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Putin’s war is just beginning Even a ceasefire won't thwart his masterplan

This is just the prelude (Sasha Mordovets/Getty Images)

This is just the prelude (Sasha Mordovets/Getty Images)


June 3, 2022   5 mins

A hundred days ago, Putin did what he was always going to do: press the red button on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. While US and British Intelligence warned an attack was imminent, much of the world was shocked by the sudden, merciless violence set in motion as Russian military forces entered from the north, east, south, and from across Black Sea.

While the Western media presented this attack as a complete surprise, Putin had been planning it since his 2014 seizure of Crimea. Almost immediately after its annexation, he made clear his belief that he should have done more. He regretted his failure to secure more ports, and openly speculated that he needed land access to the west, beyond Odesa to Transnistria and beyond.

So when he launched his current invasion on February 24, no doubt his mind was fizzing with plans beyond Ukraine. For him, the current offensive was just unfinished business. Once that was executed, he had another agenda.

Over the past three months, I have spent many long evenings rethinking my conversations with Putin, seven years before he became President of the new Republic of Russia. During those meetings in St. Petersburg, he reminisced about his boyhood, camping and hunting in nearby Estonia. I remember thinking that he must have read a KGB briefing on my recent marriage to an Estonian woman. He said that he knew my wife and I had visited the country in 1988, just after I had been a guest of Soviet President Gromyko as part of a UN-sponsored gathering of former heads of governments.

He also knew I had met with officials of the Estonian Republic during the Soviet occupation, and again later with officials of the newly liberated Estonian nation. He expressed strong personal desire to find a way to bring Estonia back to Mother Russia.

Putin talked at length about the historic tragedy of the collapse of the Soviet Union, but also added that the Soviet Bloc was the wrong model for what Russia needed. He made an impassioned explanation that what Russia really needed was a new Peter the Great. He talked almost lovingly about Peter’s attempts to upgrade Russia’s institutions and education system from 1682 to 1725. He argued that after the total collapse of the USSR, it had become necessary to rebuild a Greater Russia under the leadership of a new version of Peter.

Peter, he told me, had set in motion the magnificent strengthening of Russia completed by Catherine the Great: the establishment of Novorossiya, or Imperial Russia, spanning all of the Baltic Sea, the Nordics and Poland, as well as the peoples and nations to the west and to the south to the Azov and Black Sea. He then made it clear he did not think the Soviet Bloc was the right model to achieve this, and what he longed for was a return of Imperial Russia, not Soviet Russia.

Reflecting on this early interaction with this clearly ambitious young man, I was reminded of Putin’s path from being Deputy Mayor of St Petersburg to serving under President Yeltsin in Moscow. In 1996 Yeltsin asked the Mayor of St. Petersburg, Professor Sobchak, to come to Moscow and lead the drafting of a new Constitution for the new Republic of Russia. Sobchak asked his protégé, Putin, to come along.

In Moscow, Yevgeny Primakov, Yeltsin’s Prime Minister, had been known for years as “the Soviet Union’s Kissinger”. I had known him since the Eighties. It was he who first introduced me to Putin in 1992 as a man likely to be important in Russia’s future. Primakov initially appointed Putin as head of the FSB, but soon after asked him to take on the more comprehensive role of Secretary of the State Security Council, effectively placing him in charge of shaping the new Russian Republic’s foreign policy. It was said at the time that Primakov’s proposal filled Putin with a noticeable ecstasy, that fate had gifted him with the opportunity to live his dream of reshaping Russian history.

Never one to shy away from an opportunity, Putin immersed himself in every aspect of Russia’s standing in the world. He did, however, pay particular attention to the potential for nuclear weapons to intimidate other nations. He published a new doctrine of nuclear threats, known as “Escalate to Deescalate”. The public airing of this doctrine was meant to show that he was seriously considering selective use of nuclear weapons not only inside Ukraine but in future conflicts with Baltic Sea neighbours.

By 1999, the time had come for Yeltsin to step down. A new constitution had been approved, and Russia was ready for a new leader. Several candidates appeared, but Sobchak, father of the constitution, and Putin, the man designated to deal with foreign leaders, emerged as favourites. I recently asked people who were there at the time how the competition was resolved, and was told Sobchak made the choice. He said he was an academic, but not a man who would be good at managing a nation. He admitted he thought “Vlad” was a man of action, just what Russia needed at that moment. So Putin was appointed Prime Minister, and four months later elected President.

This elevation was extraordinary. To Putin, who dreamed of a return to Imperial Russia, it must have felt like fate had chosen him to be a second incarnation of Peter the Great — a 21st-century Tsar, or even Emperor. This self-perception may well have led him to embrace Xi Jinping, the other self-perceived 21st-century Emperor.

Viewed in this way, it would seem that his current military operation in Ukraine is just an early phase of Putin’s long process of rebuilding and enlarging Greater Russia. This perspective was certainly behind repeated public warnings from senior Putin aides that what was happening in Ukraine was just part of a bigger plan.

There will be many in Western Europe and the US who will say Putin is delusional, and that might be true. But we must not ignore the cunning manner in which he has gained such strong approval from a large share of the Russian people. His close affiliation with Patriarch Kirill, Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church, looks artificial to outsiders, but it brings support from many Russian Christians. His appeals to Russian nationalism are ostentatious, but they demonstrate he is standing up to the American giant. His repeated calls for a conference on a new post-Second World War security accord are routinely ignored by the US and European leaders, but this enables him to declare that Russia is belittled by great world powers.

It is amid this context of larger ambitions that the Russian invasion of Ukraine should be assessed. The long list of Russian military failures over the past 100 days are embarrassing, but the objectives remain the same. The growing costs of waging war and the toll on his armies and top officers cannot go on forever. But that doesn’t mean the war is entering its endgame.

For Putin, the next steps seem obvious: unilaterally declare a ceasefire, ease the international interventions on behalf of Ukraine, and provide time to regroup and prepare for a new drive westward through Odesa to Moldova and Transnistria, perhaps next year. If a ceasefire is declared, the world will sigh with relief, stock markets will rebound, worries about world food shortages will diminish, and diplomats will go back to sleep. But the war will only be in hibernation; the action will resume at a later date. After 100 days of war, the battle for Ukraine is only getting started.


