Monthly Archives: February 2022

An attack on the Slavs, on the Orthodox

Russia did it. Tonight President Putin signed the decree recognizing the independence of Donetsk and Luhansk after a very interesting meeting of the Security Council. It’s appalling nobody foresaw it as a possibility. I’ve written already in January it was possible in an unpublished paper (email me, and I’ll be glad to send it). It started last week with the Duma approving an initiative from Putin’s party to recognize the territories’ independence. Today, Putin called an emergency meeting of the Security Council to discuss this issue plus the FSB reports on Ukrainian sabotage in Russian territory.

The broadcast was supposed to be live, but there are many indicators it was recorded before. Shoigu’s wristwatch was marking 12:47, while the meeting was allegedly happening after 16:50. Valentina Matvienko’s (Chairwoman of the Federation Council) speech was clearly edited, and a frame showed Prosecutor General Igor Krasnov leaving the podium, although his speech wasn’t part of the transmission.

The Foreign Minister S. Lavrov spoke first, noting that “the West is not ready to accept Russia’s proposals for non-expansion of NATO. Nevertheless, Russia is prepared to discuss security issues with the United States, but only considering Moscow’s position on non-expansion of the alliance.” The head of the FSB, Alexander Bortnikov, said that after a battle on the border, a serviceman of the Armed Forces of Ukraine was allegedly captured. He also stressed that the FSB with the Ministry of Defense destroyed two Ukrainian “sabotage groups” that reached the border with the Russian Federation. The Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu estimated the number of Ukrainian military near the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk republics at 59,300 troops. At the same time, on February 8, Putin said that 100-125 thousand Ukrainian troops were allegedly concentrated near Donbas. He added that “we were left no choice. Thus, I say unequivocally: yes, we must recognize.”

Medvedev added that “We face a difficult dilemma associated with the recognition of these two territories. I remember 2008 well; I can say from experience that I had to recognize the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia at that time. We know what happened next. I won’t talk about it. This has saved the lives of hundreds of thousands of people.”

Matvienko said that “it became evident that the Kyiv puppet regime not only does not want to but also cannot solve anything. Ukraine needs this conflict to justify the degrading economic situation. The West needs this conflict as an anti-Russian project. That is why the Minsk agreements are not being implemented. What did the residents of Luhansk and Donetsk want? Let’s remember! They wanted the right to speak Russian. Ordinary requirements, common European values. Instead, a humanitarian catastrophe is organized. Where is the OSCE? Heads of state meet, decisions are made. For Russia, these are citizens, people. Two Slavic fraternal peoples are trying to be united. Well, how much more can you try to persuade? How much more can be explained? We need to call a spade a spade. Residents of Lugansk and Donetsk rebelled against the bloody coup. What has Russia done wrong to Ukraine?

The secretary of the Security Council, Nikolai Patrushev, also called for support for the State Duma’s appeal to recognize the independence of Donbas and Luhansk. He said that “it’s not the people of Ukraine who organized; they are intimidated, forced to follow this path. Organized by the United States! It would be advisable to respond to Biden’s proposal to hold negotiations in which you (Putin) could say that you did everything against the people of the DPR and LPR, and we all to support them. If you do everything to stop the massacre there, we can have a dialogue.”

The director of the SVR (Foreign Intelligence Service) Sergei Naryshkin said that “the thesis about Russia’s plans to invade Ukraine was born within the walls of the U.S. State Department and promoted to such limits that it resembles war propaganda. This was done to provoke Kyiv to try to solve the problem of Donbas by military means. We have no right to allow this.”

When Putin’s requested him to speak clearly, he misspoke and replied that he supported “the proposal to join the DPR and LPR into the Russian Federation.” Putin himself noted that it is only about the recognition of independence.

Putin: – You propose to start the negotiation process
Naryshkin: – Oh, no, I… I… support…

Putin: – Or to recognize their sovereignty?

Naryshkin: – Oh, me, I… support…
Putin: – Speak, speak straight!

Naryshkin: – I will support the proposal for recognition…
Putin: – Will I support or support? Speak straight, Sergey Evgenyevich!
Naryshkin: – I support the proposal to…
Putin: – So say: yes or no.
Naryshkin: – That’s what I say, yes… I support the proposal to join the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics into the Russian Federation.
Putin: – Yes, you… We’re not talking about it, we’re not discussing it. We’re talking about recognizing their independence or not.
Naryshkin: – Yes… I support the proposal to recognize independence.


Watermelon Man

Racism is just stupid. A bigot wakes up to discover he is now black and experiences all kind of prejudice. He gains a new level of counsciiousness and fights back. Nice comedy.

Director: Melvin Van Peebles
Cast: Godfrey Cambridge, Estelle Parsons, Howard Caine, D’Urville Martin, Kay Kimberley

Year: 1970

98 minutes

My rating:




Russia will Recognize the Independence of Donetsk and Lukhansk

This is one case when I hate to be right. Yesterday, I wrote on this blog that instead of a conventional operation, Russia had many other alternatives. One was recognizing the independence of Donetsk and Lukhansk. It’s happening.

