of Ukrainian officers talking about how they are losing 1-2 companies a day, a battalion a week. The Russian offensive hasn't stalled. They are holding their ground advancing slowly via Wagner PMC, and killing Ukies. That's their style. They're in no hurry. The AFU keeeps sending in replacements, and AFR and Wagner keep killing them. The land will always be there, the soldiers won't.

One note about tactics/strategy - Ukraine/NATO had 8 years to prepare and what did they do? They dug trenches! How WWI. The Russians also borrowed from WWI, but they chose massive artillery forces. Trenches are worthless against drone guided artillery and even drones dropping grenades. I'm sure the weapons and tech advantage will determine the outcome.

Several other Russian sources (obviously biased but more objective than western media IMO) on Telegram - Intel Slava Z; AZgeopolitics; Ghost of ZVO. Lots of video from the front. Some just PR, but a lot of the reality of war. Another good source is Gonzalo Lira, Twitter and Youtube. Chilean journalist married to Ukranian, living in Kharkov.

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Mar 2·edited Mar 2

Thank you for your outstanding contribution. You, along with a few others, are educating me in ways I never thought I would be nor need to be educated which is in military matters. I find I have to reread your articles to get a glimmer of understanding but what I get gives me a far broader perspective from that upon which I started.

The totally brainless loss of life that this engineered conflict has inflicted upon humanity saddens me and I truly hope those who pushed the antagonists into this position suffer personally for the rest of their lives. They deserve that concept called karma now. Maybe then, Nuland and Sullivan will experience that fear that you understandably regard them as being incapable of.

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"Conscripts cannot be deployed in combat outside of Russia without a declaration of war."

Most of the combat takes place in the four Oblasts which Russia formally annexed last Autumn. According to Russia's laws those are now inside Russian Federation.

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Dear Serge Best to keep to long posts like this one, in my opinion, or even longer if you wish, history is best written or documented as it unfolds especially in this near unique case of propoganda and mis information easier by far to sense, recognise and attribute reasons for and shades of significance to at the time than subsequently - this war which is but a preparation for the next in ways which are are becoming more obvious and meaningful, one in which the propoganda may be more successful in obscuring any/all information and insight

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Helps explain the curiously large effort Russia has put into digging fortified lines behind the front ... recreating the army is going to take some time, and is best left undisturbed by crises at the front.

And unrelated, from my own slender reading of military history, I concluded years ago that wars always begin with an optimism of quick victory, but that never happens. Nobody is ever home by Christmas.

But I threw all that out the window for this war. Men believe what they wish, I'm told Julius Ceasar said that, and it's true.

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Alexei Mozgovoy was such a man, perhaps beyond the understanding of most ... "We Russians, Ukrainians, Belarusians are bequeathed to be together. And the fact that today we are mad and hate each other is the main indictment against us—we have violated this covenant..."

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A superb analysis, and a fine writer to boot.

Like many in the world I was waiting for the Russian hammer to drop, to deliver a Fichtean Anstoss or "check" to the depredations of the Hegemon, indeed to see it shrivel away from the conflict like a snail from salt. In a sense the hammer has dropped as this essay makes clear, in the countless "small" actions Ukraine is forced to carry on with (given the glare of publicity in front of its western backers), and doing so at a terrible cost. Meanwhile the Russians will perfect their operational art of war.

The essay does not deal with the end of this war but it will be a Russian victory of one kind or another, all of them decisive in my view, and that is when the shoe at least will drop for "NATO." On a visceral level I anticipate with great pleasure finally escaping the daily nausea of having to unwillingly imbibe the ceaseless propaganda from MSM, and to imagine the denizens in their "international community" (U.S. and client states--some 1/5 of the planet's population) looking up from their troughs wondering why the rich and heady daily fare has become a thin gruel of discontent and wan exculpation: why silent now the trumpets and drumbeats of war? Whereto our Great Cause? One can only hope this may obvert their understandings of the shadowplay on the wall as they are turned to face the light and realize that war is not peace, slavery is not freedom, ignorance is not strength etc. Bless you Eric Blair you saw it all coming. May all proles discover the liberation of apostasy.

But above all the final shattering of the NATO burlesque will give a blast of fresh air to the majority of the planet. We who have been watching a drunken bully beating up midgets on the dance floor for decades (Vietnam, Panama, Grenada, Afghanistan,Iraq, Serbia, Syria et.al.), can now watch with justifiable schadenfreude, the aerated hubris of a tyrant rapidly deflated as the wheel of karma turns and he ends up in a real cage fight against the likes of an Emelianenko as opposed to Butterbean... in Ukraine, or--goddess help us--globally.

The neocons and their reptilian ilk got the war they craved but are clearly not popping the champagne in Washington just now as they finally discern the inevitable creeping closer every day. "Be careful what you wish for" as the trope goes.

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No need to apologise for the time interval between articles. As I've said before, quality always trumps quantity.

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