There has been a great deal of speculation over the past three weeks of the Russian campaign as to why they’ve been doing certain things. If you listen to the whorenalists and the presstitutes – I don’t recommend doing so, mostly for the sake of your own mental and digestive health – then you would be convinced that the Russians are on the verge of a catastrophic defeat. Supposedly, they are running out of artillery shells, rations, food, and ammo. They have suffered tens of thousands of casualties, they have lost at least 128 fighter jets and hundreds of helicopters and a thousand tanks, and the fearless and tireless Ukrainian defenders have blasted the Russian convoys apart like tin cans and sent the Great Invaders running like dogs.
The reality on the ground is ENTIRELY different.
Truth and Lies
If you follow my Telegram channel, you will see that I send over a lot of maps and links from people who actually seem to have some idea of the facts and the realities. One of those is Col. Douglas Macgregor (USArmy-Ret), whose exploits in Desert Storm are legendary. He is one of the VERY few sane voices in all of this. And he has maintained, throughout this entire campaign, that the Russians are waging a slow, methodical, careful war designed to minimise civilian casualties and property damage.
The facts on the ground absolutely bear him out. The videos taken by Ukrainians in Kherson, Melitopol, Odessa, Kharkov, Kiev, and elsewhere, that I share in my Telegram channel, show very clearly that people in Russian-occupied areas are safe, and are receiving humanitarian aid promptly. Elderly Ukrainians are getting their pensions paid. The Russians are doing everything they can to maintain the infrastructure – because they really don’t want to have to rebuild the country. They want instead to keep the country more or less intact.
Here is the situation, as I understand it, at the close of March 16th, 2022:
- In the northeast, Kharkov is almost completely encircled, with heavy fighting going on there to liberate the city;
- In the east, anything from 12 to 22 brigades, which could in practical terms be anything from 60,000 to 100,000 fighters of the AFU and the neo-Nazi battalions, are completely encircled, running low on ammunition, weapons, food, and water;
- In the south, Melitopol and Kherson have been fully liberated, while Mariupol’, occupied by roughly 12,000 AFU and neo-Nazi fighters, is totally cut off and surrounded, while Odessa itself has been largely untouched;
- In the north, Kiev is mostly encircled and the Russians are presently content to shell it and fire missiles into the city’s military infrastructure;
- In the west, arms shipments and mercenaries are being targeted and blasted apart by very accurate Russian cruise missiles and aerial bombardments;
- The Russians have complete and total air supremacy, the Ukrainian Air Force has effectively ceased to exist as a coordinated and competent battle-worthy force;
- The Russians have also destroyed or degraded about 80% or more of the Ukrainian land warfare capability, and have effectively eliminated whatever navy the Ukies had;
Does this look or sound like an invading army in the middle of badly losing a war to you?
The Russian Way of War
Note the repeated use of the word, “encircled”, above. You must understand the Russian way of war, and you need to realise that encirclement tactics are fundamental to the way they fight.
Compare and contrast the American invasion of Iraq, with the Russian invasion of Ukraine. When the Americans invaded – on false pretences, let’s not forget that – they cut straight to Baghdad and captured it in 3 weeks at the cost of 30,000 dead Iraqis. They then decapitated the government and disbanded the Iraqi army, and tried to bring “freedom” and “democracy” and all good things to Iraq.
Remember how well THAT turned out? Twenty years later, Iraq STILL is not a stable, functional, well-governed country. It’s STILL a shithole. Well done, Damn Yankees, well done indeed.
Now look at what the Russians are doing. Look at the map above. You’ll see that they are deliberately avoiding the central part of Ukraine – the agricultural heartland along the banks of the Dniepr. Instead, they are destroying the manufacturing and armaments centres of the country, the heavy industry, in the east and south. They are encircling cities, bypassing strongholds, and manoeuvring into positions of absolute ground superiority over their enemies.
Very clearly, then, Russians do not fight like Americans. They do not start with “shock and awe”, as a general rule. If they want to flatten a city – like Putin did with Grozny during the Second Chechen War in 1999 – they will first surround the city, clear the outskirts of any resistance, and then proceed to unload the full horror of sustained massive artillery fire on the remaining inhabitants.
