Analysts write and guess quite a lot about Ukraine's strategy. There will be a little about something else or a little differently :)
IN AUGUST, 24TH. TEST DAY?
On August 24, Russian troops did practically nothing of what many expected of them. They expected it in Ukraine, they expected it in Russia, they expected it in far abroad countries. This, in fact, is not surprising from the word in general, but in more detail later.
Numerous missile strikes were carried out, and very numerous sorties were simulated. But nothing qualitatively new happened. Russia did not escalate (despite the numerous “pops” in the Crimea and its environs, the assassination attempt on Dugin and his daughter attributed to Ukraine, etc.).
Moreover, directly on the Independence Day of Ukraine, Shoigu issued a thoroughly discussed statement that Russia “strictly observes the norms of humanitarian law” , “strikes are carried out with precision weapons on military infrastructure facilities” , “this slows down the pace of the offensive, but we are going to it's conscious . "
Obviously, the moment for the statement was not chosen by chance. And it itself is an element of the strategy of the Russian government for a new stage of the war.
Also, it may be part of some non-public US-Russian agreement to avoid further escalation and undesirability .
We will try to understand why such an agreement can exist and why, almost certainly, there is no “spite” for Ukraine in it. Why can each of the parties interpret it in their favor, and the American side also in favor of Ukraine . Although the “opaque” actions of the Americans for the Ukrainian society may cause irritation or impatience in many. And, of course, questions. Voiced incl. Alexey Arestovich. Like the question of non-delivery of additional 25-30 HIMARS for the sake of the possibility of a full-scale Ukrainian counter-offensive "already now."
The author also asked similar questions, was looking for answers for himself and will try to offer his own hypothesis .
ABOUT SACRED COWS AND THE MOVING REALITY OF AN UNSTABLE WORLD
The huge problem of Ukraine is that in Ukraine they are accustomed to (pseudo) thinking in slogans (for example, if we go to NATO, then we go in any way, if we don’t go, then we don’t go in any way, even though the grass does not grow, etc. ). Even analytics in the country has turned into a huge pasture of "sacred cows". But real politics is much more flexible and it presupposes the ability to understand the alignment and the possibilities dictated by it at any given moment . At the level of a card game or football, the layman understands this, at the strategic level ... Zero understanding.
Even worse, the layman (like most "leaders, for the layman, opinions", alas) does not suspect at all what a game is in an unstable, changing environment .
If not quite on the fingers, but not boring :) In the year of the collapse of the USSR and the emergence of independent Ukraine, the journal Voprosy Philosophii published an article that made a great impression on the author. Let me give you a few quotes from it:
“ In a situation far from equilibrium, differential equations that model one or another natural process become non-linear, and a non-linear equation usually has more than one type of solution. Therefore, at any moment in time, a new type of solution can arise that is not reducible to the previous one, and at points of change in the types of solutions - at bifurcation points - a change in the spatio-temporal organization of the object can occur ”(Ilya Prigogine. Philosophy of Instability).
This, as you might guess, is about the presentation of the views of the classic in the study of non-equilibrium media, Nobel laureate Ilya Prigogine.
So... Real big politics is not about the "sacred cows" and idols of the "slogan-go out" at all. It is about the notorious “ mobilis in mobile” (the motto of the captain of the depths Nemo), about mobility in a mobile environment.
Idols... In general, they never decided :) And therefore we, as a country, are not interested in idols. Not NATO or not NATO (I repeat, just as an example), but sustainable security of the country, and, then, ensuring the comprehensive well-being of Ukrainian citizens . Everything else in big politics is always not an end in itself, but a means. If a strategic goal requires being outside NATO, so be it. And if within NATO, then be it.
But we are not talking about NATO, but about the ongoing war.
To see what is happening on a slightly larger scale and in a mobile environment, the author proposes to consider some of the positions and developments on the eve and during the full-scale Russian-Ukrainian war. To try to discover what and why went where it went.
So, what exactly do Americans understand and what do quite a few people in Ukraine understand ...
RUSSIA AS IS
Let's temporarily put aside the philistine clichés about Russia and the favorite media games of near-Kremlin conspiracy theories - with shuffling names, rearranging 7-9-12 chairs, etc. This is important, but, in general, leads away from understanding the essence. In huge, yet rigid (inflexible) systems, in Empires, the power of the first person rests on the personal (mostly selfish :)) interests of thousands of high- and middle-level personalities . This is the only reason why it can be somehow stable, albeit through a stump-deck, but working. As long as the system remains stable and as long as the Emperor is alive, this layer is fundamentally more important than a handful of top families surrounded by the Emperor. In unstable environments (and hello again, Ilya Prigogine’s assumptions): “In some cases, a small perturbationinstead of being extinguished due to the action of dissipative processes, it grows incredibly, capturing vast areas of space .