Harald Malmgren is a geopolitical strategist, negotiator and former aide to Presidents John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard Nixon, and Gerald Ford
Halsrethink

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J Bryant
J Bryant
1 year ago

If a ceasefire is declared, the world will sigh with relief, stock markets will rebound, worries about world food shortages will diminish, and diplomats will go back to sleep. But the war will only be in hibernation; the action will resume at a later date.
That’s why, imo, a unilateral declaration of ceasefire by Putin won’t be accepted at face value. By now everyone knows, or strongly suspects, Putin’s game, so if Putin declares a ceasefire I’d guess the west will take the time to properly prepare Ukraine for the coming onslaught.
I do wonder, though, how long the Russian army can sustain its current losses (assuming those losses are not exaggerated by the press–sadly, we can no longer trust most news outlet on any issue).
Great article by Mr. Malmgren. He probably got a clearer view into Putin’s mind than most analysts.

Rob Britton
Rob Britton
1 year ago
Reply to  J Bryant

If there is a cease fire or a peace settlement in which Ukraine cedes territory, as many are demanding, then Putin will present that as a victory.

Colin Elliott
Colin Elliott
1 year ago
Reply to  Rob Britton

It will be a victory. The tragedy of the situation, given the world situation and lack of consequences for Putin if there are heavy Russian casualties, is that he can’t lose. That’s why he started it.

Peter B
Peter B
1 year ago
Reply to  Colin Elliott

Delusional. He lost the moment he invaded and made the USA and China winners. China can’t believe their luck. Likewise the US.
The Russian military is now a laughing stock and Russian military exports will decline as a result. Add in the technology sanctions, almost no native high tech industry and the brain drain of smart, free-thinking Russian technology professionals who lost their jobs in the divisions of Western companies in Russia and who arew moving West now as they need jobs and don’t want to get drafted into Putin’s mad wars. He’s running his own country into the ground. Russia is being ruined just as thoroughly as Ukraine.

John Jacob
John Jacob
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

Americans are now experts at holding two completely contradictory and opposing ideas in their head at the same time.

Igor Stravinsky
Igor Stravinsky
1 year ago
Reply to  John Jacob

No …Sleepy Joe is. There are still adults in the administration and the Pentagon and State

Dominic A
Dominic A
1 year ago
Reply to  John Jacob

The ability to hold two completely contradictory and opposing ideas at the same time is a well recognised sign of high intelligence.

Peter B
Peter B
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

The naivete is in those who believe that Putin is just a regular guy who can be trusted.
When did I ever say I trusted Western media ? This is all your own projection and assumption. You know nothing about me.
My views on Russia are my own formed over thirty years and more and visits to Eastern Europe and Russia. Plus quite a lot of study of the history and culture in these regions.
Drag yourself out of the gutter of personal abuse for a moment and now tell me in exactly which details you disagree with my comments.

martin logan
martin logan
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

It’s even more delusional to believe that the opposite of what the MSM say must be the truth. Might be better to look at a range of sources, and make an informed decision. Every news outlet in Russia is also THEIR MSM–but it’s all controlled by one man.

Colin Elliott
Colin Elliott
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

He can mend the Russian military (and doesn’t have to convince anyone but himself), even if it’s just to add more artillery. He doesn’t need military exports. Indeed, they’ve been importing it, and can afford to import more.
Meanwhile, if he conquers just the parts of Ukraine he already holds, and maybe extend along the coast to Moldova, he’ll extend a stranglehold over fossil fuel easily supplied to Europe. It’s interesting to know that gas and oil are under those areas, and off Crimea, and were about to be exploited in 2014. Weaning Europe off such fuel seems unlikely to me.
To this, he adds a dominant position on food and fertilisers, and acquires, or reacquires in his mind, parts of the military industry still used by Russia.
Also important is that a democratic and prosperous Ukraine would be an unwelcome contrast with Russia.

Igor Stravinsky
Igor Stravinsky
1 year ago
Reply to  Colin Elliott

His artillery only works because the Ukrainians don’t have comparable artillery and , above all, squadrons os A10 Warthogs. He has spent billions on the Army but it has mostly been wasted. The fundamental problem is the culture of the command and doctrines stuck in battles of the 1940s

Igor Stravinsky
Igor Stravinsky
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

..and left Mother Russia economically crippled. A basket vase with nuclear weapons. When Putin goes lets hope whoever steps in is someone we can do business with

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

But nonetheless a tad more believable that the Russian propaganda garbage (The Ukrainian state is a Nazi state, the Russians are defending their brothers from genocide etc etc).

Matt M
Matt M
1 year ago
Reply to  J Bryant

I agree, it is a great article. I wonder where his ambition ends. Joining Kaliningrad to mother Russia? Taking the Balts? Further west?

Scary stuff!

Sam Sky
Sam Sky
1 year ago
Reply to  Matt M

Lavrov was talking about how the reunification of Germany was illegitimate a few years ago so who knows where the Western terminus of his ambitions lie.

Howard Gleave
Howard Gleave
1 year ago
Reply to  Sam Sky

The IGB, basically from Hamburg down the Elbe. Germany might just then become interested in NATO again. Possibly too late.

The only way not to find out is to ensure the Russian army never makes it out of Donbas. The Ukrainians should receive MLRS in large numbers. The notion they’d use them willy nilly against Russia is implausible. They will need ammunition resupply.

Rupert Steel
Rupert Steel
1 year ago
Reply to  Matt M

Putin’s problem is that Russia is a weakened and declining state that is manifestly incapable of confronting a challenge in its remote Far East. We read that the Ukrainians captured by Russia are being shipped to this Far East. This fulfills two objectives. Firstly it removes them from any possible Western scrutiny in European Russia, and secondly it makes a small addition to the Caucasian population of the Far Eastern oblasts. Meanwhile, a re-armed Japan is champing at the bit to recover its Northern Territories, four Kurile islands seized by Stalin in the last days of WW2. China has repudiated Russia’s claim to the title of Vladivostok, granted by the Chinese emperor in 1680. It’s only a matter of time before Putin finds himself dealing with an unwinnable situation in the Far East. Without out-running its logistics, the PLA could probably take the Russian Far East up to a line west of Lake Baikal.

James Stangl
James Stangl
1 year ago
Reply to  J Bryant

Indeed. Talking with a number of ex-US military friends, they state to a man that one of the big takeaways from this war is that (outside of Russia’s nuclear arsenal), their military is pretty clearly NOT the Red Army of yore. And unlike WW2, Russia may not be able to absorb the casualties it’s taking for a lot longer.