But this, to them, is a dirty, expensive, inefficient, and deeply unpleasant way of fighting. They don’t like it. They actually greatly prefer to force a surrender, keeping power structures intact and leaders in place, so that they can pack up and go home when it’s all done.
That is what they did in Chechnya. They did the same in Georgia 10 years later. They are doing the same in Ukraine 14 years after that.
Here is the reality of the Russian style of fighting: they WANT to leave some sort of political leadership in power. They WANT a self-governing, self-sustaining Ukraine. And they are absolutely willing to cut a deal.
The fundamental difference between the American and Russian ways of fighting probably comes down to understanding one of the greatest mistranslations in history.
That one quotation from the legendary Prussian general, Carl von Clausewitz, that you probably remember from school – assuming you were misedjoomuhcayted in an American public
indoctrination camp school, that is – likely goes something like this:
“War is politics by another means”.
It is an elegant aphorism. And it is wrong.
The true quote is this:
“Der Krieg ist nichts als eine Fortsetzung des politischen Verkehrs mit Einmischung anderer Mittel“.
In Ye Olde Queene’s Englishe, which of course Americans don’t speak, this literally translates as:
“War is nothing but a continuation of political intercourse with the interference of other means”.
Pay close attention to the difference between “BY another means”, and “WITH (the interference of) other means”. In this slight difference in wording lies a vast, yawning gap of understanding.
The Western way of war dates back to the Greek hoplite phalanx formations, and essentially consists of two armies smashing against each other until one or the other is dust, at which point, the victor dictates terms to the vanquished. In that way of thinking, war is almost an all-or-nothing exercise in achieving a very specific end.
The Russian way of war involves using military force in combination with negotiation. They take the Clausewitzian doctrine literally to mean, “use war and violence to force the other guy to the negotiating table and get him to agree to your terms – and if he doesn’t, ratchet up the pressure on him until he does”.
Put simply, the West seeks to decapitate and destabilise. The Russians seek to strangle and supplant.
Death by Strangulation
Now, look at how the Russians have behaved in the field.
Every time that the Ukies have signalled they want to negotiate, the Russkies have suspended hostilities, observed cease-fires, allowed civilians to evacuate, opened humanitarian corridors, and handed out supplies and food to areas that they have subjugated and cleansed.
And every time the Ukies have shown themselves to be deceptive or intransigent, the Russians have ramped the pressure right back up.
Their entire method of fighting is to encircle their enemy – a tactic that they have been using since, probably, Kursk and Stalingrad, if not earlier – and strangle him to death, slowly at first, and then harder.
I call this anaconda warfare – death by strangulation. The Russians call it котёльная война – cauldron war.
Their philosophy involves creating “cauldrons” of complete encirclement and envelopment, from which there is no escape. They then simply bomb and shoot and shell the poor bastards trapped within the cauldron – котёль – until they surrender or die.
Now that you understand this, take a look again at the map up top. Do you see the pickle that the Ukies are in?
Their strongest troop formation, in the east, consisting of their best and most experienced and most skilled regular and national guard units, is completely surrounded. They have absolutely no hope of rescue. They are being systematically cut to pieces and will die to the last man if they do not lay down their arms.
In Mariupol’, the situation is even worse, because there are thousands of civilians trapped in that cauldron who require food, water, and shelter. These are useful human shields for the Ukies – which is precisely how they use the poor bastards, as we are now seeing from the testimony of the civilians who managed to get out. The Ukronazis are basically shooting anyone who tries to flee, and are trying to blame it on the Russians. (Again – see my Telegram channel. I forward the videos that I see and the data that I get right there.)
Kharkov is in a similar situation. The city is mostly surrounded at this point on at least three sides. The Russians – actually, mostly the LDNR troops – are fighting very hard to clear the city, and it is hard going. Urban environments are awful for attackers who want to avoid civilian casualties, and fantastic for defenders who don’t mind who gets killed.
Kiev is the biggest and scariest cauldron of the lot. The city has been hammered by shelling for days, and will continue to be blasted into submission. But Russian troops appear to be quite content to hold the Gostomel and Borispol areas instead, rather than forcing their way into costly street-by-street, block-by-block fighting.
