Today’s Quotation About Putin

The election of Vladimir Putin was a dark day for Russia, and for America too-and not just because he is a thief and an autocrat, but because his hangers-on have made his rise mean more than what it is. By himself, Vladimir Putin is just another petty dictator with a Swiss bank account, an army of drunken cops at his disposal, and a willingness to trample his own mother if she crosses him in public.

Matt Taibbi: “The worst journalist in Moscow” the eXile, 30 March 2000

Today’s Putin Quotation

Only a strong – effective, in case someone does not like the word strong – effective democratic state is able to protect civil, political and economic freedoms and to create the conditions for a good life for the people and the prospering of our native land. (только сильное, эффективное, если кому-то не нравится слово “сильное”, скажем эффективное государство и демократическое государство в состоянии защитить гражданские, политические, экономические свободы, способно создать условия для благополучной жизни людей и для процветания нашей Родины.)

Putin address to Federal Assembly, 8 July 2000

Russia the Eternal Enemy Quotations

I’ve mentioned the flexing of muscles that’s been going on in the periphery of the former Soviet Union. A particular flash point of course and the focus of such activities has been the Caspian Sea and the Caucasus and the Transcaucasus region where we have seen everything from intimidation, assassinations, covertly promoted civil wars and overt military operations. Aimed, I believe, at re-subordinating the near abroad and discouraging independent minded policies on the part of other former Warsaw Pact states.

Frank Gaffney. Transcript of Television Program, “Russia: Friend or Foe?” Dec 1995, “America’s Defense Monitor”, Center for Defense Information


PUTIN’S ANNUAL MARATHON Q&A. (Eng) (Rus) These things function as opinion polls and we heard a lot about bad roads, rising food and medicine prices and – something which should have stopped long ago – salary arrears. After pointing out that officials have claimed the economy was on the way up seven times now, one asked whether Russia was in a “black period or a white period”; “grey” said Putin: current estimates are a slight drop this year and growth next year. A farmer hoped that the food counter-sanctions would continue for the sake of his growing business; Putin expected them to. Very deep in the weeds and not very interesting; Putin said nothing new on external matters.

PUTIN DERANGEMENT SYNDROME. It’s now degenerated to bug-eyed craziness. Just this month we’ve been told that Putin is going out with Murdoch’s ex. The Panama Papers are about Putin; No! they’re by Putin. Dutch voters were thought-controlled by Putin. Putin’s secret army has infiltrated Europe. And the month isn’t even over. I look forward to her take. Squirt lighter fluid into a paper bag, take a deep breath and give us next month’s lunacy!

RUSSIAN “PROVOCATION”. Lots of excitement about Russian aircraft buzzing a US warship “in international waters”. International waters they were, but rather close to Russia. But then, NATO is never provocative: “Asked whether it was provocative to be conducting such exercises so close to Russia, he [UK defence minister] told The Guardian: ‘It is not Nato threatening Russia. This is Russia directly trying to intimidate the eastern and northern members of Nato through these flights, through its submarine activity and talk of renewing its ballistic missiles. Nato is not threatening anyone.’” Russia, on the other hand, is always provocative; illegal too: “Recent Russian military activity in European airspace is illegal, provocative and dangerous.” Probably not just a quiet cruise though – Helmer has his ideas about what was really going on. And there’s the story of the very same ship being shut down by Russian ECM in the Black Sea in 2014. So, there’s more to it than either side is saying.

WMSM. An American survey finds only 6% of the surveyed have a lot of confidence in the media; 85% rate “accuracy” as the most important component of trust. The two findings are obviously connected.

WAR PREPARATION. I believe that Moscow now understands the depth and permanence of the West’s hostility and is preparing for a real war. I have outlined the steps that are being taken in the Armed Forces here and Hahn and the Saker discuss the creation of the National Guard as a means of strengthening Russia against a “colour revolution” or “attack by refugees”. Which is not to say that Moscow wants a war; only that it realises that an attack from the West is a possibility.

