News   GLOBAL  |  Apr 02, 2020
 5.8K     0 
News   GLOBAL  |  Apr 01, 2020
 29K     0 
News   GLOBAL  |  Apr 01, 2020
 2.8K     0 

kEiThZ

Superstar
Member Bio
Joined
Jul 31, 2008
Messages
11,067
Reaction score
6,067
Another note as well, I havent seen much talk about this but I've noticed a shift in Kremlin rhetoric in the last few days and I find it particularly alarming.

Meh. They have different rhetoric for different audiences. The best one I heard so far, was that they weren't allowing the sharing of borscht.


Putin has explained this war as neccessary and justified, Peskov said it was to end US hegemony, and today Lukashenko said it was a preemptive strike against the West. The rhetoric has now shifted from this being about Ukraine to being a war against the West. In my mind that's truthfully what it was always about, but I worry if Russia continues to reframe this as a conflict not against Ukraine but the West that there is a much higher risk of this spiralling out of control. If the Austrian leaders meeting with Putin yesterday is anything to go by, Putin is living in a dream world divorced from reality. His decisions make sense in the context of what he believes, but what he believes is so far removed from truth I think it's very dangerous.

The shift makes sense. They know if the army collapses, they will have huge issues at home and threats to their regime. Yet, they have an army that is suffering lower morale in the field and a population that could well be on the way to finding out that 20k Russian troops are KIA in 2 months of fighting, for very little tactical gain and no real strategic gain. So they have to escalate the rhetoric at home to get their population to accept that these losses were justified.

As with all these things, watch what they do, not what they say. They didn't put in stop loss to prevent conscripts from leaving. They haven't gone to national mobilization. And while they have done a lot to block foreign media, they haven't yet erected a national firewall like China. Those would be signs of massive escalation coming.

I think they are looking to secure the Donbas, get their land corridor to Crimea and then they'll declare victory and call for a ceasefire. The real problem for them is that the Ukrainians may not be in the mood for a ceasefire now. And the West may not be in any mood to compromise on sanctions.
 

Bjays92

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
Jan 9, 2020
Messages
1,145
Reaction score
3,105
As with all these things, watch what they do, not what they say. They didn't put in stop loss to prevent conscripts from leaving. They haven't gone to national mobilization. And while they have done a lot to block foreign media, they haven't yet erected a national firewall like China. Those would be signs of massive escalation coming.
I have to disagree, Russia has consistently telegraphed what they are planning to do in what they say. There was evidence of this in the lead up to the war, despite their denials that an invasion was imminent, Putin talked about genocide in Donbass, provocations by Ukraine etc before doing those things themselves. They said they were shifting a focus to liberating Donbass and followed that up with withdrawls and refocusing their military. They talked about being framed for war crimes as they were pulling out and war crimes appeared, likewise they telegraphed their use of chemical weapons which appears as though it may now be happening or is imminent. They said Ukraine was mining the black sea, while they mined the black sea and so on and so forth.

They implied that they were in an economic war with the West before issuing counter sanctions, and likewise and information war before cracking down on dissent. The justification for their actions in Ukraine has be consistently based on allegations of Ukrainian actions. So the fact that their has been a sudden, coordinated shift in blame, by Putin and all his top officials, to the West, rather than Ukraine itself, signals to me that there is, at the very least, a willingness to widen the theatre of conflict if necessary. That doesn't mean it will be tomorrow, as obviously their first objective is Donbass, but they will not stop there and most certainly are not seeking a ceasefire. Putin has been very clear he has no desire for negotiations, certainly not any in good faith.

Russia has threatened a military technical response to Finland joining NATO and said they would have to rebalance the situation. That's one way this could expand under Russians new justifications. Another possibility in my view is sparking a conflict in Serbia, especially since China just delivered an incredibly advanced missile system to the country.

I don't know what Putin's ultimate plan here is, but by reframing this as a conflict against the West, that to me is telegraphing that at some point (maybe not in weeks or even months) but in the foreseeable future, he will use that framing as justification for further aggression against other western aligned states.
 

kEiThZ

Superstar
Member Bio
Joined
Jul 31, 2008
Messages
11,067
Reaction score
6,067
I have to disagree, Russia has consistently telegraphed what they are planning to do in what they say.

Tactically yes. Strategically no. They talk about what they'll do locally. And then usually do it. But their wider rationale is ever changing. And very much driven by their propaganda and messaging priorities.