Tomorrow (15.02), the Duma will consider two proposals to recognize the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lukhansk People’s Republics. Deputies from the Communist Party submitted the first draft resolution. If the State Duma approves the draft resolution, it’ll immediately send it to the president for signature.  The second draft was proposed by several deputies from the United Russia faction. If approved, the document will be first sent to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Defense and other institutions for evaluation. The Duma will Voter a draft resolution taking into account the proposals of ministries.

According to Vyacheslav Volodin, “this issue is extremely important, since Washington and some European countries are escalating tensions supplying weapons to Ukraine. Kyiv continues not to comply with the Minsk agreements. All this carries threats and risks to the lives of our citizens and compatriots living in the DPR and LPR.


Russia and Ukraine: Time to Think Without the Box

As William Faulkner intoned in Requiem for a Nun, “The Past is never dead. It’s not even past.” With Russia annexing the Crimea and the war in Dombas and Lukhansk, Ukraine has been hurrying to join NATO. Since it does not yet fulfill all membership requirements, a possible membership seems still a matter of many years to come. Notwithstanding that, Russia has been amalgamating approximately 130,000 troops near Ukrainian borders in the last months. Although until recently most of it has been about prepositioning hardware, recent movements indicate more troops and equipment are being deployed and being connected to the system of military logistics. Although it could mean an attack is coming soon, escalation aims to force Ukraine and the West to negotiate a settlement favorable to Russia. More precisely, to stop NATO’s expansion to the East. It is not clear how a conventional attack at this moment would achieve it.

A conventional invasion is only one option and military capabilities may be used in several manners, including to achieve non-military objectives. To understand Russian warfare, thinking outside the box is not enough. It is necessary to think without the box. Russian actions appear to be following a textbook example of the concept of escalating to de-escalate. Although it was developed within the scope of nuclear warfare, its principles are applicable to non-nuclear situations. They are simple. An impasse is created to force the opponent to negotiate a solution acceptable to, in this case, Russia. In other words, to de-escalate on Russia’s terms. Depending on the outcome of the negotiations, the de-escalation process takes place or further escalation happens. The process is not linear. One of the problems is that for the United States and NATO military escalation is a linear process. This can result in faster escalation.

Following Russian doctrine and examples from the operations in Ukraine and Syria, some possible actions in Ukraine might include launching high precision non-nuclear missiles targeting important Ukrainian infrastructure objects such as power plants, water sewage and cleaning facilities, transport hubs, and other with the objective of disturbing the normality of people’s quotidian lives, resulting in political leverage for reaching a settlement and even government change to de-escalate the situation; recognizing the independence of Donetsk and Lukhansk; increasing the intensity of the conflict in Eastern Ukraine, including by creating and supporting new separatist movements in Kharkiv, Dnipropetrovsk, Zaporizhia, Kherson, Mykolaiv, and Odessa with the support of the troops already deployed near the Ukrainian border; using moles and other agents of influence to incite mass protests against the current government, just to cite few. 

To put pressure on NATO countries, some possible actions include deploying missiles in the Far East that could target Alaska; escalating in the Arctic region, for example, by blocking transit  in Russian exclusive areas or posturing near other countries’ areas of interest; conducting exercises in the Baltic Sea which include electronic warfare to disrupt telecommunications in the region’s countries and posturing to create panic within local populations; covert operations to make provocations and other possibilities; instigating protests against the Ukrainian or any other country government; cyber warfare in many forms, including to disrupt energy, water, finance, transit, and other basic services; submarines appearing very close NATO countries’ territorial waters; naval and air exercises, including missile range practice near other countries’ territorial waters and/or air space. These are only some possibilities. Some of them might be more effective and less risky than the conventional attack some believe might happen in the near future.

Russia will not stop to pursue its strategic interests. As a result, further escalation including demonstrative military activities and other actions that might include posturing near NATO and EU countries are to be expected.

This is of special importance, since the United States has been announcing an imminent conventional attack by Russia since December. More recently, the White House divulged that the attack to be on February 16, 2022. The risk is high and this possibility is real. However, taking into consideration the many options available for Russia discussed above, there is also a chance that the troops along the Ukrainian border are a diversion for something else. To know the concrete date of the possible attack American intelligence agencies must have a mole inside the Kremlin, one very near Putin. If this intelligence is real, the Russians are aware and this agent will soon be neutralized. There is another possibility, though. It is possible that the Russians are feeding the US with fake intelligence in what could be a textbook case of reflexive control. As a result, Moscow may and probably will act in an unpredictable way. A very probable scenario is the one creating “color revolutions” in Eastern Ukraine to break the country in two. One part stays with the West, another with Russia. It might include hybrid operations in the Baltic States, Poland, Sweden, Finland, Norway, Western Europe, the Arctic, and other regions to take NATO and the United States’ attention out of Ukraine.

The West has been trying to understand Russia in its own strategic terms. This is a mistake. The Russian strategic tradition is still based on dialectics, as Clausewitz. It considers all possible variables and outcomes. The West have a postmodern approach which is often looking inwards ignoring the specificities of each theater. It must be ready, united, and resolved, at the same time pragmatically evaluating the threat. It may be where we are not looking.