CRIMEA. Full electrical power supply from Russia is almost completed.

NATO-RUSSIA COUNCIL. First meeting in a while. “…there can be no return to practical cooperation until Russia returns to the respect of international law.” Or, as they say in Beijing: “Russia is a painful lesson of a major power that tried to follow the West, but only woke up after gaining nothing.”

UKRAINE: MAIDAN MASSACRE. “The analysis shows that armed groups of concealed Maidan shooters first killed and wounded policemen on the Maidan and then protesters. Armed groups of ‘snipers’ and parts of leadership of the far right organizations, such as the Right Sector and Svoboda, and oligarchic parties, such as Fatherland, were involved in various capacities in the massacre.” Definitive, impeccably researched and convincing. If you want to keep your remaining illusions about the “Revolution of Dignity”, don’t read it.

UKRAINE. “Our man” Yats is out, Groysman is in. We’ll see how long that lasts: “the new team should move forward quickly on Ukraine’s reform program… ”. Parubiy replaced him as parliament chair. And here’s who he is, again: more news the WMSM won’t give you.

YUKOS. Just when I had started to assume that law was just a faint memory in the West where Russia is concerned, I am surprised: the ruling that Russia had to pay a gigantic sum to Yukos shareholders has been quashed. Why? “they lacked jurisdiction”. Therefore, it should never have happened in the first place. This seizure is presumably over.

SYRIA. Janes tells us, in some detail, that Washington is pumping weapons into Syria again. Further evidence of two possibilities 1) no one is in charge in Washington 2) Washington simply cannot be trusted. Which, to a foreign capital trying to business with it, is a distinction without a difference.

IRAN. The first S-300s were shown at a parade. Ironic to think that a lasting effect of the neocon domination of Washington will be an Iran stronger than it would have been otherwise, isn’t it?

© Patrick Armstrong Analysis, Canada Russia Observer

Award of Excellence in Russia Reporting

I have several times proposed the creation of the Porcelain Cup for Excellence on Russia Reporting. But people to whom I have mentioned this idea object that Edward Lucas would always be the winner. Here, for example, just to pick the first one Mr Google turns up from 2012:

The Russian regime’s dogged defence of the blood-drenched Syrian dictatorship, and its persecution of the Pussy Riot musicians for their stunt in Moscow’s main cathedral, display its nastiest hallmark: support for repression at home and abroad.

Why that sentence could have been written at any time with an appropriate change of “blood-drenched dictatorship” (Chechnya, Iran, Venezuela) and persecution of the victim du jour (Khodorkovskiy, Navalniy, Joan of Arc). There are indeed a few giants whose record of Excellence is spread over so long a time and over so wide an area that they are an unbridgeable distance ahead of their fellows. There are sources, like The Economist, that have built up such a lead in Excellence – here from 1993 “By sending in the tanks, Mr Yeltsin has placed the generals in the realm of politics” – that nothing can now touch them. My suggestion would be to create a rule that a winner cannot be nominated again for a certain period. After all, other proponents of Excellence have to have their opportunity too.

And, there is so much Excellence to choose from. Who can forget Miriam Elder turning the loss of her dry cleaning ticket into an exposure of Putinism? Or Masha Gessen on Putin the “street thug” – could she have been the first to apply that useful word? Remember the NYT in May 2014: Monday’s front page “Photos Link Masked Men in East Ukraine to Russia”; Wednesday a bit of doubt; entire story trashed Thursday “Aftermath of Ukraine Photo Story Shows Need for More Caution”. Sometimes the Excellence is found in omission; like the two reporters who actually said they saw Russian forces invading Ukraine but alas! had forgotten their smart phones so that there were no photos, movies or GPS coordinates and we just had to take their word for it. And Sochi! What a high tide of Excellence! The toilets! The piles of dead dogs! The brown water! The doorknobs! Excellence was everywhere. (On toilets by the way. Let’s pretend you’re a plumber and I’m the guy that puts up the partitions around the toilets. And we have a lot of toilets to install. What do you think the best way to do it would be? Stalls first and then the toilets? Both at once? Of course not. You spend a day putting the toilets in and I put the partitions up around yesterday’s toilets. Along comes a reporter and photographs your day’s work and we have a great story. Question Dear Readers: are the reporters too stupid to figure that out, or are they just propagandists? This particular doorknob was propaganda, although he had the grace to admit it.) And here are a few more I noticed all in the same week in November 2014. The work of the judges will not be easy.