For those who decry this article as “Russophobia,” I would remind them that the Baltic states were under the Russian imperial boot long before the advent of the Soviet Union. So was Poland, and Finland (prior to the end of WW1). Sweden fought Russia on and off through the 17th and 18th centuries. My maternal grandmom and her family emigrated from Finland in the 19th century largely because of increasing Russian imperial oppression. Those nations have a long and unhappy history of Russian interference, aggression, and domination. Small wonder to me that the Baltics and now Finland and Sweden are either in NATO or petitioning to join.

John Jacob
John Jacob
1 year ago
Reply to  James Stangl

Speaking of Imperial boots, I’ll remind you that The British Empire:
–       Brutally enslaved 100+ million Indians for 175 years
–       Brutally lead the genocide of over 10+ million native Americans
–       Brutally smuggled heroin into Hong Kong to undermine civility
–       Brutally enslaved many parts of coastal Chinese cities
–       Brutally lead the enslavement of over 10+ million africans
British empire was the most brutal and evil empire in the history of man, from a human rights perspective. From a monetary perspective, they became the richest.
Churchill said of Ghandi “”We should be rid of a bad man and an enemy of the Empire”.
Just sayin’ … you don’t want to role back history because the brits, the french, and now the americans are responsible for a hell of a lot of genocide and enslavement.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  John Jacob

Failed history at school did you?

John Jacob
John Jacob
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Ok, Mr Billy Bob.
 
Are you drunk on a six pack of Budweiser right now?
 
What history is incorrect?
 
Population of India was closer to 200 million at that time, so I was generous.
 
And when I say enslaved, that doesn’t mean the same type of slavery as black people in America; I mean brutal policies like the British had on Indians; for example, making the production of clothing ILLEGAL in India so that Indians were forced to purchase expensive British imports. The imposition of highly unethical taxes, tariffs, etc solely to extract wealth from the country is the same thing as slavery because it means the people do not have sovereign democratic rights. The British systematically looted India for it’s labor and resources. Modern estimates put that number at around 30 trillion dollars which was extracted from the Indian economy in almost 200 years. That’s slavery in my book!
 
But please tell me what I got wrong Mr. Smarty pants.

And btw, Indians were also slaved like africans were, just not in the same numbers.

Last edited 1 year ago by John Jacob
Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  John Jacob

You can’t simply change the meaning of words to suit your narrative. The Indians were colonised, not enslaved. I’ll agree that policies were in place that allowed Britain to extract wealth from India, but that’s vastly different to what most people would define as slavery.
Whilst Britain was involved in the slave trade, along with many other European, Arab, African nations and the Americas, they also were among the first to outlaw the practice and did more than any other nation to end the practice. If you’re going to condemn Britain for the role it played, should you also not applaud them for the amount of blood and treasure they spent to eradicate it?
I also find your whataboutery strange. You seem happy to condemn the actions of nations centuries ago while ignoring atrocities being carried out in the present day.

Peter Dunn
Peter Dunn
1 year ago
Reply to  John Jacob

Utter tripe.

Gordon Arta
Gordon Arta
1 year ago
Reply to  John Jacob

Complete garbage. There are more people from the Indian sub-continent in West Yorkshire today (290K)than the total of Europeans in India at the height of the Empire (230K); most of India was ruled by Indians, and the lot was ruled largely by consent. Britain had, after all, ended 500 years of civil war between the Mughals, Afghans, Marathas, Sikhs, and others, which had resulted in the deaths of millions and utterly bankrupted the continent. The Islamic invasions of the Indian sub-continent were by far ‘the most murderous episode in world history’. Look up Aurangzeb if you want an example of a really evil empire.

Igor Stravinsky
Igor Stravinsky
1 year ago
Reply to  John Jacob

All together now …..Oh no it wasnt!

P Branagan
P Branagan
1 year ago
Reply to  James Stangl

The outstanding courage of the Russian officers and men in fighting NATO in Ukraine is in stark contrast to the craven, and incompetent, performance of UK and US forces in Afghanistan. They hid away in their bases afraid to tackle an enemy equipped with only AK47s and IEDs. And then ran away with their tails between their legs. Pathetic!

Malcolm Ward
Malcolm Ward
1 year ago
Reply to  P Branagan

Evening, Ivan!

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  P Branagan

How incompetent of the Brits, they should have razed Kabul to the ground, indiscriminately murdered civilians and committed war crimes like those brave Russian Generals

Igor Stravinsky
Igor Stravinsky
1 year ago
Reply to  P Branagan

Vladimir clearly isn’t happy with this article

Richard Craven
Richard Craven
1 year ago
Reply to  James Stangl

Do one, wokey.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  James Stangl

If Britain had fallen, Hitler could have concentrated his forces on the east and quickly overrun the Soviets, and the Americans wouldn’t have got involved later on as they’d have had nowhere from which to launch their troops. Without Britain the war would have been lost.
Also Britain didn’t enslave anybody, they actually spent a lot of blood and treasure to end the practice

John Jacob
John Jacob
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

You just lost any credibility by saying the “british never enslaved anyone”.

You may be the most ignorant person I’ve ever seen online.

A quick google search will show you the British dominated the slave trade from 1600 till about 1800 and enslaved over 3 million Africans. That’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Orwell put it best:

Ignorance is Strength

Oliver Butt
Oliver Butt
1 year ago
Reply to  John Jacob

The British did not enslave Africans. They purchased people who had already been enslaved by their fellow Africans. Slavery was endemic in Africa. An economic opportunity beckoned for Europeans and they took it.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  John Jacob

Britain didn’t enslave people, they bought them from the slave traders (usually Arabs or other Africans) and transported them out to the Americas. They were also amongst the first nations to ban slavery and the Royal Navy effectively acted as the worlds policeman to bring the slave trade to a halt.
That’s being pedantic I’ll grant you, but technically correct.
Also lazily quoting Orwell adds nothing to your argument.

martin logan
martin logan
1 year ago
Reply to  James Stangl

What do British crimes of a century or more ago have to do with Putin’s far worse crimes in Ukraine?
Russia killed a million people in the Caucasus in the 19th C. But we can’t blame Putin for it.
Just Ukraine, Georgia, and Chechnya

John Jacob
John Jacob
1 year ago
Reply to  martin logan

judeo-chrisitian imperialism has been the most the destructive force in the history of man.

it’s philosophy is one of subjugation, conquest, racism, and slavery.

today, the USA and UK are still judeo-christian imperiums … just look at:

iraq, syria, palestine, vietnam, and many others.