Put it this way. If Putin truly believed he was in an existential war with NATO, he'd be mass mobilizing and instituting a massive general draft. He's not. Instead, he is still stuck on the "Special Military Operation" messaging.

They implied that they were in an economic war with the West before issuing counter sanctions, and likewise and information war before cracking down on dissent.

Russia has threatened a military technical response to Finland joining NATO and said they would have to rebalance the situation.

"You can't dump me. I'm leaving you!"

Let's be clear. These are feeble attempts at looking like they can impose equal penalties on the west. They can't.

Another possibility in my view is sparking a conflict in Serbia,

Russia can't effectively project force 100 miles from their own borders. He ain't doing much in Serbia. Heck, Transniestria might be back in Moldovan hands in a few months to years.

Also, Serbia has to be on their bestest behaviour for that EU application. Going back to their old ways of war and genocide would be bad for that.

I don't know what Putin's ultimate plan here is, but by reframing this as a conflict against the West, that to me is telegraphing that at some point (maybe not in weeks or even months) but in the foreseeable future, he will use that framing as justification for further aggression against other western aligned states.

He's going to do all kinds of things. Cyber attacks. Information warfare. Sanctions. But actual military attacks? Not very possible now that his army is getting absolutely mauled in Ukraine and all their most elite units have been decimated.

You've seen what Ukraine is capable of with donated western kit and some western intelligence support. Now just imagine fighting actual Western forces, fully kitted out with western gear and 24/7 unrestricted western intelligence and surveillance. If he's crazy enough to try it, he'll be very successful in demilitarizing Russia.

Russia can't effectively feed their troops 100 miles from their own border. The US had steak and lobster for its troops in the middle of the desert in Iraq. I don't think people truly understand what US and NATO logistics, command and control and integration is truly like.
 

kEiThZ

Superstar
Member Bio
Joined
Jul 31, 2008
Messages
11,067
Reaction score
6,067
For all those from the "NATO expansion will get us nuked" camp:


Not once does Putin mention NATO expansion.

Get it now?

We're not careening towards nuclear war with a madman. But Putin really hopes some folks in the West wet themselves thinking of the possibility. Reduces the likelihood of Western support or intervention in Ukraine..

Look at the reaction and threats towards Finland and Sweden. There is nothing Putin fears more than NATO. And it's not because he thinks NATO will invade Russia. It's because he knows NATO and EU expansion is end of Russian influence in Europe. And eventually, his own people will ask why they can't have what all their ex-Soviet neighbours have.
 

lenaitch

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
Sep 5, 2017
Messages
3,963
Reaction score
3,847
For those who better understand/follow past and current events in Europe, is there some movement or thought on the part of other former eastern bloc countries, particularly those that are now in the EU, to send home ethnic Russians? It's probably easier if they are not citizens but, even for those that are, I imagine these countries are wanting to avoid being the next target of Russian 'rescuing'. I realize that "ethnic Russian" is probably a tough label to define given the regions history. Just curious.
 

Bjays92

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
Jan 9, 2020
Messages
1,145
Reaction score
3,105
Put it this way. If Putin truly believed he was in an existential war with NATO, he'd be mass mobilizing and instituting a massive general draft. He's not. Instead, he is still stuck on the "Special Military Operation" messaging.
Because he thought his initial campaign would be quick and easy so why even call it a war. Since he's conviced his entire population it's just a special military operation he cant just suddenly turn around and say full scale war time for general mobilization. He's already reportedly been widening draft parameters and trying to mobilize tens of thousands of former military people for his renewed offensive in Donbass.

One of the steps to actually ordering general mobilization in Russia is reframing the conflict as one against the West and saying the threat against Russia is existential, which is something I believe Putin is working towards. Ukraine's top intelligence officer today warned that Putin might be planning terrorist attacks in Russia, which would again be a way to shift closer to a general mobilization scenario.
Russia can't effectively project force 100 miles from their own borders. He ain't doing much in Serbia. Heck, Transniestria might be back in Moldovan hands in a few months to years.

Also, Serbia has to be on their bestest behaviour for that EU application. Going back to their old ways of war and genocide would be bad for that.
Putin does not need any troops in Serbia to cause a stir, just like he doesn't need any troops in Hungary or France if Le Pen wins. Serbia is the closest it's been to civil war the 90's and that's widely acknowledged by pretty much everyone. The governing faction wants to join to join the EU, but opposition members with locals support are the major threat to undermining peace in the region. Again no projecting is required.