Something like the spread of a particularly cunning virus in the process of a well-known pandemic.
For this reason, by the way, the habit in Ukraine of small or large self-interest endlessly and carelessly shakes the legislation; break any rules of the game in any field; with or without reason to drive society into pseudo(!) reforms, i.e. into “changes” that are not dictated by common sense and transparent public interest, but are interesting to someone for PR or other selfish purposes; the pushing into the world of extreme social uncertainty of millions of people is a consequence of infantilism, stupidity and total illiteracy, still prevailing among the ruling class of the “Second Ukrainian Republic” (© Yuriy Romanenko).
Nonsense, because “in one case ... instability to small fluctuations leads to the formation of complex structures, in the other - to their destruction . Moreover , the chaos that is always present at the microlevel acts as the physical support of instability » . The very explosive chaos that we are almost proud of and the destructive nature of which we completely forget. Although in Russia they do not forget what will be discussed below.
Let's go back to Russia :)
In this material, we are interested in some simplified (!), but realistic model , which allows us to understand what Russia does, what it can and cannot do (we are talking about low and high probabilities, not about a 100% "guarantee"). And also what and why our partners are doing and what they are not doing in relation to Russia.
TWO AND TWO QUARTERS
We can talk about at least 4 significant deep forces present in Russian politics . Because any division in reality is conditional, specific personalities, political forces, movements, etc. may be incl. on the border between these blocks. And this, by the way, is a strong position sought by some personalities. What is also below.
1. "Radicals" (and adjoining them for career reasons).
Those who are convinced that Russia should act much tougher - both outside and inside . The rest are inevitable, but for our material, that is, in the context of the impact on the Russian war strategy, the details are not fundamental. Radicals in the current situation, as a rule, are for mobilization, an all-out wall-to-wall war with Ukraine without regard to civilian casualties, attempts to completely internally destabilize Ukraine, nuclear strikes, the most severe repressions within Russia itself, etc. Addressed to them Strelkov-Girkin, “inviolable for the FSB”, lamenting about the alleged extradition of 43 “scoundrel-Jews” through the Emirates to Israel (quote).
It is quite easy to “zero out” the consequences of these IDIOTIC AND DAMAGED actions - “by starting everything from scratch” and declaring the so-called. "Ukraine" war . But while the so-called. "SVO" - all captured mercenaries (no matter what crimes they have committed) can feel relatively safe. “Taira” will not let you lie ,” Strelkov-Girkin exclaims eloquently.
The formulations voiced by Putin often coincide with this part of the spectrum. He himself , from the point of view of the author, is not there. Or not quite there . As, however, the "party of bureaucratic power", and the illiberal "systemic opposition", and the leading Kremlin propagandists are not there yet. All these people, densely fed on bread from the bins of their "immense Motherland", despite their public tantrums, dancing with a tambourine and falling into an ethereal catatomy, only imitate an ultrapatriotic and militaristic "orgasm". But they don't just imitate. They understand well what they are doing.
In a country where even before the war, last summer, 56% agreed that “Stalin was a great leader” (in Ukraine - 16%) where this comes from and where it is directed, of course. Note that in March 2016 there were only 28% of such people, i.e. 2 times (!) less. Moreover, there were almost 4 times (!) less completely consonants . A thoughtful reader, of course, understands the mental drift of what scale and what direction (in just 5 years!) We are talking about . And this is against the backdrop of the long-discussed "transit of power" .
A detail “to think about” for the Ukrainian reader. Because in Ukraine, the potential of Russian radicals is traditionally underestimated, reduced to a handful of people, and in general they are used to treating them as insignificant “outcasts”. Incl. because they do not often “shine” publicly, while having a very strong weight in the non-public, primarily law enforcement, sphere or in certain regions.
Radicals are homogeneous in their radicalism. Otherwise, they fight for their souls and bodies in different ways. For example, we understand that such polls as the one above are a balm for the soul of Ramzan Kadyrov, on whom, incl. well-being of Putin. In the traditional discourse of the nationalist part of the radicals, Kadyrov is a "foreigner." But Stalin is also a "foreigner", even from the Caucasus. And for the "pro-Soviet" oriented part of the radicals, the ruler of a non-indigenous nationality is mentally quite acceptable. It is no coincidence that Kadyrov has leaned so heavily into "Soviet" rhetoric. Only in this way can he be perceived by society not as a stranger.
