I am not going to idealize the Russian General Staff, but in it, as in other bodies of strategic planning of the Russian Federation, they are no fools at all. Unlike Ukrainian authorities with similar functions, strategic analysts in Moscow study the events of recent history quite deeply and draw quite logical conclusions from this, often leading to the creation of realistic scenarios. Usually, I devote my texts to operational-tactical problems, touching only slightly on the strategic aspect, primarily because I have addressed my texts to those readers who can make or influence decisions at the operational-tactical level. This time I will risk changing the target audience and touching on the strategic level, trying not to go into the longread format.
But back to the General Staff of the Russian Federation. I have already written that this organization has studied in detail the experience of the “Transnistrian crisis”. It so happened that I am aware of the non-public part of information about those events, therefore, it seems to me, I understand the logic of the Kremlin analysts a little better. There are two key events in that war. The first is the total defeat of the Moldovan army in July 1992. That is, in just a couple of days, the Moldovan army simply ceased to exist. I described in detail how this happened in a rather long text , I will not repeat myself. But I will note that the uniqueness of that defeat lay in the fact that the opponents practically did not cross the line of demarcation either during hostilities, or after the complete loss of Moldova's army. Not that everyone was killed, but all the surviving soldiers of Moldova just fled somewhere. For example, the Ministers of Defense and Internal Affairs ran all the way to Bucharest.
The second fact of that war was a complete reset of the political elite of Moldova. The total defeat of the army led to the complete disappearance of the dominant political force in Moldova - the "People Front of Moldova". In the next elections, the victory was won by the pink ones, and in the subsequent elections, the frankly red ones, who held out on the political Olympus for a decade and a half. It is absolutely certain that the military-political leadership of the Russian Federation, making decisions in 1992, did not set such far-reaching goals for itself. It just happened as a result of the events that happened. And the key factor in changing the vector of Moldova's development was a total military defeat, which included socio-political mechanisms, which in turn led to a change in the country's political vector to almost the opposite.
But in 2008, the Kremlin already had far-reaching goals that were achieved. Despite the fact that the actual territorial losses of Georgia in Abkhazia and South Ossetia were minimal, the total defeat of the Georgian Armed Forces launched socio-political mechanisms that led to a radical change in the country's political vector. Moreover, in a completely democratic way. Accordingly, this led to a total change of political elites in the country, which, in fact, the Kremlin wanted to get as a result of its military action. And this is not about the name of the country's leader, but about its political vector. In Georgia, the pro-Kremlin party had no chance of winning, but Georgia’s current political leadership is clearly much more comfortable for the Kremlin than Saakashvili’s team.
But back to Ukraine. In my opinion, the Kremlin has absolutely no plans to occupy any part of Ukraine, except for the already annexed Crimea, but it wants to change the country's political vector from the western to the moderate-eastern. For this, it is even ready to return the occupied part of Donbas to Ukraine. How can it be achieved? To answer this question, it is worth looking at the strategic results of military campaigns in Moldova and Georgia. The Kremlin definitely looks at them and makes plans with them in mind.
In fact, the Kremlin has already launched the scenario of the defeat of the Armed Forces of Ukraine twice. In the summer of the 14th, they did not achieve results, since an unexpectedly large-scale surge of volunteer and volunteer movement in Ukraine compensated for the defeat of the most combat-ready and equipped units of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. And in January-February 15, there was not enough prepared resources, which simply dried up in the Debaltsevo battle. A complete surprise for all, except for a few officers of the tactical echelon of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, was the extraordinary resistance of the defense in this sector of the front and there was nothing to compensate for the losses of the attackers. It was even possible to simply take this piece of Ukrainian land only by entering into a purely "commercial" conspiracy with the then top military-political leadership. I don't think it's very cheap. In general, the defeat did not happen then, but rather the opposite. But the conclusions from that company in the General Staff of the Russian Federation were made absolutely precisely. And in the next attempt, they will use significantly more resources and will simply bypass especially resistant areas of the defense of the Armed Forces, leaving them in a strategic surrounding.
So, who should try to oppose these strategic plans of the Kremlin, and who shouldn't? If you look at the results of hostilities in Moldova and Georgia, the answer is obvious. Those who are now part of the "political elites" should oppose these plans, and those who only claim this role do not need to do this. For purely cynical and practical reasons. And it doesn't matter what the current oppositionists declare - the eastern or western vector. Both those and others will find their allotments in the future electoral fields. Those voters who will blame the pacifism of the current elites for the military defeat will find leaders among the opposition “hawks”, and those who will blame the current government for provoking military escalation will choose Oppositional Platform. Well, the former belonging to the Ze-party will be considered by the overwhelming majority of the electorate as a dirty spot on the political biography of the politician.
In general, there is someone to strain and there is someone to wish for the earliest possible implementation of the creative plans of the Kremlin. But is there a way to counter these plans without satisfying any whim from Moscow? After all, the superiority of forces in the number and quality of the military forces of the parties is simply colossal! In fact, the way out exists, if only we had enough time... But more on that in the next text.