Similarly they also don't need to project much power in Moldova. Russia can sweep through Moldova in a day, they're military is nothing like Ukraine's and they are a super tiny country. They have zero capacity to retake Transniestria.
I've seen this on Twitter, apparently reported by a swedish paper, but I have yet to see it be picked up by any major outlets yet so I remain a touch skeptical (not that it's unlikely)
 

vic

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
May 17, 2007
Messages
1,378
Reaction score
1,700
For those who better understand/follow past and current events in Europe, is there some movement or thought on the part of other former eastern bloc countries, particularly those that are now in the EU, to send home ethnic Russians? It's probably easier if they are not citizens but, even for those that are, I imagine these countries are wanting to avoid being the next target of Russian 'rescuing'. I realize that "ethnic Russian" is probably a tough label to define given the regions history. Just curious.
An effort like that would certainly trigger more accusations of nazification, wouldn't it?
 

Richard White

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
Dec 7, 2015
Messages
5,136
Reaction score
3,487
City:
Toronto
For those who better understand/follow past and current events in Europe, is there some movement or thought on the part of other former eastern bloc countries, particularly those that are now in the EU, to send home ethnic Russians? It's probably easier if they are not citizens but, even for those that are, I imagine these countries are wanting to avoid being the next target of Russian 'rescuing'. I realize that "ethnic Russian" is probably a tough label to define given the regions history. Just curious.

I have family in Hungary who are more than welcoming of Russians. They are a former Warsaw Bloc country who was under the influence of the USSR for decades.

Older Hungarians remember the communist times with great fondness because of how well they were provided for by the USSR. The younger crowd who only knows the EU want closer ties but for the time being, their Prime Minister is getting much closer to Russia.

No doubt he sees what is happening in Ukraine and Putin's grip on power as a potential threat. He is likely trying to cozy up to Putin in an effort to keep the gas flowing and the troops out. He likely knows that given their size, if Ukraine falls or Russia does something stupid they are screwed and invaded. The EU is massive and Hungary is a member of NATO but if Russia invades NATO will likely abandon Hungary like the west did in 1956 to avoid WW3, Orban is likely doing what he needs to do to keep his country out of Russian war plans.

The irony in this of course, is that when he was much younger Viktor Orban was very much anti-communist. He was advocating for the withdrawal of Soviet troops from Hungary and even spoke at the reinternment for a former PM who was executed during the revolution.
 

MisterF

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
Apr 24, 2007
Messages
3,518
Reaction score
2,838
No doubt he sees what is happening in Ukraine and Putin's grip on power as a potential threat. He is likely trying to cozy up to Putin in an effort to keep the gas flowing and the troops out. He likely knows that given their size, if Ukraine falls or Russia does something stupid they are screwed and invaded. The EU is massive and Hungary is a member of NATO but if Russia invades NATO will likely abandon Hungary like the west did in 1956 to avoid WW3, Orban is likely doing what he needs to do to keep his country out of Russian war plans.
What are you basing this on? If NATO abandons a member country because it's afraid of a fight, that would render it pointless and it might as well close up shop. What would actually happen if Putin invaded Hungary is it would trigger an immediate and automatic response from NATO. That's it's whole purpose.

Hungary wasn't a NATO member in 1956, so the comparison doesn't make sense. Neither was Czechoslovakia in 1968.
 

Richard White

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
Dec 7, 2015
Messages
5,136
Reaction score
3,487
City:
Toronto
What are you basing this on? If NATO abandons a member country because it's afraid of a fight, that would render it pointless and it might as well close up shop. What would actually happen if Putin invaded Hungary is it would trigger an immediate and automatic response from NATO. That's it's whole purpose.

Hungary wasn't a NATO member in 1956, so the comparison doesn't make sense. Neither was Czechoslovakia in 1968.

That is true but faced with the choice between igniting a very bloody and very nuclear WW3 or abandoning a small insignificant country in the alliance the choice is simple.

If Russia was invading Germany, France, Belgium or the UK the response would be swift. Invading countries like Hungary, Macedonia or Slovenia would require some thought in terms of a response. What would you rather do, end the world or let one small insignificant country be annexed by Russia?
 

kEiThZ

Superstar
Member Bio
Joined
Jul 31, 2008
Messages
11,067
Reaction score
6,067
Because he thought his initial campaign would be quick and easy so why even call it a war. Since he's conviced his entire population it's just a special military operation he cant just suddenly turn around and say full scale war time for general mobilization.


We're now 1.5 months in. Mobilization is not a switch they can turn on and off. It would take weeks to just get some initial troops. Months to mobilize the bulk.

