Sorry for the lack of posting yesterday, but between having to go let the vampires have a go at me, and the effects of the weather changes (not to mention the house trying to flood again), it was interesting. The weather changes have an effect not only on my joints and such, but also seem to have an effect on the “scrambling” caused by the lightning hit. I’ve always used checklists, but have taken it to an even higher level of late. Of course, it also helps to remember to take the list with you when you head out… Ah well, got a fair bit done if not all. If interested in learning more about the whole hit by lightning thing, check out the posts at the fundraiser as well as a few here.
More than ever, my previous advice stands: as I noted the other day, don’t believe everything coming out from ANY source including the conspiracy people. And, I do include anything on this site or that I say should be treated that way. Take it with a bit of salt until you can research and verify. If it is from a military source on the record, take it with a grain of salt. If it’s from the media, take it with a tun of salt until it can be verified via a reliable source. As Boss said, trust; but, verify.
Also, let me stress again my belief that we do not want or need to get directly involved in the fighting. The complete and total idiots (or those simply evil enough to want a larger war for fun and profit) who keep pushing for some kind of no-fly-zone are not helping the situation at all. There’s enough chance of a wider conflict as it is, a no-fly-zone is a guaranteed open World War. Help supply the Ukraine and let them fight for their own country? Yes! Send in our troops? NO!
A fair question on my coverage: why am I not commenting on each unit/campaign/etc? First, most of my analysis is on the strategic level, trying to put the puzzles together so that a realistic picture is formed as well as providing a base for trying to figure out what Vladimir will do next. Second, it’s that whole trust and verify thing. I have a limited amount of time each day where I can productively research and write. Trying to verify all the different reports takes a LOT of time and sometimes makes life difficult in regards sources. So, I mostly stick to the strategic knowing that there are good sources/analysts out there who are covering that topic well.
Yes, those individual units/actions/etc. are pieces in the puzzle but I don’t always need what’s on or in the piece: I simply need the “shape” to know where it fits. On the pieces where I need both, I will take the time.
I am going to recommend keeping a close eye on the NATO meeting underway. There’s already been one presentation, a warning about nuclear war, that I think was unhelpful. Also, given Biden’s amazing ability to “fuck things up” per his old boss, I would not be surprised if he found a way to let his normal verbal incontinence make the situation worse. Also, if you are reading reports that Vladimir does not have a high opinion of Biden and those behind him, consider that verified. Diplomatically.
If you truly want a better understanding of who Vladimir was, what he is now, and a bit more, the wonderful Sarah Hoyt linked this morning to a story that is chock full of juicy and excellent food for thought. You really want to take the time to listen to the video interview of one of Vladimir’s former supervisors. Col. Kalugin is not your average or typical intel source. Before he had to leave Russia for his own safety, he was (and may still be) a mover and shaker as they say. Listen to it all, then listen again.
Despite tap dancing in a few spots (and he did so most excellently), he gets across a lot of information to those paying attention. As for the tap dancing, in a couple of the spots I can’t blame him and may join in. The picture he provides of Vladimir showcases how ruthless, conniving, and brutal he truly is. It also confirms some of the things I’ve been telling you. Vladimir saw the fall of the USSR as a catastrophe, though it was not for the fall of communism but rather the loss of the territories of the Russian empire. This lies at the heart of Russkiy Mir and the creation of a new Russian empire. Col. Kalugin also pointed out that the Ukraine is the mother of Russia, and Kyiv holds a special place in the hearts of Slavophiles, especially those who are behind the creation of Russkiy Mir. Hence, part of Vladimir’s obsession with Kyiv.
One thing many may miss is what Col. Kalugin is getting at in his discussion about Alexander Litvinenko and his murder in London. Allow me to tap dance just a bit, and say that there have been rumors about Vladimir for years, and especially about his sexuality. Litvinenko came out and said directly what a number of those rumors implied: that Putin is attracted to young boys. You can read some more on this here.
That he has had several rather public affairs has been speculated to be cover, to burnish his image as the strong (virile) man of myth. There are reports/rumors (take your pick) that others with direct knowledge of this have also died, almost always horribly. If you betray Vladimir (and by doing so you are a traitor to the Rodina as well), he will get you. Some of Col. Kalugin’s comments on this are a master study in understatement.
