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The Putin Plan for Banderastan

by | Nov 28, 2023 | Office Space | 3 comments

The news coming out of Banderastan gets worse by the day – at least, if you are Ukrainian. If you have the sense God gave a honey badger – and you have been reading “dissident” sites (like, say, this one) – then you have known for quite a while this was inevitable. The Russian strategy all along has been one of attrition, grinding down the Ukrainian military and bleeding it dry.

This is not hyperbole. It is quite literally exactly what the (former) head of the Russian Aerospace Forces (ВКС РФ), Gen. Sergei Surovikin, said back in September of last year:

This is precisely what they have done, remorselessly, brutally, and quite efficiently. The Khlearly Khatastrophic Khreat Khokholite Khumvee Khounteroffensive khomprehensively khollapsed at the end of the summer – it actually resulted in the Russians gaining more ground than the Ukrainians did, net-net.

However, the headlines coming out of Western (((whore-media)))))))))))) have transformed substantially of late. They are not merely downbeat – they are downright suicidal in tone, making clear that Ukraine is very nearly at the end of the road. They are running out of money, weapons, vehicles, ammunition, and now men.

This last is indisputable, even among Ukrainians, as Simplicius the Thinker notes by way of the testimony of a man who survived the Russian minefields, but lost a leg in the process:

– How did you get blown up, what was it like?

– How… We called the Bradley, which was supposed to evacuate the first wounded. I saw that it was about to drive across the minefield, jumped out of the landing and started waving my hands where to go. I heard shots, saw my leg fly off, was surprised… Most likely, it was a large-caliber machine gun, because there were tanks on the enemy’s Real position, and they were working.

I started jumping on my left leg, stepped on an anti-personnel mine, and fell on my back. Apparently, the “petal” worked, because during the period when we captured and repelled the first attack, there was a massive remote mining. Every ten meters in the sky there was an explosion, explosion, explosion… The sky turned pitch-black, I’ve never seen anything like it in movies.

The detonation went off, and I turned over on my stomach. Something also went off under my chest, and I was thrown again. I have good armor, so the blast wave went through my arms. After all these explosions, I fell down, lying down and looking around: my hands were burned. I realize that I can’t do anything for myself now. But my friend Piro was next to me, and I called out, “Piro, help!” Piro ran across the minefield to save me. And he did. In a minute or two, he put four tourniquets on me, somehow tied my leg with paracord and pulled me out.

The videos and photos on Telegram were undeniable for a long time, but the Ukrainian government did their best to do precisely that.

Now, however, they no longer do. Even Bellendsky the Crackhead Pecker-Piano-Player President admits this, albeit rather obliquely:

The death toll is truly catastrophic. The Russian MoD estimates that, between June 4th and end of October, Ukraine lost 90,000 men dead and severely wounded – what the Russians called уничтожные потери (literally, “destroyed losses”), and the Russians use “destroyed” in a literal sense, to mean mostly dead.

Then Defence Minister Shoigu came out with another statement a few days ago in which he claimed Ukraine had lost a further 13,000 troops in the first 3 weeks of November, alone – again, “destroyed”, not merely wounded.

The total death toll is beyond counting, at this point. No one knows how bad it really is. I have seen estimates ranging from 300K at the low end – which I consider to be FAR too low – and as high as 800K at the high end. That is merely DEAD, mind you. And even the Ukrainians admit they need to mobilise 20K troops per month just to fill their losses.

Do a little MAFF and you will quickly realise that 20K troops a month, just for replacements, amounts to about 667 men a day. Multiply that by the number of days of this war – about 642, at the time of writing – and you get 428K losses to date.

Bear in mind, that is just to fill those seriously wounded AND dead. It is almost certainly also far too low a number, given we know the Ukrainians estimate they will have at least 4 million veterans by the time of their “victory” (read: unconditional surrender to Russia), 4 times more than existed in Feb 2022.