But occasionally a new talent appears who rapidly establishes a position of outstanding Excellence. Such a one is Natalie Nougayrède. I first noticed her with this one: “Europe is in crisis. Once more, America will have to step in to save us” in January. Starting by comparing Joe Biden with George Marshall (!) it just gets better. Read it and then read the comments: more than 2300 pouring scorn on her. March brought us “Putin’s long game has been revealed, and the omens are bad for Europe” in which we learn that Putin “weaponised” the refugee crisis, made it worse or something. 2000 scornful comments this time.

But what really puts her in front for the Porcelain Cup Award is this paragraph from “Kill it, spin it – Putin will do anything to stifle the Panama Papers story.”

The fact that Putin’s name does not appear in the Panama Papers will not calm the paranoia and conspiracy theories that his regime thrives upon. Indeed, these revelations will be seen in Moscow’s ruling circles as part of a CIA-led operation involving the manipulation of the ‘Anglo-Saxon’ media.

I probably lack the subtlety to get her point but I don’t get her point. 1) Her newspaper and many others headlined Putin in the Panama Papers 2) the word “Putin” does not appear anywhere in the 11 million documents. And yet she thinks it would be very wrong for the Russians to assume that there was any “conspiracy” to smear Putin. So what was it then? A mistake? A slip? Some very junior flunky, who has been severely punished, did it? They read that so-and-so had put in umpteen billion dollars and that’s close enough to Putin? A computer glitch? No one in the Guardian reads the paper? But it’s good to know that Natalie Nougayrède thinks Russians would be quite wrong to be suspicious.

I’m sorry that the editors have not allowed comments this time; I was hoping to learn some new contemptuous epithets.

Well, if that paragraph isn’t an outstanding example of Excellence in Russia Reporting, I don’t know what is. And so, Ladies and Gentlemen, it is without any hesitation, that I nominate Natalie Nougayrède of the Guardian for the Porcelain Cup for Excellence in Russia Reporting.


Today’s Putin Quotation

There would not have been a second campaign, if we had not been forced to undertake it. This is apparent. Independence was the point at issue during the first so-called Chechen campaign and eventually Russia accepted this formulation. I would even dare say now that the price was Russia’s national shame, yet we accepted it.

And what did we get? We got not an independent Chechen Republic, but a territory occupied by bandit groups and religious extremists, a territory that was used as the bridgehead for attacks on our country and for rocking it from the inside.

Putin interview with journalists from Nezavisimaya Gazeta, ORT and RTR. Interview 24 Dec 2000. Text published Nezavisimaya Gazeta 26 Dec 2000. Reprinted here.

Worthless Values

Fifteen or so years ago, when I was still working, I gave a presentation at a conference on my usual subject which was that it was not actually a very good idea to turn Russia into an enemy. In the discussion, one of the audience – who I later found out was the retired head of a very important pillar of the NATO intelligence apparat – objected, saying that the Russians didn’t share our values.

“Our values” – usually called “European values” – were a staple of discussions in the 1990s. NATO, in those days, was proudly said to be an alliance of common values, “European values” to be specific. (Still does today, not quite as loudly perhaps.) I remember a Spanish Eurocrat lecturing me about those values. (Think about it: a Spaniard who had grown up in the Franco days thinking he could tell a Canadian about democracy and freedom. But such were the conceits of the time).

