RUSSIAN FEDERATION SITREP 25 NOVEMBER 2021

UKRAINE. Lots of bogus hysteria about how Russia is about to invade Ukraine – for example. Here’s my view – Russia Inc has no desire to pay for “Country 404” – the US/EU/NATO broke it, they own it. But, eventually, the provocations will get to be too much – it’s a cost-benefit analysis and I’m not privy to the data – then Russia will liberate those parts of Ukraine where Russians will be welcomed as liberators and leave the rest to its fate. When/if it happens, it will be fast, decisive and surprise everybody (like every Russian military operation since 2000). There is nothing the West can do (sanctions escalation – that’s a spavined horse) unless it wants to go nuclear in which case the USA will certainly be obliterated. Orlov and Saker. From the West, nonsense and more nonsense (complete with The Misquotation). How about this from the country with one fully-staffed infantry battalion? The safety of the world hangs on the patience of Putin and Xi and the hope that not all Western generals are future VP Sales of MIC rackets.

RUSSIA/CHINA. The two Defence Ministers have agreed to still closer ties. This relationship is much broader and deeper than a mere “alliance”: it’s Mackinder’s Heartland plus population plus production plus sea power. The end of the “Columbian Age”. Moscow and Beijing, learning from the failures of the USSR and the Imperium Americanum, won’t try and run the world: they know it can’t be done.

OPINION WORTH LISTENING TO. This guy is connected: NATO’s mistake is that it still thinks it’s dealing with the weakened Russia of the 1990s. Another mistake, I would add, is that NATO thinks it’s the (imagined) NATO of the 1990s; it isn’t: only a paper tiger then, it’s become a paper pussycat.

RIGHTS AND FREEDOMS. Levada poll (Googlish) shows Russians highly value social rights. Situation seems OK but read Levinson’s notes: he detects differences in the young. But another poll suggests that the young aren’t all that much different (despite, IMO, a heavy effort by the interviewers to elicit opposition sympathies).

KURSK. The former Northern Fleet commander says the Kursk was sunk after a collision with a NATO submarine. “No comment” says Peskov.

PLEISTOCENE PARK. “This complex will be a basis to implement one of the super tasks the World Mammoth Center is facing – the ambitious idea to revive mammoths by using biotechnologies“.

GAS TRANSIT. Spreading invasion rumours, Kiev wants another gas transit agreement with Russia.

NORD STREAM 2. More US sanctions and delays by Germany. OK, Russia loses some money but Europe will lose more (even the Greens have figured that out). “This is a game where Germany does not hold a winning hand“. As to money, Russia’s FOREX kitty is now USD620 billion and growing and China will buy anything Russia has.

THOSE PESKY RUSSIANS. They want to spread chaos in the USA and there’s a diesel shortage exacerbating the supply chain problem. So naturally Moscow would like to make this worse – or so we’ve been told over and over. So why is it selling the USA two million barrels of diesel? Another question your MSM outlets will neither ask nor answer.

WESTERN VALUES™. Natylie Baldwin explains why Russians are no longer interested in the West’s “values”. I wrote something similar. Apart from other reasons, they’re not impressed by the gap between promise and performance. Another possibility destroyed by arrogance and ignorance. See below.

WE MAKE THE RULES. “NATO reiterate that they have no intention, no plan and no reason to deploy nuclear weapons on the territory of new members“. Yeah but the famous Rules-Based International Order doesn’t mean we have to stick to the rules.

REFUGEE WARS. Lukashenka spoke to Merkel (I guess there’s no more pretending that she’s in charge). Coincidentally, as it were, Belavia cancelled migrant flights from UAE. The one time I was in the same room as Lukashenka, I didn’t think he was very smart. I was wrong: watch this interview with a “journalist” who thinks he’s a barrister. PS I think Lukashenka has had enough of smug Westerners.

AMERICA-HYSTERICA. Five corrections we won’t see from the MSM, instead Applebaum hits it out of the park – even when it’s false, it’s true.

MY WEIRDOMETER IS BROKEN. Not even in the USSR was there Ilyich and Koba; Boy Detectives.

ARMENIA-AZERBAIJAN. More fighting. It’s reported that Putin will meet the two presidents on Friday. Russia has a mutual defence treaty with Armenia (which does not cover Karabakh).

GUNS. A US general says American hypersonic capabilities are “not as advanced” as China’s or Russia’s.

© Patrick Armstrong Analysis, Canada Russia Observer

COMMENTS FROM THE LOCKED WARD

(Miscellaneous comments from pieces dealing with Russia I’ve collected. Most of them anonymous or with pseudonyms. They are chosen to illustrate either rabid hostility to everything Russian or stone-dead ignorance of present reality. I post from time to time when I have enough, spelling mistakes and all.)

