I may do a longer take later, but for now, some quick thoughts on Vladimir’s mobilization speech.
First, the delay of the speech is weird and a story unto itself. Speaks to a number of things going on internally.
Second, keep in mind that most of the speech was for internal consumption, which tends to confuse Western media and lead to some rather interesting takes.
It was a chance to lay out what and why to the public. You had the standard threats to the sacred soil of Mother Russia, you had the justifications of the special military operation in context of Russkiy Mir and more, and how the West is being mean and threatening Russia. How dare the Ukraine and the West fight back!
There was, of course, the announcement of a military mobilization, that any threat to the soil of Russia would be met with force and in context of that the idea of the use of special weapons was raised as was the specific use of nuclear weapons given Western threats to nuke Moscow. Vladimir also stated that referendums to join Russia by the occupied territories (and boy did he make a huge grab attempt on what he considers occupied!) would be honored.
Some quick take-aways. Any real impact of the 300,000 called up is at least six months to a year off. It’s going to take that long (or longer given how the system is busted and basic supplies appear to be short) to get them into the system and up to a useful standard — provided they aren’t treated like the conscripts from the occupied areas and tossed into the fray with little/no training or supplies. Unconfirmed reports that flights out of Russia are full with sudden reservations by males of an age to be called up.
Take by some here that they will use this to pull in experienced NCOs ignores the fact that they have none by our standards. Russia follows the Soviet model, where enlisted were short-termers who may not have really wanted to be there and were treated as scum and idiots by many. Officers were in for longer, presumed to be more educated, and frankly did the tasks NCOs would do in our system. Keep in mind LTs pull maintenance with enlisted (mostly) providing muscle at need.
I strongly suspect most of the 300k will come from east of the Urals. For a number of reasons, Vladimir and company do not want to stir things up around Moscow or St. Petersburg. They also don’t want any large masses of troops, particularly those called up or conscripted, anywhere near Moscow for obvious reasons.
More interesting in the order itself are the penalties on businesses that refuse defense contracts or to produce defense materials on demand. You can refuse once, but not twice. Penalties not directly specified but implied draconian for the business and those running it.
Also, keep an eye on the discussions that have been/are being held in Moscow with Belarus. Vladimir desperately needs Belarus troops as well as Russian to attack the Ukraine from Belarus. Even the threat of such would hold back troops that otherwise could be used in any upcoming offensives in the East/South by the Ukraine.
The emphasis on the Motherland and what I term sacred soil was very interesting especially in light of the discussion on special, not just nuclear, weapons. Some of the threats of nuclear were expected and frankly a yawn as it was a predictable attempt to bully the West into accepting Russia trying to claim a huge chunk of the Ukraine (apparently including “occupied” territory it no longer occupies). However, mixed in that was a very clear thread of any attack on or over Russian territory could/would result in the use of special weapons and all possible force.
That may be pure bluff or it may not. It is clearly intended to prevent the Ukraine from cutting across Russian territory to cut off and retake parts of the East and South. As well as to stop shelling and other attacks on bases, depots, etc. within Russia. Those clearly have hurt, and it showed in the speech.
One thing I’m finding interesting is that it is still a special military operation, and Vladimir is making no effort to use strategic bombing or even fully use the Air Force, which says some very interesting things. Part is internal politics and part is clearly something else. Just what that is, is the question of the moment.
There’s more, but maybe later. The final thing I will suggest is to look at the speech on its own, without newsies yammering or translators translating. Things are off. Delivery, phraseology, and even how he holds himself. Watch at least the critical portions closely and several times, and focus on different areas each time. This should have been a canned, perfect speech. It isn’t. Not sure what that means, but it is interesting to note. I could nit-pick the staging, but those are mostly cultural issues and it was tuned to an internal, not external, audience.
Hang on, things could get very interesting here soon in a variety of ways.
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