I found this very tiresome indeed. For one thing, Franco, Hitler, Marx, Engels, Mussolini, Robespierre, Napoleon, Quisling and so on and on were all Europeans. Every single one of them based his ideas and political views on sources deeply rooted in European thought and experience. And, for damned sure, had it not been for the Soviets and the Anglosphere, the “European values” Eurocrats and their flunkeys would have been boasting about in 1995 would have involved a lot more leather, jackboots and stiff-armed salutes: the French, Spanish, Belgians, Danes, Dutch and Italians didn’t liberate Europe from the Nazis, did they? Added to which NATO was a military alliance; it had happily cruised through Salazar in Portugal, the colonels in Greece and various military coups in Turkey. It did hesitate to swallow Franco, but the US had so many arrangements with Spain that formal NATO membership was irrelevant. In those days, when NATO was a defensive alliance, real estate and a common enemy trumped “values”. Nonetheless, t’was all the fad in the 1990s to gas on about “common European values”.

Now I will admit this was not entirely meaningless. I disliked the sanctimonious word “values” but I did think that the fall of the USSR had demonstrated something rather important. Contrary to the fears of some people in the 1970s and 1980s that the apparently unbending Soviet system would triumph over our slipshod stumbling, it was the Soviet system that fell apart. The lesson to me was not “values”, it was that the West had made a discovery and that discovery was pluralism. Simply put, since the future is unknown, the system which preserves many possible solutions will endure, because today’s answer will not be tomorrow’s. We see this in nature – there isn’t only one kind of tree, there are many; and so, there will always be trees. Democracy is political pluralism, freedom of speech is mental pluralism and free markets are economic pluralism. The Soviet system, and the Nazi system, had One Big Answer for all questions; it worked until a problem came up that its Big Answer had no answer for. I believe that Putin understands this, by the way, even if few in the West still do, and we see him saying it here:

History proves all dictatorships, all authoritarian forms of government are transient. Only democratic systems are intransient. (История убедительно свидетельствует, что все диктатуры, авторитарные системы правления преходящи. Непреходящей оказываются только демократические системы.)

So, it seemed to me that there were conclusions that could be drawn and lessons that could be learned. But they weren’t. Instead we got the pharisaical and complacent glorification of “European values” that had, apparently, descended from Heaven on our heads. But not, apparently, on their heads: we had ’em; they didn’t. And that was that: they either learned from us (if, indeed, that was even possible), or they went down.

So where are we today two decades later? Not looking so good it seems. Political parties that stray from the prescribed view are swiftly demonised: read this, all it tells you is that the Front National is “far right” and it tells you that seven (seven!) times. So you know it’s bad without having to learn anything about it. A volley of adjectives kept in the ready round box are immediately fired at any party or individual who threatens the established order: Donald Trump is “racist“, “fascist“, “stupid“, “homophobe” and “anti-women“. Freedom of speech is greatly constrained by speech codes, hate speech laws and political correctness. Government eavesdroppers are everywhere. Death by drone is routine. As to market freedom, the world now seems to run by and for financial prestidigitators. Pluralism is decreasing and the fabled “European values” look rather tattered today.

Listen to some ancient Europeans on where this leads: “Divine Justice will extinguish mighty Greed the son of Insolence, lusting terribly, thinking to devour all.” Our triumphant “values” have morphed into hybris, the genitor of koros and today ate rules us.

Then comes nemesis to execute vengeance and restore balance.

Russia Prepares for a Big War: The Significance of a Tank Army

Picked up by

People who already understand how armies are put together should skip Part 1.

Part 1. How armies are put together

One of the things that I find irritating about battles in movie is that the director seems to think that battles are about getting an inchoate mass of soldiers together, giving a rousing speech and yelling “Charge!” That is absolutely not how it works nor ever has worked. Real armies are assembled out of groupings made from smaller groupings, themselves made from still-smaller groupings and so on down to the smallest group.

The smallest group is about ten soldiers. This is the fundamental bonding size – these are your buddies, the people you will really remember, the ones you depend on and who depend on you and for whom you will fight and sacrifice. Yes, you’re fighting for Freedom or some other Large Cause, but it’s really your buddy you’re doing it for. So we start with about ten soldiers.