At the same time, against the backdrop of the "Stalinist drift", in those same years, 3/4 of Russians remained consistently convinced that society needed a "strong hand" .
Radicals rely on the resource potential of Russia. In economics, this force turns mainly to autarky - a closed or semi-closed system. Given that the world is deglobalizing, and Soviet Russia and the USSR for many years successfully developed almost in isolation from the West on almost the same resources that modern Russia has at its disposal, they have arguments perceived by Russians. “Wrappers” (“argument” of the liberals) are, as it were, just candy wrappers, you won’t be fed and warmed by them, but resources are always valuable. This is illustrated to society by the most powerful gas attack on Europe (at the time this part of the article was written, the price of a thousand cubic meters was $3,400), which is seriously undermining the social and political situation on the continent.
Taking into account that the country does not get anything intelligible with import substitution, and the same Europe will reorganize in a few (let's say 4-5-6) years and stop paying for gas to Gazprom in general, i.e. Russia will become not so much self-sufficient as more and more dependent on China, the dear reader and I can consider such a policy unpromising in the long run. But the radicals have a different opinion , and you can't convince them.
Because of their passionate aggressiveness and strong change of mood in society, the (quickly) creeping militarization of the Russian consciousness, the radicals are a powerful force. Behind them, incl. a significant part of the army, including units and specialists, who are extremely difficult to neutralize in an internal conflict, as well as those who are well versed in ideological and behind-the-scenes games.
Thus, in Ukraine, the blogosphere traditionally treats the GRU, which gravitates towards this party, with mockery and disdain. due to known failures. At the same time, it is obvious that everything is not so simple and it would be harmful, trying to see the whole picture, to ignore the potential of this structure as well. The actions of the GRU are quite effective and at a quite high level.
For example, Yuri Romanenko recently recalled the situation when the GRU gave Recep Erdogan information about the upcoming coup in 2016. After these episodes (both the coup and the transfer of information), Erdogan's position changed dramatically and very noticeably. It has become much colder towards the West, warmer towards Russia. As a result, Turkey, having measured, as it should be, with Russia ... influence and forces in Syria and Libya, moved from a sharp confrontation to numerous direct contacts between the military, joint patrols and other, other, other, in fact, partnership. In the conflict over Karabakh, the parties also did not enter into a military confrontation. Because just as Lukashenka is unlikely to ever forget how “restlessly” he moved around the presidential palace with a machine gun in his hands, so Erdogan will not forget the long circling over the sea in anticipation of a turning point during the coup attempt.
However, purely politically , the most dangerous position for the current Russian Emperor in recent years and still is the position at the junction between the radicals and the "status quo party" , which will be discussed below.
For example, it contained Sergei Ivanov, who was once considered as a successor (but because of his position on the board is too strong). Instantly and without clear explanations, he was transferred from the position of the Head of the Administration of the President of the Russian Federation to the chair of the special representative of the President of the Russian Federation on environmental issues, ecology and transport.
Close to her is another "heavyweight" and a longtime associate of Putin, Secretary of the Security Council of the Russian Federation Patrushev. He is unlikely to be at risk of a quick resignation. Because it is not 2016. Putin has not become younger and healthier, and in general the situation for the authorities is much more difficult than before.
Putin himself is gradually shifting from the “above” position to this position on the political board , leaving no dangerous vacuum there for potential competitors. Although in the old days , as befits the Emperor, he always balanced and tried to stay above everyone (including liberals and strong regionals). Thanks to this balance, for so many years he managed to rule such a complex and politically predatory country as Russia . But it was like that before.
From the same position, trying to sit on the same two chairs (more precisely, to return to a chair standing on these two legs), the pre-war Surkov wrote (about which see also in the author's series of articles ""). I will repeat my earlier quote in a more complete version:
“ It is extremely risky to set up liberal experiments on the domestic political bloc. The depressurization of the system, this well-functioning "social reactor" today is fraught with uncontrolled releases of civil irritation and can lead to irreversible destabilization - we look at examples from the 80s and 90s.
Social entropy is very toxic. It is not recommended to work with her at home. It needs to be taken somewhere else. Export for recycling in a foreign territory.