Now you want to conquer Russia, then China, just so you try and stay #1 ( even tho your technical economies/advancements are being held together by indian and chinese engineers immigrating to the USA )

Your past and recent crimes have to do with “track record”. The west has zero credibility on “world peace” and “human rights” because you’ve been the biggest violators of them over the last 500 years.

your undying support for racist, apartheid israel shows your true colors even tho the CIA and MI6 and the media try to cover your crimes

Last edited 1 year ago by John Jacob
Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  John Jacob

Stalin and Mao probably killed around 150 million people between them, neither of which had much to do with Judaism or Christianity.

Samir Iker
Samir Iker
1 year ago
Reply to  J Bryant

“if Putin declares a ceasefire I’d guess the west will take the time to properly prepare Ukraine for the coming onslaught.”
If the most recent Russian attacks are an indication, Russia’s objectives as a prelude to “ceasefure” are the following:
– Mariopol (done)
– Land bridge to Crimea (almost done)
– Liberate Lugansk and Donetsk (almost done)
– Industrialised areas in East and seaports (with exception of Odessa, done)
– Wipe out Azov (done)
– Encirclement and destruction of the key Ukrainian military units (not a given, but 60% done)

If the Russians do reach a point where they offer a ceasefire, it doesn’t matter what the West does in the rest of Ukraine. They would as as keen on “occupying” them as South Korea or India would be on taking over North Korea and Pakistan respectively. In other words, “,thank God they aren’t part of our country any more, take them back, are you crazy?”

If anything they would love the West to keep sinking money in the corrupt, deindustrialsed, backward rump that would be left.

For instance, all those Ukrainian “refuges?” Good luck sending them back. They didn’t run because of the war, they ran because it’s Ukraine.

Last edited 1 year ago by Samir Iker
Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  Samir Iker

Yet many refugees are now heading back into Kyiv now the Russians have been defeated outside the capital.
Also a prolonged war would destroy the Russians much more than the west. For a fairly trivial amount of money when split across the major western nations, they can constantly supply the Ukrainians with the latest weapons to keep the Russians at bay. By contrast it would take a much higher percentage of Russias GDP (not to mention Russian troops killed) simply to maintain what they currently hold.

John Jacob
John Jacob
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

USA doesn’t make very much money compared to what it borrows and prints. You just hit 133% debt to GDP. Historically, any country in the last 500 years that hit this level was in for a very hard reckoning.

China and many countries are no longer buying your bonds. And you are running out of your ability to print money without causing hyper-inflation and destroying your own economy.

You can’t increase revenues because you have no hard industries that export lots of goods.

These are reasons why you are now moving to invade Russia and later China; because you need to take out the competition so that you can start competing again in trade.

Ultimately, your country is near bankruptcy. It would be bankrupt if you weren’t able to print more money. That priviledge is also being lost now that people are moving away from the petro-dollar.

Meanwhile, Russia and China both have compartively low debt to GDP and big mountains of gold. When your debt inflated economy resets, asset prices will crash, and your lower 80% will lose all their net worth. Your just like Germany in the 1930s, but more lazy, aloof, and deluded.

Last edited 1 year ago by John Jacob
martin logan
martin logan
1 year ago
Reply to  John Jacob

Just as the Soviet Union and Mao’s China buried the US, so Putin will now.

John Jacob
John Jacob
1 year ago
Reply to  martin logan

Mao’s China never tried to “bury the US”. They succeded in kicking out the British, and for that, the people of China will always be thankful.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  John Jacob

Who do you think the people of Hong Kong would choose to live under if they had to choose, the British or the Chinese?

Peter Dunn
Peter Dunn
1 year ago
Reply to  John Jacob

“Russia is low on debt”
Thanks to sanctions,they’re low on EVERYTHING&getting lower.
Serious internal conflagration is coming down the track..
Why didn’t they embrace the offer of healthy capitalism with healthy governance?
Instead Putin&his mob got down to stealing everything they could get their hands on thanks to Western naivete..
But NO MORE ..they have overseen the destruction of Russia&its people.
And for WHAT?

Igor Stravinsky
Igor Stravinsky
1 year ago
Reply to  John Jacob

“moving to invade Russia”
Clearly you need a review of the Meds
“low on debt”
Well you have had huge exports of oil and gas but that is ending and you have no significant industrial infrastructure. Aside from aerospace, your military industrial system has been shown to be knocking out shoddy goods. The West doesn’t need your oil and gas – the US has 200 years of reserves in the Shale beds.

Last edited 1 year ago by Igor Stravinsky
John Jacob
John Jacob
1 year ago
Reply to  J Bryant

“west will take the time to properly prepare Ukraine for the coming onslaught” … which is why Putin won’t declare a ceasefire. Russia is now consistently winning, punishing the Ukrainian army, and so giving them any chance to regroup would be a strategic blunder. They won’t stop till most territory south-east of the Dnieper is fully under their control. Even after that, Kiev is next. There’s no turning back now. Any hesitation on follow thru while they have the advantage would be a mistake.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  John Jacob

If the Ukrainians receive the long range missiles in the near future I think you’ll see the limit of what Russias current tactics can achieve. They would most likely grind to a halt in the very near future

John Jacob
John Jacob
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Russian long range missiles will also be longer range than Ukraine’s. Russia has hyper sonic. US is just getting hyper sonic, and US isn’t giving that to the Ukrainians anytime soon. End game isn’t to save Ukraine, but to draw out the Russians, so they can be attacked by the USA once they have been weakened by all the Ukrainian civilian cannon fodder.

Last edited 1 year ago by John Jacob
martin logan
martin logan
1 year ago
Reply to  John Jacob

Indeed, which is why Russia is unlikely to survive this, as long as Putin is at the helm.
Sad for most Russians. It will be far worse than the 90s.