In the Roman Army this was the contubernium – a corporal, seven legionaries plus two servants who shared a tent and ate together. The fundamental tiny piece out of which everything else was constructed.

The next thing to know is the span of command or control. The commander of each level, is trying, in very difficult circumstances, to get his subordinates to do something they would never do in their right minds. They know perfectly well that the first guy in the house, the lead guy attacking the machinegun post, the first guy out of the trench, the first guy out of the landing craft is almost certain to be killed or injured. It is very difficult to get people to do this and long experience shows that a commander can only control three to five elements.

The next principle to remember is square or triangular. Armies are usually constructed by making the next level of organisation out of three or four of the lower level. Why? With three, you can have two engaged and one in reserve. (A great deal of the problem of a commander, once battle is joined, is knowing where and when to commit his reserves). The “square” structure allows two in contact, one in reserve and one resting, or two up, one in reserve and one manoeuvring. Five or six are too many but two are too few. This introduces the fundamental principles of “fire” (applying the destruction to the enemy) and “movement” (moving so as to apply that destruction most efficaciously). (Movie battles have lots of the first, but little of the last.)

Finally, we have the combat arms – infantry, armour (cavalry in its time) and artillery – and supporting arms. “Combat arms” because they directly apply the violence. Other specialities assist them: engineers help them move, transport moves them, medical patches them up, signals communicate, logistics supplies them and so on. No army can function without them.

In what follows I will discuss infantry organisations because they are the purest soldier – the other two combat arms are machines, whether tanks or guns, and the support arms are functions. But, the principles of infantry organisations are followed in the other components. It should be noted that different military traditions have different names for some of these things but it’s all the same principle.

Three or four “tents” (sections) make a platoon; three or four platoons a company; three or four companies a battalion. At battalion level some specialisation will appear: it may have a mortar platoon, or a machinegun platoon, there will be a simple first aid element, some light engineers, communicators, headquarters and so on. But they are all capable of being ordinary riflemen if needed. The battalion is the first construction that is capable of some sort of independent action – it has enough companies to provide fire and manoeuvre and reserves, its machinegun or mortar elements give it some support. But it is still infantry and still pretty “light”.

The next level is a brigade of three or four battalions. But there is a decision point here: do you envisage this brigade being an “independent brigade” or a sub-division of a larger formation? If the former we introduce the other arms, if the latter it remains all infantry.

An independent brigade, or brigade group, will have, in proportions depending on what you want to do, infantry, tank and artillery battalions from the “combat arms” as well as “support” elements: like combat engineers, medical and dental, post offices, laundry facilities, possibly a helicopter battalion and on and on. It is an independent military town of 4000 to 6000 people which needs almost everything a civilian town needs while also being capable of moving anywhere at a moment’s notice. This formation is intended to carry out military tasks by itself with help from the air forces.

The brigade that is intended to be a piece in the next largest structure would have three or four infantry battalions and would still be mainly riflemen with very little added from the other arms. Next level is the division made of infantry, tank and artillery brigades in the proportion thought useful. In the Second World War divisions were usually the smallest thing one would see on the battlefield that could be given an independent task.

A tank division would be constructed the same way except that the basic “tent” is tank itself, three or four make a platoon, and then companies, battalions and brigades. Artillery would only rarely be organised into independent structures because while it has fire, it does not have much movement. The supporting arms – engineers, signals, logistics, medical and so on, because they exist for support, rarely appear as independent structures. In short “divisions” are infantry-heavy or tank-heavy (bitter experience has taught and re-taught that none of the combat arms can function alone).

Moving up, three or four divisions make a corps; two to four corps an army and a couple of armies make an army group.

So, a whole gigantic army group is assembled, step by step, out of our little “tents”.

Part 2. What’s All This Mean?

How big a war do you anticipate? A smallish one, a bigger one or a really big one? Your answer will determine the formations that you construct.