Even if every single word in the Steele dossier was wrong, that would not change the fact that the Russians sought to manipulate the US election using hacked material and a disinformation campaign. Nor would it change the fact that the Trump family welcomed this intervention.

– Anne Applebaum, 17 November 2021

WHO’S ON FIRST?

Answer to question from Sputnik on significance of Sullivan-Patrushev phonecall

None of these questions can be answered until we have an idea who’s in charge in Washington. For example: are Russian troops massing at the Ukraine border — the State Dept says they are, the Pentagon says they aren’t. Is Taiwan part of China or isn’t it? Are they trying to have predictable and stable relations with Russia or are they provoking Russia by arming Ukraine and sending ships and aircraft near Russia? Are they trying to return to the JCPOA, or destroy it for all time? 

Meetings with Russia, China and Iran consist of the usual demands and accusations combined with more-or-less pathetic requests to release oil supplies or do something on global warming (immediately spoiled by boasting that we showed up and they didn’t.) 

What we see, to quote Churchill, are bulldogs fighting under a rug as the USA declines further into stasis.  

As to Sullivan himself, he’s too deeply involved in the Russiagate nonsense to be credible.

THE RUSSIAN WAY IN WARFARE – THE BRUSILOV OFFENSIVE

First published Strategic Culture Foundation

An occasional series in which I attempt to illustrate, with historical examples, a “Russian style in warfare”. I have written about the “American style” here and here. In general, I believe that the Russian style is very effective while the US style is not.

The “Brusilov Offensive” is the name given to a series of attacks by the Russian forces between June and September 1916 against Austro-Hungarian forces in the territory of today’s Ukraine commanded and planned by Aleksey Brusilov. Very successful initially, the attacks faded out over time. The numbers of soldiers, powers of the defence, difficulty of movement and enormous stockpiles of munitions meant that offensives, on any front, petered out because of physical exhaustion, heavy casualties and outrun supply lines. In essence, the war went on until one side simply couldn’t take any more. That point was reached by Russia in 1917 and Germany at the end of 1918. The last hammer-blow broke them, not the second-last.

But Brusilov’s offensive offers some insights into the Russian way of warfare and, in particular, stands in great contrast to the British offensive on the Somme at the same time. Brusilov used tactics which weren’t used on the Western front until the Germans in the March 1918 offensive and the Canadian Corps in “Canada’s Hundred Days.” I will start with the British Somme offensive in order to show how advanced Brusilov’s tactics were.

Like many wars, August 1914 saw confidence that victory would be achieved by Christmas. But, when Christmas came, tens of thousands had been killed and wounded and the fronts were stalemated. The Schlieffen Plan had failed, Plan XVII had failed, the “Russian steamroller” had failed: it was clear that it would be a long war; a war that would need millions of soldiers, tens of thousands of weapons, millions of tons of ammunition. No one had anticipated the casualties and the ammunition expenditure. Barbed wire, trenches, magazine rifles and – above all – machine guns, had given the defence tremendous power and for the Allies, the problem was how to overcome the defence and regain the territory that the Central Powers had secured at the beginning stages of the fighting.

The British Army undertook an enormous recruiting effort which brought in about one million men by early 1915. And that was still not enough – conscription was begun a year later. Conscription raised about two and a half million men: altogether nearly 5 million British men wore uniforms: an unimaginable number in 1914. All these had to be trained and equipped. The new armies needed stunning quantities of weapons and ammunition and factories were built and hundreds of thousands moved into them to make war materiel: a gigantic war industry was erected on the very small base of 1914. This took a great deal of time and it was only by the summer of 1916 that the commanders believed that the British Army war ready for a big offensive.

On the Western Front, the retreat from the Marne had left the Germans holding ground better suited for defence than the Allies and months of preparation and experience of failed attacks in 1915 had made their positions even stronger. The British solution to the problem was artillery – the attack would be preceded by the most powerful artillery bombardment ever carried out. One million, seven hundred thousand rounds were fired on the German positions over eight days: 150 per minute. It was expected – tests had been done – that this thunderstorm of high explosives would cut the barbed wire, collapse the trenches and annihilate the defenders. The first wave of infantry would have little to do but occupy the smashed enemy trenches and were, accordingly, heavily laden with weapons, equipment and rations. But, up to a quarter of the rounds were duds (it’s difficult to make fuses when you’re just starting), the wire wasn’t sufficiently cut, there were enough defenders to man the machine guns when the cessation of the bombardment gave them the cue to move; the British Army suffered 60,000 casualties on the first day. The battle dragged on until November with minor territorial gains and over 400,000 British casualties. The characteristics of the British attack in July 1916 were a week-long artillery bombardment and massed infantry moving forward from the existing trench line. The catastrophe resulted from the failure of the bombardment to do what it was supposed to do.