Antony Altoft
Antony Altoft
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

The US supplied 99 M77 Howitzers to Ukraine. Russia has 13,000 artillery pieces.
Ukraine will (eventually) receive a couple of dozen rocket launchers as well. Russia has well over 3,000.
Russia has more artillery and rocket launchers than any other country in the world, including the US and despite all the wishful thinking/propaganda they are pretty good.
The Ukrainians are down to a handful of jets and not many more helicopters. They have lost most of their drones and are resorting to using commercial (hobbyist) drones from China for surveillance.
The best Ukrainian forces are currenly being pulverized by artillery in multiple hotspots around the Donbass with Zelensky saying today that 100 Ukrainan soldiers are being killed daily along with 500 injured. That may be conservative.
Whatever your feelings about this conflict, it is hard to see how the arms coming from the West will do more than prolong the conflict and lead to the death of more people on both sides.

martin logan
martin logan
1 year ago
Reply to  Antony Altoft

You’re confusing inventory with trained units and trained pilots. Russia does indeed have huge stockpiles of rather old equpt. But without people trained to man them, they are useless.
Indeed, given that educated people with tech skills rarely join the Russian army–for obvious reasons, given what we’ve see in Kyiv, Kharkiv and Kherson–it’s doubtful that Russia could increase the number of effective artillery units in the near future.
Russia’s effective manpower pool is small and dwindling. Most new recruits are former Vagner fighters, Chechens, and ethnic forces from the most deprived areas.
Moreover, nearly all Russian attacks are now with unguided munitions, meaning they rarely hit the target. Great if you want to destroy the territory you want to take. Not so great if you want to have a viable Russia at the end of the conflict.
Unless Putin declares a general mobilization, time is now on Ukraine’s side. Even then, it will be months before Putin’s mobilization can take place.
FACT.

Antony Altoft
Antony Altoft
1 year ago
Reply to  martin logan

A lot of wishful thinking there, but it’s hard to take someone seriously if they right “FACT” at the end of their comment.

Igor Stravinsky
Igor Stravinsky
1 year ago
Reply to  Antony Altoft

The estimates 4 weeks ago were that 25% of the resources committed by Russia at the start of this had already been destroyed. For the Russian Troops its a meat grinder. They are losing commanders at a phenomenal rate and already there has been one Purge of generals in Moscow
Russia has lots of third rate weapons dating back to the 1950s but they cant replenish weapons stocks as fast as they are using them. Using hypersonic weapons and expensive submarine launched cruise missiles to blow up civic buildings and apartment blocks doesn’t help.

Peter Styles
Peter Styles
1 year ago
Reply to  John Jacob

Hear we go again!!
Just another deluded student of the Communist Manifesto.
This is 2022 not 1848.

Richard Craven
Richard Craven
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter Styles

Excellent comment. No idea why the downvotes.

martin logan
martin logan
1 year ago
Reply to  John Jacob

Sheer delusion. Putin will have to settle for Luhansk and an obliterated Mariupol as his “trophies.”
He still cannot completely control even Severodonetsk.

martin logan
martin logan
1 year ago

It is easy to confuse intentions with capabilities.
Mussolini had intentions even grander. But his army was arguably as inept as Russia’s.
Empires in decline often try to recover past glory. Spain is a prime example. But its various wars to retain its empire just weakened it. France had similar problems in Vietnam and Algeria. At least (at times!) Britain was wise enough to withdraw from its colonies before it became embroiled in conflict.
Clownish schemes like Putin’s initial attempt to take Kyiv with lightly armoured paras–and then poorly supplied and supported heavy armour–is only the latest example of the failure of neo-colonialism.

R Wright
R Wright
1 year ago
Reply to  martin logan

“Britain was wise enough to withdraw from its colonies before it became embroiled in conflict.”
I believe the only colonial wars we fought post war were to stabilise a country prior to granting it independence, like Kenya, Malaya and Yemen. So it was never about preserving the empire, just ensuring they wouldn’t go red.

Bill W
Bill W
1 year ago
Reply to  R Wright

The UK was already delegating and divesting itself of some colonial responsibilities in the mid 19th century.

John Jacob
John Jacob
1 year ago
Reply to  Bill W

I think what you mean is that because of the prevalence of the newspaper and the telegraph, it became impossible to hide your cruel and inhumane acts from the world. So, you started to retreat because you weren’t able to effectively deliver propoganda to justify your raping of other cultures and civilizations.

Last edited 1 year ago by John Jacob
martin logan
martin logan
1 year ago
Reply to  John Jacob

Indeed!
And what about British atrocities in the Hundred Years War? Why isn’t there an accounting?
That alone shows how much better Putin’s Russia is.

John Jacob
John Jacob
1 year ago
Reply to  R Wright

Right, because Churchill didn’t say the following:

“Power will go to the hands of rascals, rogues, freebooters; all Indian leaders will be of low calibre & men of straw. They will have sweet tongues and silly hearts. They will fight amongst themselves for power and India will be lost in political squabbles.”

And then proceeded to jail, torture, and prevent Indians from getting freedom.

But keep telling yourself that you “let India go” because of your “good hearts”

The mindless christian zombies in this thread all think they are the good guys even though their leaders speak about other races of people like this.

Last edited 1 year ago by John Jacob
Alison Tyler
Alison Tyler
1 year ago
Reply to  John Jacob

No one speaks like that now. Things move on.

John Jacob
John Jacob
1 year ago
Reply to  Alison Tyler

They don’t speak like that … but they think like that.

Rupert Steel
Rupert Steel
1 year ago
Reply to  John Jacob

Yet it was under Churchill that India was granted independence. You should read up on the Cripps Offer of 1942 which set India on that path. When the Indians collectively decided to reject British rule, which they had long collaborated in accepting, the British simply left, without a fight.

John Jacob
John Jacob
1 year ago
Reply to  Rupert Steel

You should read up on 150 years of Indian enslavement by the British.

To say that India was “granted independence” out the goodness of Britian’s heart is complete and under bastardization of everything the enslaved Indians did to fight for their freedom.

“… They collaborated in accepting .. ”
is the most deluded uneducated statement I’ve ever heard. I can tell you have never read a single line about India’s history with the British.

“.. the British simply left, without a fight .. ”
OH REALLY … IS THAT WHY GHANDI SPENT YEARS IN PRISON

……

BECAUSE THE BRITISH SIMPLY LEFT

I think George Orwell said it best:

“Ignorance is strength”

Last edited 1 year ago by John Jacob
martin logan
martin logan
1 year ago
Reply to  John Jacob

Obviously you have never heard of something called “history,” which asserts that there is something called “the past,” and which is often quite different from the present.
But however bad England’s actions in India, etc, the Tsar’s suppression of Poland and the Caucasus was far bloodier and destructive.
As for the 10s of millions killed by Stalin…well, only Hitler compares to that particular leader of the Russians.