An important decision point, which reveals your answer, is whether you add in the other combat arms and specialised support elements at brigade (ie 5000 or so troops) or at division (10,000 or so)? If at brigade, you have made a decision that you expect your future wars to be rather small and that all-arms formations of 5000-or-so soldiers is as big as you need. If on the other hand, you decide to create divisions – formations about three times as large – you are showing that you are expecting a larger war. If you then start combining these divisions into corps, armies or even army groups, you are expecting a really big, all-out war against a first-class enemy. Something the size of World War II in fact. In 1945, for example, the Western Allies entered Germany with three army groups, totalling eight armies, totalling 91 divisions: about four and a half million soldiers.

It is possible to have a bit of both, but it’s only a bit. You may decide on independent brigades but also have a divisional headquarters. But, unless the brigades routinely exercise under the command of a standing divisional headquarters, and that headquarters controls assets, only the idea of divisional operations is kept alive.

In short, if you stop at independent brigades, you are telling the world that you expect, and are planning for, relatively small wars. If you go to divisions you are expecting something larger and if you construct a corps (or army in Russian terminology) you are telling the world that you are preparing for a big war.

And so, an observer who knows how armies are put together, can tell a lot about what kind of war a country expects by understanding how it has put its “tent groups” together.

Part 3. The Russian Army

The Soviet Army was organised for a huge war: it had divisions, organised into armies (corps in Western terminology) which were organised into fronts (armies in Western terminology) and further grouped into TVDs or Theatres of Military Activity (army groups in Western terminology) all backed up by a conscription and reserve system, immense stocks of weapons and gigantic pre-positioned ammunition dumps. This time, the Soviets did not intend to fight the decisive battle an hour’s drive from Moscow. When the USSR collapsed, so did that structure. The most ready elements were based in the Warsaw Treaty countries; Russia took responsibility for them and they were hurriedly moved back, shedding conscripts as they went. The formations which would have been filled up and then supported the ready elements were in Ukraine and Belarus and lost to Russia.

For some years the management of the Russian army did not appear to have understood that everything had changed – that the huge Soviet forces were gone and would not magically fill up with hundreds of thousands of conscripts to fill up the “empty formations”. But, they didn’t know how to make them smaller either: we were always told in talks with the Russian General Staff that the state could not afford to pay the officers the pensions and housing allowances they were entitled to. And so this once mighty army decayed.

Perhaps it was failure in the First Chechen War that finally convinced headquarters that the Russian army was not a temporarily shrunken big war army. We started being told that they were re-designing their army around independent brigades. It was clear from reading the periodic military and strategic doctrine documents that the wars that Moscow foresaw were smaller wars, on the scale of border infractions or a Chechen-sized war in which the enemy would be small agile lightly-armed groups. For such conflicts, anything larger than independent all-arms brigade-sized formations would be too large and complicated.

And, gradually, between the two Chechen wars, “divisions” (which our inspections had shown to be empty of soldiers but full of poorly-maintained equipment and under-paid dispirited officers) disappeared and were replaced by “storage bases”. We assumed these to be a way of avoiding the huge retirement bill while giving officers something useful to do. At the same time independent brigade groups began to appear, with the first ones in the south where trouble was expected. This is one of the reasons why the second Chechen war was a victory for Moscow.

At this stage, (I’m looking at the 2002 CFE data now) there were entities called “divisions” and “armies” (corps) but they were very understrength – apart from the North Caucasus, there were perhaps two divisions in the western area worthy of the name; neither of them deployed to the west. The real force was in the North Caucasus: three divisions, fully staffed and an army (corps) headquarters. But the future was there too with the first two independent brigade groups setting the pattern for the rest.

In short, by the turn of the century, in their published doctrine, in everything they told us in meetings, in deployments and in their formation structures the Russians were showing us they had no offensive designs against NATO and they expected no attacks from NATO. The south was where they saw danger.