Exporting chaos is nothing new . Divide and Conquer is an ancient recipe. Separation is synonymous with chaos . Rally your own + divide others = you will rule both. Discharge of internal tension (which Lev Gumilyov vaguely called passionarity) through external expansion. The Romans did it. All empires do this. For centuries, the Russian state, with its harsh and inactive political interior, was preserved solely thanks to the tireless striving beyond its own borders . It has long forgotten how, and most likely, never knew how to survive in other ways . For Russia, constant expansion is not just one of the ideas, but the true existential of our historical existence.
Imperial technology is still effective today, with empires renamed superpowers. The Crimean consensus is a vivid example of the consolidation of society due to the chaos of a neighboring country .
Those. The “status quo party” retains a “sedentary political interior” inside Russia, while the radicals get the war and possible “buns” associated with it. The status quo party veered and resisted, because a full-scale war is still a cigarette butt for their well-being and, in general, for the status quo. Cautiously, nomenklatura resisted until the memorable meeting of the Russian Security Council. But...
The author has already responded to Surkov's passages. Here we can state that "the Russian state with its harsh and sedentary political interior" decided to plunge into Surkov's Day.
2. Party "status quo" (and "SVO").
In order to understand what is happening in Russia, it is advisable not to lose sight of the obvious fact that for a long time this country lived in close contact with the West . Therefore, the children of many representatives of the current illiberal elites live in the West. That is why there were so many accounts, real estate, yachts, etc. That is why so many politicians, businessmen, journalists and even public organizations sound in unison or almost in unison with the Russian position.
And therefore, Putin expected that the West would put pressure on Ukraine and that it would agree to Minsk-2, allowing him to “save face” (both the “status quo” and influence on slippery internal processes) amid the dangers of transit and the growing zeal-pressure of radicals . The problem was that Minsk-2 did not suit Ukraine in any way and, in principle, could not arrange it.
So. The nominees of the Putin era are imposing, respected people, with a completely successful career and financial situation (even a little more than that). Many have been on good, bread posts for decades. They do not want to be burned in a nuclear fire as a result of some "out of control" dope, from the word in general. They are also reluctant to share posts, influence, streams, etc. with pushing radicals.
And we are not talking about some purely "nerd" liberals. Mostly, we are talking about people from the FSB , with whom the Russian government of all branches and levels, as well as the Russian resource economy is flooded.
But all purely nominal, “systemic opposition” to the Kremlin can also be considered as a “status quo” party. From the systemic opposition, we still single out the liberals and a bit more. ideological opposition. Simply because they sometimes quite sincerely tried something alternative.
3. Liberals and others who have tried.
Although these people from an ideological point of view usually represent an alternative, we will not dwell on these forces and personalities in this material. What for? Navalny is out of the game. Liberals, for example, had a chance and influence under Yeltsin, then tried to slightly raise their heads under the nominal Medvedev. In fact, it didn't work. They can only get power from above (but they obviously won’t be given a lot of it just like that, because ... see the article by the author “Russia is playing back” about the fear of the Russian elites associated with the “Milosevic scenario”). And from below... They rely on democratic ideas, but do not have any significant electoral support in Russia . It is a very formidable systemic contradiction.
Therefore, the fate of Russian liberals is either to be persecuted, or to be a kind of “Chicago boys” under Pinochet (in the sense, under Putin), and technically serve the “status quo party”.
For a while, they slightly balanced (or ostensibly balanced) the radicals. Now, from the point of view of the author, they no longer balance anything. Either they left, or they simply care about survival and pray that at least such a status quo does not collapse.
4. Regional leaders.
I must say that the overthrow of the monarchy has made some purely geographical changes :) in the composition of power. Therefore, the rulers began to come from various regions. Kerensky was born in Simbirsk (Ulyanovsk, practically the same notorious "backwoods, Saratov" © Alexander Griboyedov). Lenin, ironically, was born there. In the city of his name, and not Kerensky, even though he was the first (to be meticulous, then the surname, not the name). Stalin got out and got out even further. In short, the list can be continued up to Yeltsin. Yes, and to the most, St. Petersburg, Putin. Even the "intermediate" Medvedev, like weeds, got out of there.
But the times of bright regional leaders and promising regional teams seem to be gone or not to come. Kadyrov has outgrown the regional level and is no longer playing in this league. Therefore, see paragraph 1 about him. As for the rest, let's see if it will be of any interest to us in Ukraine at all.