On the Eastern Front there was a similar deadlock. The Russian offensive in 1914 had failed and, as in the west, although not as densely manned, there was a long line of dug-in soldiers facing each other. The Allies had agreed that simultaneous offensives would be carried out against the Central Powers in 1916 and the Russians were the first to go. Operationally the object was to attack Austria-Hungary, correctly seen as the weaker, knock it out of the war and bring Romania into the war on the Allied side. Secondarily it was to relieve pressure on Italy and France.

The attack began a month before the Somme attack and ended a month earlier. Russian casualties were similar to the British but Austro-Hungarian losses were at least twice German losses. Territorial gains were much greater – while the Somme battle moved the front line a tiny distance, Brusilov gained much more ground. But, in the end, it was “a piece of tactical genius that had limited strategic results“. It was another second-last hammer-blow. Ironically, Romania did enter the war on the Allied side, but performed so poorly that it took Russian resources away from the main effort. The offensive’s comparative failure after the initial spectacular success probably contributed to Russia’s dropping out of the war the next year rather as a similar disappointment did for Germany in 1918.

But, operationally and tactically it was a stunning success. There are several points of difference between this attack and the British one which deserve notice and give us a perception of “a Russian way in warfare”. The use of deception to create surprise; maximising the effect of artillery fire; the use of forward saps to reduce infantry exposure to fire; the use of specialised advance troops for reconnaissance and fire correction.

(The following quotations come from Dowling’s The Brusilov Offensive.) We will begin, because it sums it up well, this account by an Austrian soldier on the receiving end.

In the dugouts of the first trench of the 82nd [Austrian] I[nfantry] R[egiment], because one still had the echo of the drumming fire in his ear, it was already five seconds after the artillery was no longer directed at the first trench. In the sixth second perhaps a spirited defender cried: to the trenches! In the seventh second he ran into someone in the stairwell, and under a low-hanging balcony that was splintered and torn to pieces a hand grenade skidded after him. And in the eighth second a voice from above called down to the men in the cellar that they should give themselves up.

Quite different from the experience of a German soldier on the Somme who, if he had not been buried or driven mad by the week of shelling, had enough time to get up to the fire step and aim his machine-gun at the heavily-laden infantry struggling through the wire towards him.

While the British had fired a continuous bombardment, Brusilov had a series of short but intense bombardments:

The Russian guns opened up at 4:00 AM along the entire front as ordered, but the display was far from impressive. After three hours of steady, concentrated, but not overwhelming shelling, the Russian guns fell quiet again. The Habsburg forces rushed to man their forward lines, anticipating the attacks their intelligence had been predicting. The Russians, however, remained in their trenches while observers checked the damage done to the Austro-Hungarian positions. Only a few weak reconnaissance patrols emerged to challenge the Habsburg forces; after an hour or so, the shelling resumed-slow, steady, and deadly accurate.

Consequently, the Austrians never knew when the bombardment had really stopped and the infantry assault would begin. On the Somme the Germans correctly assumed that the end of the shelling meant the beginning of the attack but, as our soldier relates, the Austrians only knew it when the Russians were already in their trenches: “Confused by the pauses between barrages, the troops were increasingly hesitant to man the front lines”. Second, Brusilov had his soldiers dig trenches – saps – forward so that they would only have 50 to 100 metres to run: “Brusilov wanted the point of departure for the Russian infantry assaults to be no greater than 100 meters, and he preferred that the distance be 60 meters or less”; the British had the whole distance to cover. Third, light reconnaissance teams went into no man’s land to check the accuracy of each phase of the bombardment and direct the next.

Artillery is most effective in the first few seconds – merely lying down significantly increases the probability of survival. Brusilov also understood that the cessation of fire will be taken by the enemy as a signal that the attack is about to begin. This will be seen again in Soviet artillery use in the Second World War and is the reason for the Soviet/Russian development of MLRS which produce tremendous explosive fire in very quick times (the BM-21 Grad can fire 40 rockets in 20 seconds. To say nothing of this.)

And, fourth, Brusilov used every means of deception available to him to make the enemy think the attacks were coming somewhere else:

overwhelming the Austro-Hungarian forces with information and options… Brusilov mounted a counterintelligence campaign, sending false instructions over the radio and by messenger while specific instructions concerning the offensive were relayed verbally… false artillery batteries…

There does not seem to have been any deception attempts used on the Somme – and, indeed, the enormous piles of artillery shells were in the open for all to see.