To repeat – the Russians DO NOT WANT to destroy these cities. They will instead sit outside the cities, cut off supplies, open up humanitarian corridors, and slowly strangle the cities and the citizens.
This is not a rushed, headlong, foolish strategy. This is a patient, methodical, precise, and extremely effective strategy, now that Russia has complete air supremacy and can blow apart Ukie forces in the field more or less at will.
The Way the World Ends
How, then, will this horror and madness end?
The first thing that the Ukies and Westerners need to recognise, post haste, is that UKRAINE IS DONE. Their army lost at least 80% of its combat effectiveness within the first 48 hours of the war. They have never recovered since. I have seen rumours that “Ze” has ordered armed forces brigades from the west of the country over to the east – they will be travelling over open ground, under Russian bombardments and air cover, and will almost certainly be massacred en route.
They have no air force, no navy, and NATO is not going to come running to help. NATO may very likely stage a false-flag bioweapon or chemical weapon attack, probably in the vicinity of Kharkov. And if that happens… say your prayers and make your peace with God, because then, all bets are off. I would not rule out tactical nuclear responses from Russia against airbases in Poland. The Russians may even invade Poland outright – they have troops massing at Brest in Belarus, and they still have not committed the majority of their forces into Ukraine. So far, the Russians have been largely content to let the LDNR militias do most of the heavy lifting, supported by Russian heavy armour and aerospace forces.
The Ukies cannot save their country. it’s over. The war is effectively done, at least in terms of major military action by their army. All that remains is for the Russians to boil the cauldrons surrounding their cities until they surrender.
At this point, negotiations come into play. If the Ukrainians agree to become an armed neutral state, committed to defending only their own territory, and forever forswear, at the Constitutional and electoral level, joining NATO, and agree to recognise the LDNR republics, at some level at least, then this is probably good enough for the Russians.
But the Ukies have stubbornly refused to do anything of the sort. They will not budge on their refusal to recognise the LDNR – never mind that the LDNR forces now control the majority of the Lugansk and Donetsk regions themselves. The reason why is very simple – Lugansk and Donetsk, along with Mariupol’, account for most of Ukraine’s coal and much of its heavy industry. Without those areas, Ukraine is economically SCREWED – well, even more than it normally is.
Nor will they accept demilitarised status, at least not yet. Which means that the Russians will simply increase the temperature of their various cauldrons around Kiev, Kharkov, Chernigov, Mariupol’, Zaporozhye, and Nikolayev.
At that point, if the Ukies continue to refuse, and the Russians cannot make them see sense, they will likely simply smash down the remaining defenders in those cities, move straight up the Dniepr, and storm Kiev. Then, they will partition Ukraine. And that, in all honesty, would probably be the best possible outcome for all concerned.
A partitioned Ukraine would provide Russia with the “Novorossiya” friendly buffer state east of the Dnieper that it needs. Western Ukraine, though, would be DESTROYED. Economically speaking, most of Ukraine’s real resources are in the east, south, and north – the west has very little of real value.
In the end, “Ukraine” may well become a land-locked Banderastani hell-hole, while the Russians secure control over the Azov coast and create two client buffer states from the LDNR, while also absorbing Kharkov and much of the northeast back into itself.
And, honestly, if the Ukie leadership refuse to see sense and stop the killing, then they will get exactly what they deserve.
In all of this, let us spare a thought and a prayer for the Ukrainian people, who have suffered horribly historically, and continue to do so now. They voted for the people who created this war, but they are no more than puppets – as I wrote earlier, that is the great tragedy of Ukraine, and continues to be so to this day.
Here is the opposite side, with extremely limited amount of evidence
That top map is likely somewhat optimistic, probably because it’s for public consumption. Why? Why because we’re in the Rasputitsa, and everybody is bloody road-bound or up to their asses and axles in mud. The differences between the maps could also be looked at as a matter of interpretation. Look for example, at the northeast corner, where map one shows sold blocks of control and map two shows little arrows. What’s really happening? Nobody’s in control. Little skirmishes between patrols is likely a daily occurrence all over. BUT, from the Russian POV, “When this fucking mud dries, we own that shit, not them.” And in that the Russians are probably correct.