John Jacob
John Jacob
1 year ago
Reply to  martin logan

Exxon mobile and British Petroleum now pump 90% of Iraq’s oil.

After they killed Sadam, of course.

So, your imperialism still happens today.

over 500k iraqi civilians were murdered in your illegal war in Iraq. the real numbers were way higher as Julian Assange showed us from your own internal military documents.

What do you have to say about that?

John Jacob
John Jacob
1 year ago
Reply to  martin logan

10s of millions is still less than the 100m plus Indians whose life force was stolen from them for 200 years.

that’s just india ….

when the UK goverment banned slavery in it’s colonies, it made reperations payments to the slave owners and gave nothing to the slaves.

in fact, it was only in 2015 that you finally paid off your reparations debt to no other than the …

the Rothchild trust

Not conspiracy theory …. well known fact … google it right now

British tax payers paid the Rothschild’s for over 100 years for the privilege of freeing all the slaves.

you can’t make this evil shit up.

British tax payers should absolutely livid

The slaves should be seeking reparations

Last edited 1 year ago by John Jacob
Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  John Jacob

So how should Britain have ended slavery? America had to resort to a brutal civil war and racist segregationist policies from the defeated parties lasted for over 100 years as a result.
Britain avoided all that by simply compensating people who had legally purchased those slaves for transportation. As abhorrent as we find the practice today, those people were simply being compensated for something that had been legally purchased according to the laws at the time

Igor Stravinsky
Igor Stravinsky
1 year ago
Reply to  John Jacob

I encourage you to look at what is happening in India today

Colin Elliott
Colin Elliott
1 year ago
Reply to  martin logan

I think you’re making a grievous mistake. For example, USSR was a shambles at the time of Hitler’s invasion, and yet the toughness and courage of the Russian people, and the ruthlessness of the regime stopped and reversed it. They even achieved success in organisation.
Secondly, unlike Hitler, the Soviet system lasted from 1917 until 1991, a bit longer than Hitler’s.

Bill Ellson
Bill Ellson
1 year ago
Reply to  Colin Elliott

the toughness and courage of the Russian people”
Really? Nothing to do with Moscow conscripting men, from Mongolia and ‘Soviet’ Central Asia, who they regarded as totally expendable?

Jerry Carroll
Jerry Carroll
1 year ago
Reply to  Bill Ellson

That is the neighborhood from which sprang Genghis Khan and his murderous horde.

Justin Clark
Justin Clark
1 year ago
Reply to  Colin Elliott

and the supplies of weapons and food by Russia’s allies…! Who are now the other side of the barbed wire….

Justin Clark
Justin Clark
1 year ago
Reply to  martin logan

Absolutely right Martin. Empires are over nowadays and I suspect “some” of the Russian population even recognise this…thanks to the internet/social media… I think Putin has overplayed his hand but he’s deadly with the bigger weapons he has to hand… I detest the man but he needs a way out…I think?!

M. M.
M. M.
1 year ago

Harald Malmgren wrote, “But we must not ignore the cunning manner in which he has gained such strong approval from a large share of the Russian people.”

The war against the Ukrainians is not Putin’s war. The war is Russia’s war.

In fact, 80% of Russians support the Russian war against the Ukrainians. German public television has shown videos of Russians (living in Germany) who publicly state their support for the Kremlin.

Therefore, the Russians are responsible for the actions of the Kremlin in committing atrocities in Ukraine.

Furthermore, the Indian government is helping the Kremlin to evade Western sanctions, and 40% of Indians support the Russians’ committing atrocities against the Ukrainians.

Get more info about this issue.

Last edited 1 year ago by M. M.
Samir Iker
Samir Iker
1 year ago
Reply to  M. M.

“the Indian government is helping the Kremlin to evade Western sanctions”
Did the holier than thou Western Europeans stop buying Russian energy from day 1 of the war?
If not, kindly avoid talking about other governments and sanctions. You have zero moral authority to do so.

“The war against the Ukrainians is not Putin’s war. The war is Russia’s war.”
Absolutely. Russia is not going to war because Putin wants to reform the Warsaw pact or invade Poland.
It’s because ordinary Russians consider Ukraine joining NATO and attacks on Russian minorities in Donbass as an extreme provocation.

“Therefore, the Russians are responsible for the actions of the Kremlin in committing atrocities in Ukraine.”
By that same token, each and every citizen of a NATO country is responsible for the numerous civilian deaths and destruction of civilian infrastructure during the illegal, reprehensible wars against Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Yemen…

John Jacob
John Jacob
1 year ago
Reply to  Samir Iker

Let’s not forget Bosnia

John Jacob
John Jacob
1 year ago
Reply to  Samir Iker

Let’s not forget Vietnam

Samir Iker
Samir Iker
1 year ago
Reply to  M. M.

“40% of Indians support the Russians’ committing atrocities against the Ukrainians.”
And this is a gem of a comment because it sums up so much.

First it’s not 40%, probably closer to 80% supporting Russia.
Not just in India, but the Middle East, China, large parts of Africa…even Mexico is “neutral” (perhaps because they know what would happen if they tried to do the equivalent of Ukraine)

Here is a clue
Bangladesh genocide
The setting up of terror camps in Pakistan
The overthrowing of Mossadegh in Iran
Likewise Allende in Chile
Likewise Lumamba
Just a small sample.

What was the role of the Western bloc countries shedding crocodile tears on “atrocities” in Ukraine, what was the impact on numerous innocent people in those places

You will find out why most of the world has utter contempt for your new found aversion for war.

Jerry Carroll
Jerry Carroll
1 year ago
Reply to  Samir Iker

Speaking for the world now? Time to go back on the medications to make the voices go away.

Joe Godzisewsky
Joe Godzisewsky
1 year ago
Reply to  Jerry Carroll

I think the USA of A is the most medicated country in the world. It certainly has the most deaths from overdoses of Fentanyl. You would think tough guys like you would stuff that crap down Chinese mouths, and the Mexicans who smuggle it into your country, But alas, your country is weak. 2 million illegal Immigrants last year, NICE. You’ll be Burritoville soon!

John Jacob
John Jacob
1 year ago
Reply to  Jerry Carroll

80% of the world did not condemn Russia or follow US sanctions. In a democracy of the world, the majority rules. So time for America to shut the f**k up!

Antony Altoft
Antony Altoft
1 year ago
Reply to  Jerry Carroll

To be fair Jerry, most of the world does NOT condemn Russia. Far from it.
If you only watch UK news you will have no idea of the position of most countries regarding this conflict. The UK and USA are outliers in the black and white narrative promulgated by their governments and most of their media.