What is all this death and carnage in aid of, exactly? That is where a very interesting X-post from WarMonitor comes in. It is worth reading through in full:

The tl;dr version is:

The Neo-Tsar’s strategy – really, the Russian political and military leadership’s strategy – is to bleed Ukraine of the most radical and crazy elements of its society, so that, when Russia inevitably wins (and it will), there will be no large pool of young, disaffected, angry men to mount an insurgency campaign against them.

It is cold-blooded, brutal, and ruthless.

And it is also exceptionally good strategy.

The war planners who invaded Iraq on a non-existent pretence back in 2003 never thought of this. They always thought in terms of conquering territory and moving fast – not of wearing down the enemy’s ability to fight. The result was, of course, a 20-year insurgency which broke America’s ability to fight and bogged down its military.

The Russians, by contrast, have paid the price up front – in blood, sweat, bullets, and machines, and copious quantities of all four. They have lost somewhere around 50K dead and probably around 100K wounded, though evidently at least 90% of their wounded fully recover and return to service, as the Russians have a well-documented high level of operational skill and efficiency at evacuating and treating their wounded quickly.

But they have paid that price to ensure no remnant of Ukraine will exist, that is capable of mounting any kind of serious insurgency against the coming Russian tidal wave and occupation.

If you think about it, this is the literal and to-the-letter implementation of the Neo-Tsar’s stated goals of the Special Military Operation, all the way back last February:

Demilitarisation, De-Nazification, and Neutrality of Ukraine… by any means necessary.

Ukraine’s military is being whittled away, blown to bloody meat and charred bone and twisted scraps of steel. All you have to do is to watch the Telegram videos every day to understand just how bad things are for the Ukies down in Avdeevka, or around Artyomovsk, or in Zaporozh’ye – where the Russians are now reclaiming the burnt-out deserted hamlets the Ukrops made such a song-and-dance about capturing back in the summer.

That is demilitarisation.

Furthermore, most of Ukraine’s mobilised recruits are now coming from the western regions, which are majority-Ukrainian and which hate Russia. Cemeteries in Lvov, Lutsk, and elsewhere in the western regions, are full to overflowing with the dead, and more come in every day. This is where the Ukie hardcore Banderites come from – there is literally a statue of Nazi collaborator and ultranationalist Stepan Bandera in the town square of Lvov, lionising the man who masterminded pogroms and massacres that slaughtered tens of thousands of Poles, Romanians, Jews, and Russians.

That is de-Nazification.

And, as Yves Smith pointed out in her superb long-form update on the Ukraine war recently, the outcome of this conflict will be a rump Ukrainian state, totally powerless, economically useless, and almost certainly subsumed into Poland:

John Mearsheimer has argued that Russia wants a dysfunctional rump Ukraine. The same way the US, NATO and Ukraine obliged Russia’s war of attrition game plan by continuing to throw ever weaker forces against Russian lines, so to have they managed to do even more damage to Ukraine’s economy that the war already would have done by pumping up the military and government with support it could not maintain for the long haul, and then withdrawing it abruptly.

However, even though Russia looks like it will eventually impose its will on Ukraine, Russia still faces constraints. The more of Ukraine Russia decides to incorporate, the more it will have to rebuild. Those efforts would compete with another Putin initiative, announced early in the SMO, of greatly improving public amenities in remote areas (I envision manufacturing and mining towns in the hinterlands). Russia is also already facing labor shortages. To some degree, it might be able to redeploy men now working in manufacturing, particularly arms related, to reconstruction. But Russia may face labor constraints on how quickly it can restore infrastructure and buildings.

Putin and his inner circle likely also recognize the risk and cost of tying to hold areas where Russia is not welcome. Putin even said words to that effect early on. Putin also seems to value referendums as validating integrating territory into Russia. These would argue, all things being equal, for limiting the parts of Ukraine that are candidates for integration to ones with a solidly ethnic Russian majority.

To look at an overlapping set of consideration, ever since the Munich Security Conference, Putin has been trying to get a hostile Europe and US to acknowledge and respect Russia’s security needs. So what territorial end state is optimal, or alternatively, the least bad compromise, particularly given that ex Hungary and Belarus, Russia would continue to have hostile neighbors to its west?