He's already reportedly been widening draft parameters and trying to mobilize tens of thousands of former military people for his renewed offensive in Donbass.

They have annual conscription in Russia. Putin didn't change the numbers. They didn't even institute stop-loss and let conscripts who finished their time leave. So no, they are not drafting more people. What they are doing is trying hard to get those who are in to stay (sign contracts) and for ex-military to re-enlist. This is no different than what the US was doing in the 2000s.

One of the steps to actually ordering general mobilization in Russia is reframing the conflict as one against the West and saying the threat against Russia is existential, which is something I believe Putin is working towards. Ukraine's top intelligence officer today warned that Putin might be planning terrorist attacks in Russia, which would again be a way to shift closer to a general mobilization scenario.

He's trying to prepare the population to accept more. But at the same time, he's going out of his way to avoid a draft. The very fact that he didn't institute stop-loss says a lot.

And all of that is assuming that Russian logistics is even capable of mobilizing them. There should be doubt on that given the performance of Russian logistics in Ukraine. They've been sending understrength units into Ukraine right now and those units have inadequate kit and are undersupplied (food, ammunition). A lot more troops to feed and supply isn't going to help Russia here.

Moreover, sending conscripts in rusting tanks from the 70s and 80s really isn't going to help Russia all that much tactically, but will massively increase the casualty count, creating yet more political instability at home.

Also, mobilization isn't free. Russia already suffers from demographic issues. Sending hundreds of thousands of young men to get maimed and die in Ukraine, isn't really helpful for their economy or society. Not to mention that declaring such will send every middle class Russian with any skill fleeing as they try to avoid the draft of their husbands or sons. And if they can't take flee, they'll be in the streets.

Putin gets all of the above. Yet, we still see Westerners cowering at the idea of Russian mobilization. If you want to talk mobilization I suggest you look at what the Ukrainian mobilization looks like. They now have more personnel mobilized in Ukraine than Russia has there and bring on thousands more everyday. Their only limit is kitting them out. If Russia declares a general mobilization you can bet the US and EU will massively mobilize the defence sector to deliver Ukrainians whatever they need to kit tens of thousands of troops per day. That would be an absolute nightmare for Putin.

Putin does not need any troops in Serbia to cause a stir, just like he doesn't need any troops in Hungary or France if Le Pen wins. Serbia is the closest it's been to civil war the 90's and that's widely acknowledged by pretty much everyone. The governing faction wants to join to join the EU, but opposition members with locals support are the major threat to undermining peace in the region. Again no projecting is required.

Similarly they also don't need to project much power in Moldova. Russia can sweep through Moldova in a day, they're military is nothing like Ukraine's and they are a super tiny country. They have zero capacity to retake Transniestria.

Like I said, I'm sure Putin will try to stir up trouble everywhere he can to try and distract from this war or undermine Western unity. But at the end of the day, there's only so much he can do, and he really can't bank on Western complacency these days.

I've seen this on Twitter, apparently reported by a swedish paper, but I have yet to see it be picked up by any major outlets yet so I remain a touch skeptical (not that it's unlikely)

The Finnish and Swedish Prime Ministers just had a joint press conference where they announced their intention to join NATO, with Finland going first.

 

kEiThZ

Superstar
Member Bio
Joined
Jul 31, 2008
Messages
11,067
Reaction score
6,067
That is true but faced with the choice between igniting a very bloody and very nuclear WW3 or abandoning a small insignificant country in the alliance the choice is simple.

If Russia was invading Germany, France, Belgium or the UK the response would be swift. Invading countries like Hungary, Macedonia or Slovenia would require some thought in terms of a response. What would you rather do, end the world or let one small insignificant country be annexed by Russia?

You don't seem to understand Article 5. Why do you think British, Canadian and American troops are in the Baltics, Poland and Romania?

He ain't getting to Hungary without killing some of ours. And we will then be entering the war. That's how tripwire forces work.

Stop buying Orban's Kremlin directed talking points.
 

Richard White

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
Dec 7, 2015
Messages
5,136
Reaction score
3,487
City:
Toronto
You don't seem to understand Article 5. Why do you think British, Canadian and American troops are in the Baltics, Poland and Romania?

He ain't getting to Hungary without killing some of ours. And we will then be entering the war. That's how tripwire forces work.

Stop buying Orban's Kremlin directed talking points.

I am not, I am thinking logically.

Do you really think NATO would start World War 3 over Hungary?
 

Top