The CFE Treaty showed us all this: the Russians were obliged to give us a list of elements showing their precise location and relationship to other structures with the number of soldiers and major weapons; we could go there and check this out at any moment. Thanks to the Treaty we always knew what they had, where they had it and how it was organised. Our inspectors found no discrepancies. But the NATO member countries never ratified the Treaty, continually adding conditions to it and, after years, Russia, which had ratified it, gave up and denounced it. And so we all lost (because it was reciprocal) a transparent confidence building mechanism based on full disclosure with the right to verify.

All this time the Russians told us that that NATO’s relentless expansion, ever closer, was a danger (опасность) although they stopped short of calling it, as they did terrorism, a threat (угроза); “dangers” you watch; “threats” you must respond to. NATO of course didn’t listen, arrogantly assuming NATO expansion was doing Russia a favour and was an entitlement of the “exceptional nation” and its allies.

It is important to keep in mind with the everlasting charges that Russia is “weaponising” this and that, threatening everyone and everything, behaving in an “19th century fashion“, invading, brutalising, and on and on, that its army structure and deployments do not support the accusations. A few independent brigades, mostly in the south, are not the way to threaten neighbours in the west. Where are the rings of bases, the foreign fleet deployments, the exercises at the borders? And, especially, where are the strike forces? Since the end of the USSR they have not existed: as they have told us, so have they acted.

They planned for small wars, but NATO kept expanding; they argued, but NATO kept expanding; they protested, but NATO kept expanding. They took no action for years.

Well, they have now: the 1st Guards Tank Army is being re-created.

This army, or corps in Western terminology, will likely have two or three tank divisions, plus a motorised rifle division or two, plus enormous artillery and engineering support, plus helicopters and all else.

The 1st Guards Tank Army will be stationed in the Western Military District to defend Russia against NATO. It is very likely that it will be the first to receive the new Armata family of AFVs and be staffed with professional soldiers and all the very latest and best of Russia’s formidable defence industry. It will not be a paper headquarters; it will be the real thing: commanded, manned, staffed, integrated, exercised and ready to go.

It should be remembered that the Soviet Armed Forces conducted what are probably the largest operations in the history of warfare. Take, for example, Operation Bagration which started shortly after the D Day invasion. Using Western terms, it involved eleven armies, in support or attacking; recall that the Western allies entered Germany with eight armies – five American, one each British, Canadian and French. Tank corps (armies in Soviet/Russian) are the hammers – either they deliver the decisive counter-attack after the defence has absorbed the attack (Stalingrad or Kursk) or they deliver the offensive strike. The decision to create a tank army (armoured corps in Western terminology) is an indication that Russia really does fear attack from the west and is preparing to defend itself against it.

In short, Russia has finally come to the conclusion that

NATO’s aggression means it has to prepare for a big war.

As a historical note, Dominic Lieven’s book shows the preparations Emperor Alexander made when he realised that, sooner or later, Napoleon was going to come for Russia. And everyone knows how that ended. As Field Marshal Montgomery, who had more experience of big war than anyone in the Pentagon or White House today, said: “Rule 1, on page 1 of the book of war, is: ‘Do not march on Moscow’.”

This is what the light-hearted decision to expand NATO, “colour revolutions”, regime changes, cookies on the Maidan and incessant anti-Russian propaganda has brought us to.

And it won’t be a war that NATO will win.


Russia the Eternal Enemy Quotations

The appointment of Yevgeniy Primakov as Russia’s Foreign Minister yesterday marks perhaps the most ominous transfer of power in Moscow since Yuri Andropov became General Secretary of the Soviet Communist Party in 1982. This is not only because, like Andropov, Primakov has had powerful links to the KGB throughout his career. It is also due to the fact that the new Foreign Minister may be as cunning, ruthless and unwavering as the former General Secretary in his service to totalitarian imperialism. And, possibly most alarming of all, there is a strong possibility that Western governments will once again try to construe the new power in the Kremlin as a ‘man with whom we can do business’….The truth is, of course, that Yevgeny Primakov is a shrewd, archetypal Soviet thug and one of the most insidiously dangerous men on earth.

Restoration Watch #7: Primakov’s promotion marks major step on the road `back to the USSR’, the Center for Security Policy 10 Jan 96 (