In conclusion, the Brusilov Offensive shows

  • deception creating operational and tactical surprise;
  • maximising artillery effects;
  • reducing troop exposure;
  • specialised reconnaissance troops.

Further essays will examine these and other factors in Russian war-fighting.

RUSSIAN FEDERATION SITREP 11 NOVEMBER 2021

REMEMBRANCE DAY. I remind Russians that, while D-Day was not the decisive battle of the war, it was not hastily thrown together when it was clear that Germany was defeated either.

STEELE DOSSIER. It’s good to be able to tell your MSM-duped neighbours that you were right and their “trusted sources” were lying but so what? Five years too late and still more to go before the principals are on the dock. So what difference does revealing it now make? The coup succeeded: whatever Trump might have done was stymied and Putin was established as The Enemy.

NO KIDDING. “The allegations cast new uncertainty on some past reporting on the dossier by news organizations, including The Washington Post;” Meanwhile they pump out new lies, eliding their responsibility for the last ones: “uncertainties”, “some past reporting”. That’s all we can expect.

QUOTE OF THE YEAR. “The vast majority of disinformation, propaganda and lies that flooded the country over the last 5 years did not come from MAGA boomers on Facebook or 4Chan teenagers but the largest and most influential liberal corporate media outlets.” Reading over what I wrote at the time (for example four years ago), I see that I always underestimated the power that the media/security merger could mobilise to keep the lie going: I kept thinking that some revelation would finally blow it up, but on and on it went. And some are so deep in the delusion that they still spin it away.

CORRUPTION. Criminal cases, firings, disciplinary actions on prison torture scandal.

RUSSIA-BELARUS. More agreements worked out in a meeting; the two grow closer. Especially on defence cooperation which Lukashenka made a point of praising. And that is “a response to the policy of pressure from the West“. Joint air patrol today. I continue to expect an end state with Lukashenka retired and the two countries, while formally separate, very closely tied together on security and economies.

REFUGEE WARS. Colour revolution attempt to overthrow Lukashenka fails; fake bomb threat lands plane, activist discovered, arrested, sings. The West accuses Minsk of this and that; sanctions. Lukashenka imports refugees who congregate at EU borders. That’s b’s take and it sounds reasonable to me. Brussels simulates more outrage. But consider the background: Washington’s “war on terror” has displaced 37 million people and Merkel invited them in. Zakharova suggests Poland, given its participation in the Iraq invasion, should take a few “grateful Iraqis” and Lavrov helpfully suggests Brussels bribe Minsk (I note that Russians permit themselves to be snarkier). Oh, BTW, shouldn’t the EU be addressing its demands to Tsikhanouskaya?

UKRAINE. 1 Nov: Russian buildup on Ukraine border shrieks controlled US media. 2 Nov: CIA Director Burns goes to Moscow; said to warn Moscow against military operations. 3 Nov: Dmytro Yarosh appointed adviser to the commander-in-chief of the Ukraine armed forces, Defence Minister resigns. 4 Nov: US official visits Kiev. 7 Nov: Kiev says no indication of Russian buildup on border. What just happened? Moscow got its message across and Washington turned its puppet off? (If so, nobody told Blinken.) Hard to imagine anyone in Kiev thinks “a good little war” would improve the wretched situation. But Yarosh might. This time I think Moscow will use force – if they didn’t get the hint in the spring, there’s no point in more hints: time for facts. (Ossetia 2008; but faster.)

GUNS. Putin met with the military bosses (Day 1) (Day 2) (Day 3) and praised the new high-tech weapons for “ensuring a high level of Russian military security for many years”. The fearsome “terminator” is about to go into service; as is the S-500 and they’re working on an S-550, 2000 RPVs. Meanwhile, the US military’s most powerful and competent component confronts 30 years of faking.

YUKOS. The Netherlands Supreme Court has overruled a lower court’s judgement on Yukos: nice to see there’s at least one court there that doesn’t write its verdict at the beginning of the trial.

STASIS. 71% think the US is on wrong track. 30% think the election was stolen. Few in the world think US democracy a good model. Second-greatest life expectancy drop among “wealthy countries”. Graham Allison says the era of US military primacy is over.

NEW NWO. Milley says there are three great powers. Does this mean anything? Who’s in charge in Washington anyway?

COVID. “With” or “From”? Good question – Italian, Googlish.

WESTERN VALUES™. Putin and Xi are wrong for not bringing their planes and motorcades.

© Patrick Armstrong Analysis, Canada Russia Observer