Russia SITREP 2Nov22

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Right now, I’m really wishing the bookies in Vegas were running a section and taking odds on what is going on in Russia. Not just with the internal politics, but with pretty much everything else too. I would trust some streetwise bookies to better understand things and place odds than I would all the Ivy League intel professionals and politicians combined. If anyone could make sense of things, it would be the bookies.

That said, let’s take a look at what appears to be going on in Russia this morning. I don’t think I’m wrong when I say that I suspect pretty much none of us truly do know what is going on and understand it.

There are rumors that GROM did not go quite as expected. In terms of show, the public show was as expected with Vladimir in his Hollywood bunker at the Kremlin and various taped displays showing launches and such. Taped displays. One of which appears to have been interesting. I’m trying to find out more, and really want to get some good copies of some of the video. The CBN-ready troops were no surprise, as the Oligarchs learned long ago to have a group ready that could parade in gear of all types on television at need.

What is interesting is how far that gear and readiness truly extends. As with uniforms and so much more, there is growing word that MOPP and other gear that is supposed to be there and ready is not there. MOPP and other gear from the Soviet era is deader than a doornail. APCs, tanks, and other delights that are supposed to be operational in a nuclear environment require seals and filters to operate. When was the last time that maintenance was performed? The parts ordered and produced? Neoprene and other materials needed for CBN operations have a shelf-life. Just sayin…

Yes, they are cleaning out and restocking the shelters in Moscow. That is show for the domestic audience, as they are also continuing to push the whole ‘only America has ever used and we have never threatened’ bullshit to the internal audience. Right now, no one is seeing signs of this anywhere else. Which is good. We start seeing it elsewhere, we need to worry. Until then, attention is good but not too much worry.

Aside from one more threat, Vladimir and company have continued to stay quiet for the most part. Some of this may be pushback external; some may be pushback internal; and, some may be a glimmer of understanding about true states of readiness on all levels, not just nuclear. More than ever I think we may be looking at a situation where if 20 percent of nuclear forces on both sides work, it would be a surprise. Really don’t want to find out for sure, but as I’ve noted before, we (the world) can’t cave in to this nuclear blackmail or the situation will end up far worse than a nuclear war now. Then again, given the continuing unhelpful comments from the demented meat puppet and the incompetent Regency, we may get it despite the various sides trying to back down.

Amidst this, we also have a lot of politics being played. As I’ve noted before and will continue to emphasize, unless it happens in Moscow it doesn’t matter. Only exception, and it is limited, is if it happens in St. Petersburg. Right now, Vladimir still has Moscow locked up, though not as tight as he did a month ago. Various people and groups seem to be trying to prepare assets or bring them into play in Moscow, but it is muted and careful for the most part. Some may be simply preparing for a transition post-Vladimir, while others might be looking for an opportunity to hurry that process along.

The most interesting and amazingly open version of this is Prigozhin. When it looked like it was just him trying to take out Shoigu, I put my money on Shoigu. However, as I noted at the time, the combination of Prigozhin and Kadyrov, now joined by others, is a very different equation. Various reports now state that Prigozhin has confronted Vladimir over how things are going and the leadership of the military. There are unconfirmed reports that Col. Gen. Lapin, a favorite of Vladimir, has been sacked. There were even reports that he had died/been killed in Moscow. The latter were not believable, but at the same time speak loudly to the political maneuvers underway.

The fact is that Prigozhin, Kadyrov, and others are more than a little upset at how things are going, and want a more aggressive set of operations. How this will be done with the current supply situation (which is largely the fault of high-level corruption) short of going to special weapons is something not being discussed in public by them. Rumors about in private, but not a lot in public, yet. There is also the possibility that they may join others in pushing to get out since they can’t win by conventional arms.

Recently, Prigozhin praised Zelensky and stated that he was capable and should not be underestimated. This is a radical departure from Vladimir and his inner circle. It may indicate many things, from setting the stage for ultimate withdrawal to taking things next level. The latter is not just nuclear, but also political in that Prigozhin may be working simply to put himself on the best possible footing for a post-Vladimir world. It could also mean, but most likely does not, that he’s open to creating that post-Vladimir world. With Kadyrov the kingmaker on his side, the options are open.

There is clearly, however, growing opposition to the war and a growing belief that Vladimir’s plans are unrealistic. Where that truly matters is in Kremlin leadership (including elements of the military not fully controlled by the Oligarchs) and the Oligarchia itself. Public opinion outside of Moscow means nothing. That said, public opinion in Moscow means a good deal, and the public is growing restive. Restive enough to help push change? Not yet, not really. May in time, perhaps even a short amount of time. The resistance in those upper ranks of leadership, however, means a great deal.

The thing is, those stress fractures I’ve talked about before are growing. Vladimir’s health seems to be a growing topic within the Kremlin and Moscow. That things aren’t going well in the special military operation is finally being admitted in circles where such discussions were not permitted before. While public facades are being maintained in many cases, what lies behind is not the picture being presented.

Again, I really wish the bookies in Vegas were running odds on the internal politics as I think they might make more sense out of things than I or anyone else. There is always a degree of politics in play at any given time, but right now there appears to be a lot of jockeying for position going on besides that of Prigozhin, Kadyrov, and company. Good or bad remains to be seen, at least from our viewpoint.

Please just remember that even if Vladimir were to go away today, most of those likely to replace him are even more hardline than he. Most of those in a position to replace him are both adherents to Russkiy Mir and adamant Slavophiles. None of them are of the Western faction. A change of leadership does not mean any of the short- or long-term problems go away.

Oh, and before I forget, the Brits are increasing their lead in the threats from the Kremlin/Vladimir. Yet more have come out in just the last week, with the Russians blaming the Brits for the pipeline explosions. Worth noting.

As for what will happen and the chances of nuclear war? Your guess may be as good as mine. 60/40, 40/60 the odds don’t seem to have changed a whole lot right now. I still expect that if Vladimir stays alive and in power that he would rather see the Ukraine uninhabitable if he can’t have it. Causing problems at the nuclear power plants is a great way to do this and he can claim it was the Ukrainians doing dirty bomb work. He may be willing to openly target them. Then again, he could also push forward with the throughly discredited dirty bomb hoax though that will not work out for him as he thinks it will. His options are in many respects increasingly limited, and rats trapped in corners, even by their own actions, are potentially at their most dangerous.


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