Also, look at map 2, below. It shows Kiev and Kharkov as not surrounded, where the upper map shows at least Kharkov as surrounded. Why? Well, you don’t actually need to physically block every meter around a city to have it under siege. All you need is artillery that can range and observation of the ways in and out. By that measure, both Kiev and Kharkov are surrounded and under siege.
Speaking of sieges, no, the Russians are not going to let any large number of people out of the cities. Oh, a few token ones, sure, but that traffic will come to a screeching halt soon enough. Why? Because they lack the infantry to clear the cities; just flat don’t have enough. Nobody, by the way, does. So the only way they’re getting them, short of the Ukrainians asking for terms, is via starvation. For that, you want to force the civilians to stay inside, even if you have to kill some to do that (yes, it’s lawful), to force them to eat up the food.
Tom Kratman, lo and behold. Greetings.
Always great to get your take on military matters. A shame our present administration [maybe you could try and call it that, should have you in charge of whats become the American way of war. Or, whatever the heck you try and call the USA snafu of the last two year.
Looking forward to your finish of Desert called Peace. I’m going to try and hold out for the final volumes? and, then get a bunch of no doz and start from the front end and go for the whole [10 books, or whatever it becomes]. I think I’ve purchased and read everything you wrote.
As Bedford Forrest was famous for saying, ‘keep up the skeer’
I did finish it, Jack, with Days of Burning, Days of Wrath. Now, I might go to a second series someday, Hamilcar’s liberation of old Earth…if I live long enough.
A yes; my mistake. I had assumed there would be a few more novels that would involve taking the Peace fleet to Earth. Maybe some day. I have read, then, all the series as it stands. More would be nice. Keep your health and try not to get early heart attacks over the rot in the USA government.
I hope you did not get vaxxed. Most of my Texas and lower Alabama family did. Neither I nor my son, daughter in law and the kids did. If you did get vaxxed I can offer up some strategies I use to fight the covid. If I ever got it the symptoms were so slight as to be not noticed. I do maintain a prophylaxis based on Ivermectin, zinc, D3A, B complex, etc.
Now, we have to hope there won’t be any nukes come a calling. To me sounds like Russia is a first rate military with some nasty hardware.
Hang in there and I will try and keep alert for any new books.
Excellent essay Didact. Comparing the Russian ground game to the USA ground game in Iraq is a great contrast.
The USA shock and awe strategy looks like a great way to spend incredible amounts of money on fireworks.
The Russian format must cost 10% of the USA invasion. It applies much more control in short order.
A bit like a boxer vs a grappler…one has the fireworks and wants the quick shot to win, the other actually does win.
(Your boy Buakow notwithstanding)
This is the difference between running a war machine to win wars and a war machine to sell weapons to subsidize congressional districts.
Both are superior to the eurozone strategy of just not doing much of anything… but what a growth market for Lockheed and Raytheon!
Thank you, sir.
You know, it’s funny you mention boxing vs grappling – I was thinking yesterday, after I wrote this, about the Russian approach to combat sambo, which is their homegrown style of MMA. If you watch Khabib Nurmagomedov or another top-level sambist, you will see that they approach combat by immediately neutralising an opponent’s best weapons, taking him down, and then literally squeezing and suffocating the life out of him. Watch the Khabib-Conor fight for a classic example of it. That’s what the Russians are doing in Ukraine – with second-string troops and equipment, generally speaking, except for the Chechens.
It’s scary effective when done right. It is essentially methodical pressure-fighting designed to strangle an enemy into submission – and if he doesn’t give up early, he will sustain tremendous damage. Conor, for instance, has never been the same since that fight.
Hey Didact, voxday did a delivery video on this article, where he agree on most of what you have written. I think the only thing he disagree with was on your take on the US way of war, he mention he think it is more about land and that is way they get suprise why the war continues after they captured the country.
OBADSDL(PBUH) dedicated an entire Darkstream to this article? Wow. That is pretty neat.
I don’t have access to the Darkstreams anymore, since they are all behind a paywall, but I have to say, that is a very good way to start off the weekend.
I just check dlive and the video is still there on replay. If you want to check it out Episode 853