Last edited 1 year ago by Antony Altoft
Richard Craven
Richard Craven
1 year ago
Reply to  Jerry Carroll

Thanks for dealing with the woke t**d.

Peter B
Peter B
1 year ago
Reply to  Samir Iker

Please give some hard evidence for your claim that 80% of Indians are supporting Russia against Ukraine. You seem very certain. How ?

Samir Iker
Samir Iker
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

There are no “polls”
But there is unanimous support for the Govt stance, pretty much any blog or discussion would be pro Russia, etc

And also, it’s not framed as supporting Russia versus Ukraine. It’s Russia against NATO.
The broad understanding is that Ukraine is just a naive tool who got manipulated into being the West’s proxy. The Ukranians are effectively Afghanistan V2, and the impact of war on them would be equally horrible, win or lose.

John Jacob
John Jacob
1 year ago
Reply to  M. M.

In fact, 80% of the world did not condemn Russia or follow US sanctions.

In a democracy of the world, the majority rules. So time for America to shut the f**k up!

Howard Gleave
Howard Gleave
1 year ago

Even without the benefit of the author’s experience, Putin’s imperialist intentions are clear. If a ceasefire is declared in Ukraine it will confer only a brief respite. Putin’s sights are set on the whole of Ukraine, Moldavia, the strip known as Transnistria, followed by the Baltics, then Poland. For starters.

Putin must fail. These ambitions, others would say fantasies, may be popular with Russians now, as was Hitler’s quest for Lebensraum in 1941 and 1942. But what made Nazi militaristic expansionism less popular over time was huge loss of life. The “cure” for Putin’s goal to reenslave whole swathes of eastern Europe can only be to ensure that Ukraine is supported to the hilt by NATO while reiterating that NATO covets not an inch of Russian territory, which happens to be the truth. Eastern Ukraine must then unfortunately become Russia’s Verdun, where its army is bled white, while subjecting Russia to an economic chokehold. If Ukraine loses access to the sea, Putin will institutionalise his stranglehold on the world’s grain supplies, causing starvation and mass migration. It must be prevented at all costs.

In short, Putin clearly poses a bigger threat than Hitler ever did, and must be faced down. The UK’s defence spending needs to double. As does most of the West’s (while acknowledging that Germany is unlikely ever to honour its NATO Article 5 commitments). And we need to recreate our tactical nuclear capability to enable a sub strategic nuclear response to any Russian use of “escalate to deescalate” nuclear weapons.

Ishaan Rai
Ishaan Rai
1 year ago
Reply to  Howard Gleave

Bigger threat than Hitler? What an absurd claim. By your logic, we should be sending troops into Ukraine right now to fight Russia, if it’s a bigger threat than Nazi Germany.

Jerry Carroll
Jerry Carroll
1 year ago
Reply to  Howard Gleave

As threats go, Putin is not nearly as great as Hitler was. Not even in the same league.

Iris C
Iris C
1 year ago
Reply to  Jerry Carroll

What made Hitler great?
The demoralisation of a proud nation forced to accept the Versailles Treaty in 1919..
The Russians are equally proud – and have every right to be so! They have led Europe in cultural achievements and have showed by their individual endurance and horrific hardships during the siege of St. Petersburg that they will not give in easily to countries which wish to humiliate them… .

N T
N T
1 year ago

It is so aggravating to watch history rhyme. Next up: the Pacific is going to get boiling. Who will overreact and take this whole show into the toilet, and how long will it be before that happens?

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
1 year ago
Reply to  N T

This certainly looks a lot like the late 1930’s.

Justin Clark
Justin Clark
1 year ago
Reply to  N T

Putin needs that in fact

George Knight
George Knight
1 year ago

Thank you for a great article. Something that is not often discussed is the wealth/power structure within Russia. My understanding is that the wealth, and the power that goes with it, of the country is tapped at the top by the Kremlin people as well as the Mafia. Both groups are both greedy and ruthless so they need a steady cash flow.
My hunch is that what is really behind this “special military operation” is an attempt to augment cash flow. Ukraine is rich in gas and minerals as well as agriculture. Just the type of income flows that are very tempting. This, for me, seems to tie in with the desperate need to seize the ports of Mariupol and Odessa to ensure materials get shipped around the world.
Empire and all that seems to be just a clever smoke screen to cover intent.

Colin Elliott
Colin Elliott
1 year ago
Reply to  George Knight

Both can be correct at the same time, indeed, reinforce one another.

George Knight
George Knight
1 year ago
Reply to  Colin Elliott

Quite possible, but the bulk of the oil and gas in Ukraine is under the sea around Crimea and in the Donbass region. I suspect that Putin is mainly driven by the ability to control this resource to sell to Europe via existing pipelines. This, of course, is now driving Europe to move away from this energy source as fast as possible.

Ibn Sina
Ibn Sina
1 year ago

This self-perception may well have led him to embrace Xi Jinping, the other self-perceived 21st-century Emperor. Isn’t he rather naive in this regard? Surely Xi will be planning when to invade north at some point. Now Putin has weakened the Russian army that is likely to be sooner rather than later.

Stephen Easton
Stephen Easton
1 year ago

So America with UK help has invaded, bombed or regime changed Iraq, Serbia, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria and so forth in the past couple of decades.
Circa 800k deaths caused according to Brown University research.
All of these countries were a long way away from us too and none of them posed an existential threat.
But we somehow think Putin is uniquely evil and wants to conquer everyone. Even though the US created the 2014 regime change in Ukraine and has clearly used it as a puppet state to hit Russia with.
The propaganda has clearly been working.
Unherd simply goes with the western herd. Why not publish articles by people such as MK Bhadrakumar, an Indian diplomat with a very interesting blog called Indian Punchline. Non western neutral perspectives really do not follow the western narrative either. Sheer hypocrisy.

Last edited 1 year ago by Stephen Easton
Simon S
Simon S
1 year ago
Reply to  Stephen Easton

Well said, I think Unherd is losing its nerve.

Cathy Carron
Cathy Carron
1 year ago
Reply to  Stephen Easton

There’s a case to be made that since these countries harbored terrorists, some of whom took down the World Trade buildings in NYC killing 3,000 was all the reason in the world to enter these countries.