The regions may sparkle with new colors, but if this happens, then only in the event of a serious all-Russian destabilization. When the center densely hanging over them collapses.
ON THE FIRST-SECOND PAY! ABOUT THE "POWER OF FRICTION" BETWEEN THE RADICALS AND THE STATUS QUO PARTY.
The status quo party, wherever its members are formally registered, for many years enjoyed all the benefits of a monopoly on power in Russia without exception. These people are well aware that the pathos of redistribution, often raised to the shield by those “hungry” for power, influence, flows, is unlikely to be limited to a small redistribution and even a redistribution of the flows themselves. And that the theme of “purges” often voiced by radicals is unlikely to stop at liberals. Moreover, it was not liberal nerds who harshly stopped the encroachments of not only the liberal, but also the radical flank in the past.
Very shortly before the assassination attempt, the result of which does not cause gloating in the author, the radical ideologist Dugin wrote: “ We habitually look for a fifth column among liberal economists and cultural and educational figures . But here everything is too superficial. Are the Western centers of espionage and ideological operations really so weak and naive as to confine themselves only to this area? I am convinced that there are segments of the Western network among the security forces. And there they are much more dangerous . Paradoxically, some (of course, not all) memorized systemic “liberals” are doing quite well under the conditions of the NWO. On this backgroundthe power component - where we should have observed the pinnacle of patriotic efficiency - is somewhat inferior ... What paradoxes are gradually being discovered ... ".
Right on the eve of the assassination attempt, Dugin had already moved further in his reasoning: “I believe that the status quo regime in Russia can theoretically last no longer than 6 months . Structural, ideological, personnel , institutional, strategic”.
Dugin doesn't emphasize it that way. But we will emphasize, because this is the essence of the message as a whole. Even if Putin nominally remains, the regime as a whole will inevitably and radically change, incl. personnel.
Dugin, of course, does not gain many views in the cart and does wonders. But remember Ilya Prigogine? "In some cases, a small perturbation ... expands incredibly, capturing vast regions of space " . The question is how stable is the state of the space (and it is pretty destabilized) and to whom the message is directed (to influential domestic Russian forces, which seem to be listening in places).
Further even more: “ The Supreme Commander-in-Chief said : we have not really started anything yet. Now we have to start. If you want - if you don't want - you'll have to . Note that Dugin, as it were, decides for the Supreme Commander-in-Chief, that is, for the Emperor of the Russian Federation, that “we will have to start,” whether he, the Supreme, wants it or not.
Both personally and systemically.
“CBO has already changed everything. Dugin writes . - Now the question is not whether the government wants or does not want change . And it is precisely patriotic - conservative-revolutionary , if you like. Such changes are simply inevitable - even if you stand to death against their beginning, it will be possible to delay it for no more than six months. And then they will come anyway. SVO is now more important than power - in its subjective dimension .
I suppose that this pleased the Russian Emperor a little, in his subjective dimension. And, moreover, it could not but be an argument of the status quo party in the fight against the radicals ...
After the assassination attempt, the Rybar military telegram channel, whose “editorial office” allegedly employs Daria Dugina’s colleagues, burst out with threats to act over the head of the authorities. But the popular pro-Kremlin “Nezygar”, on the contrary, abruptly slowed down, quickly turned the topic and pretended that “the detachment did not notice the loss of a fighter.”
In general, the media waited for a go-ahead and unanimously rushed to blame everything on Ukraine. It would be absolutely amazing if it turned out differently.
- Putin awarded the deceased;
- The “Supreme Commander-in-Chief” “threw a bone” to the radicals, increasing the army to 2,039,758 staff units (the number of military personnel by 137 thousand), but without declaring a mobilization threatening the preservation of the “status quo”;
- Shoigu, in fact, voiced Putin's position on the war (he is in the Moscow Region to voice Putin's position. It is no coincidence that Putin, right during a conversation with Shoigu, on the air, once demonstrated that he communicates with Russian generals from zone "Northern Military District" directly. Not through Gerasimov or Shoigu, and before hearing the report of the Minister of Defense);
- Russia made numerous shelling and strikes, but did not go for a qualitative escalation of the war.
None of us know exactly what really happened. But you can tell what it looks like. The fact that the "status quo party" sent a message to u rbi et orbi, "the city and the world", that it remains the master of the situation, and Putin is its permanent helmsman. And also (to partners and opponents outside) that the Russian strategy in the war will not be radically revised .
To be continued.