This is why both Putin and Medvedev suggesting Kiev might be part of the equation would seem to be a significant shift. There are lots of maps of electoral results that Western pundits have used as proxies for ethnic Russian versus ethnic Ukrainian representation.

That is neutrality, one way or another.

The spheres are turning, and the wheels are aligning. Ukraine has already lost this war – its economic, demographic, social, fiscal, governmental, and military collapse are ABSOLUTELY ASSURED at this point, and no amount of handwavium or magical thinking from anyone is going to change that fact. As Big Serge points out

The obvious problem, of course, is that given Russia’s superior industrial resources and demographic reservoir, Ukraine’s only viable pathways to victory were either a Russian political collapse, Russian unwillingness to fully commit to the conflict, or the inflicting of some astonishing asymmetric battlefield defeat on the Russian army. The first now clearly seems like a fantasy, with the Russian economy shrugging off western sanctions and the political cohesion of the state completely unperturbed (even by the Wagner coup), and the second hope was dashed the moment Putin announced mobilization in the autumn of 2022. That leaves only the battlefield.

Therefore, the situation becomes very simple. If Ukraine cannot successfully advance on strongly held Russian positions, it cannot win the war according to its own terms. Thus, given the collapse of Ukraine’s summer offensive (and myriad other examples, like the way an ancillary Ukrainian attack banged its head meaninglessly on Bakhmut for months) there is a very simple question to be asked.

Will Ukraine ever get a better opportunity to attempt a strategic offensive? If the answer is no, then it necessarily follows that the war will end with Ukrainian territorial loss.

It seems to be a point of near triviality that 2023 was Ukraine’s best opportunity to attack. NATO had to move heaven and earth to scrape together the attack package. Ukraine will not get a better one. Not only is there simply nothing left in the stable for many NATO members, but assembling a larger mechanized force would require the west to double down on failure. Meanwhile, Ukraine is hemorrhaging viable manpower, due to a combination of high casualties, a flood of emigration as people flee a crumbling state, and endemic corruption which cripples the efficiency of the mobilization apparatus. Add it all up and you get a growing manpower squeeze and looming shortages of munitions and equipment. This is what it looks like when an army is attrited.

At the same time that Ukrainian combat power is declining, Russia’s is climbing. The Russian industrial sector has dramatically increased output despite western sanctions, leading to belated recognition that Russia is not going to conveniently run out of weapons, and indeed is comfortably out-producing the entire western bloc. The Russian state is in the process of radically raising defense expenditures, which will pay further dividends in combat power as time goes on. Meanwhile, on the manpower front, Russian force generation is stable (IE, does not require an expanded mobilization), and the sudden realization that the Russian army does in fact have plenty of reserves left prominent members of the Commentariat arguing with each other on Twitter. The Russian army is now poised to reap the benefits of its investments over the coming year.

I leave you with one rather telling video. This is the Neo-Tsar, Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, speaking at the World Russian People’s Conference literally today:

That is a man brimming with confidence, who knows perfectly well he and his country are winning the long war with Clown World. He knows who he is fighting, and he knows himself and his country’s capabilities. He WILL win, and the peace he imposes on the West will be impossible for them to tolerate – but they will have no choice, because the West will be so weakened in every way, that it can no longer resist.

This is how you win wars – through patience, long-term thinking, and the careful husbanding of your own resources, while encouraging your enemy to recklessly expend his.

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3 Comments

  1. Ned

    One point two million dead or missing Ukrainians, as per a 1+1 televised ticker report in Ukraine. The ticker was quickly taken down.
    That does not include injured, captured or deserted.

    Reply
    • Didact

      Yeah, I saw that story. There is some speculation as to how exactly that happened, and whether that number is real. For what it is worth, I personally think it is probably in the neighbourhood of the truth, based on the evidence I have seen – we are indeed looking at something close to half a million dead, at least, and a couple of hundred thousand missing, for sure.

      Reply

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