For all that Col. Kalugin tap dances, he manages to get across the idea that he suspects Vladimir will only leave office via death. Given that the intelligence and counter-intelligence assets Putin controls here in the U.S. are just as prepared to murder for him as the ones in (or sent to) London, he is wise to tap dance around the concept of removing Vladimir. Let’s face it: even if a peaceful way was offered, Vladimir would not accept it because he knows what he would do which is betray and murder.
As for the rest of that article, read it! There is a lot of information and food for thought there. If you had told me a few months ago that the Russian army would have to use not only unsecured but enemy operated communications nets, I would have laughed at you. Yes, the army is not what it used to be, but surely they remembered the lessons of the past, not to mention all the preparation and doctrine for a war with NATO. Wow.
All I’m going to say right now is that Wow, and that the situation may even be worse than is being said. I don’t want to say too much, as people running their mouths, to reporters or on social media, have sunk ships as it were. I’m also old enough to remember when that idiot peanut from Georgia told the media about our monitoring a conversation by Brezhnev with a fellow politburo member regarding the (apparently remarkable) attributes of his new mistress. Of course, this let the Soviet’s know that we had the ability to monitor the car-to-car transmissions of the politburo members. Had was indeed the operative word, pretty much within minutes. People (mostly politicians) here and especially those in the Ukraine need to shut-the-frack-up and/or quit posting.
Now, let’s look at logistics. Again, Wow. What is happening is beyond FUBAR. It has put the Russian troops on the defensive, giving the Ukrainians precious time to restock, restore, dig in, and in some cases take the offense. The other day I linked another story at Instapundit, who in turned linked to Stacy McCain and his discussion of what happened to the 331st Guards. He is careful to say that “if true” and while I echo that, there is very good reason to believe it is true. Yet again, Wow. This was truly an elite unit, and its loss is devastating on many levels. The near-term effects are staggering, and it is a loss that will not be truly made up for years given the loss of experience. That the Ukraine(!) took them out is going to ripple around the region if not the world.
Some of that is a discussion for another day. What matters today is that Stacy is right: that it was a result of the lack of supplies and replacements that doomed them. If I was in charge in the Ukraine, I would be expanding the attacks on Russian logistics. If this report is true, and they took out what I show as an LST via a short-range ballistic missile as some reports indicate, then they might just be doing so. That it also changes the tactical defense requirement for the Russians (note all reports show the other LSTs headed out) since it seems short-range ballistic missiles were not in the threat matrix. A new and novel use for them if it is true, and it once again forces the Russians on the defensive.
Which brings us back, once again, to doctrine. Via the Bongino Report, I found this interesting article. Please do go read it, as there is a huge amount of information there. While I do not yet endorse his recommendations, I also don’t disagree with them. I do think steps to deter are needed, and we are not likely to get them out of the Biden administration, and that could well prove catastrophic.
Right now, Vladimir is a desperate man motivated by personal survival; maintaining power (intertwined but separate); and, the dream of the new Russian Empire. He has and is using the “N word” a great deal, especially since Slow Joe let him know of his fear of WWIII. He’s doing it to deter us, and it’s working. That is not a good thing as once strategic response is off the table even in response to a crippling attack, it opens the door for tactical without repercussions.
I’m reminded of a line from Tom Clancy, in which two Soviet officers are talking about the use of nukes. Essentially, one makes the case that the line between tactical and strategic use only existed in the mind of idiotic academics (primarily Western). That any use would escalate and move swiftly out of control. I agree, but do not want to test that hypothesis.
While it’s out of order, one more bit of food for thought as you evaluate things. Keep in mind that a good bit of Russian history, and a large part of its internal politics, boils down to conflict between those who look to the West and Western ideals of the Enlightenment, and those who look to Slavic culture (Slavophiles). In Vladimir, you have in some ways the Slavophile’s Slavophile; and, in Russkiy Mir you have the Slavophile wet dream prepared as a plan so that wet dream can be made real.
Now, go back and re-listen to the interview with Col. Kalugin. Then think a bit.
Some Previous Posts:
Vladimir And The Ukraine
Answers, Ramblings, And A Bit More On Vladimir And The Ukraine
Your Must Read For The Day On Russia
The Puzzles In Play, And The Missing Pieces
Quick Thoughts On Ukraine/Putin
The Thing Behind The Curtain
Missing Pieces And Surprise Pieces
If you like what you are reading, feel free to hit the tip jar in the upper right or the fundraiser at A New Life on GiveSendGo. Getting hit by lightning is not fun, and it is thanks to your help and prayers that I am still going. Thank you.