Janos Boris
Janos Boris
1 year ago
Reply to  Stephen Easton

Such whataboutistic nonsense. Western action in some of those conflicts may have been wrong, ill-advised or even criminal, others not, but none was aimed at seizing territory from another country and annexing it. Correct me if I’m wrong but it appears to me as if in this moment Russian soldiers were on the attack in Ukrainian territory, pulverizing cities, murdering civilians, not the other way round. “Western narrative” ? You must be a Russian bot.

Ishaan Rai
Ishaan Rai
1 year ago
Reply to  Janos Boris

Ah, yes, I’m sure the Iraqis and Libyans who had their houses bombed can take comfort in the fact that America wasn’t there to seize territory, only to overthrow their governments and let their country be overrun by terrorists. That is a poor defense of Western actions.

Janos Boris
Janos Boris
1 year ago
Reply to  Ishaan Rai

I did not notice that I was “defending” anyone. I stated facts. Maybe it is time to learn to read.

Samir Iker
Samir Iker
1 year ago
Reply to  Janos Boris

“whataboutery”
Or, judge me based on what I say, not what I do

The amusing part of this “pulverizing cities, murdering civilians,” line is that Russia has actually been far more restrained than the Western block in all those countries they have attacked. Which is why Azov etc hide in the cities next to civilian populations.

Iris C
Iris C
1 year ago
Reply to  Janos Boris

They invaded sovereign countries in response to militant agitators, destroying the infrastructures and killing innocent citizens, most of whom just wanted to support their families and get on with their lives unimpeded..

John Jacob
John Jacob
1 year ago
Reply to  Janos Boris

They didn’t have to “seize the territory” to steal the oil from it.

They just sent in British Petroleum, Exxon, et al once Sadam was gone and paid themselves a tidy fee for pumping the oil out of soil, only giving fraction of the proceeds to the Iraqi people.

They went from getting zero revenue from that oil to getting more than 50% of the revenue from that oil.

Antony Altoft
Antony Altoft
1 year ago
Reply to  Stephen Easton

UnHerd publishes opinions of all types which is a very good thing. I totally disagree with this article but readers need to be able to access all opinions (and supporting evidence) to be able to form considered opinions of their own.
I sample TRT, CGTN, Deutsche Welle, RT, Indian, UK and US news sources amongst others (TRT is surprisingly good) and I have to say that most countries are much more ambivalent about the conflict than the UK portrays them to be. As an examply Turkey is signing agreements with Russia allowing it businesses to take the place of many Western companies that have recently pulled out. Meanwhile after Mexico grudgingly voting to condemn Russia’s action at the UN, it proceeded shortly therafter to host a friendship and co-operation meeting with Russia. As far as I can see, broadly, Latin America, Africa and a good part of Asia tacitly or openly supports Russia’s position or is at least ambivalent.
If I were to recommend a few links the following is a good start
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JrMiSQAGOS4
This one gives a (short and sweet) perspective that is rather different to the one UK audiences are used to:
https://odysee.com/@RTDocumentary:4/Azov_shellings:8

John Jacob
John Jacob
1 year ago
Reply to  Antony Altoft

Unherd also deletes comments that point out the bad parts of British/American histories ….

Screen shots have been taken.

They will now have to brush up on the brutality of their empires to save themselves from deleting truthful historical comments

Igor Stravinsky
Igor Stravinsky
1 year ago
Reply to  John Jacob

Infamy infamy, they’ve all got it infamy

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  John Jacob

Unfortunately all of your historically inaccurate nonsense is up for us all to see.

David U
David U
1 year ago

Putin’s plans and ambitions are hardly relevant when he doesn’t have the means to progress them. The Russian Army appears to only be effective within a few kilometres of their national borders. They don’t travel well in fact it appears they don’t travel at all. They are unable to win a short war and unprepared for a longer conflict. They will find it impossible to replace the men and equipment they have already lost so their situation will inevitably worsen. Putin’s delusions of grand strategy will beggar his country.

Colin Elliott
Colin Elliott
1 year ago
Reply to  David U

You are deducing too much from too little. Whatever his full plans are, he has probably already made Ukraine unviable. Secondly, he now sits on a part of Ukraine which he can repopulate with patriotic Russians, and exploit its fossil fuel and agricultural wealth. Granted, that a highly authoritarian Russia isn’t likely to become rich and innovative, but the USSR could hardly be called ineffective.
I have my doubts that Germany and France are in it for the long haul, so doubt that revenue for Russia will end, and who really controls the EU?
He must be disappointed in the performance of his armed forces, but there’s nothing to suppose they can’t be reformed.

Bill Ellson
Bill Ellson
1 year ago

‘Lloyd George knew my father, father knew Lloyd George.’
So, Harald has met lots of Russians -big deal. In reality anybody paying attention to Moscow realised years ago that Putin is an old fashioned imperialist.

Jerry Carroll
Jerry Carroll
1 year ago

Fortunately, Putin’s end is in sight and it is doubtful his ecstatic vision about a revival of Mother Russia is shared by the belly-crawling syncophants who surround him.

Last edited 1 year ago by Jerry Carroll
Colin Elliott
Colin Elliott
1 year ago
Reply to  Jerry Carroll

Does it matter what those sycophants think? There are probably many waiting to replace them.

John Riordan
John Riordan
1 year ago

Assuming the conclusion is correct, surely NATO and the West knows this too, and we’re not about to take Putin’s next moves at face value, are we?

We’ve allowed thousands of Ukrainians to die undefended by NATO because we didn’t want to start a direct conflict between nuclear-armed Russia and NATO. Putin’s plans, however, will make such conflict inevitable anyway, only from a point where Russia has consolidated its military position in eastern Ukraine and placed a stranglehold on agricultural and industrial exports from Ukraine through the Black Sea, making global consensus on economic sanctions even more difficult than they already are.

So is the West about to prove Macchiaveli’s maxim that war is not to be avoided, only deferred at one’s own expense?

Last edited 1 year ago by John Riordan
Peter B
Peter B
1 year ago

What a load of cretinous Kremlin apologists there are on here.
Sad.

Dominic A
Dominic A
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

Indeed. The intellectual nous of brother Jeremy, with the groundedness of brother Piers, and the narcissistic contrariness of both.

Derrick Hand
Derrick Hand
1 year ago

As an American who served, I am always surprised how gullible we Americans are. Fat, dumb and happy. Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan. Can we learn nothing? From 1776 on, despite the admonitions of our founders, we have leapfrogged across the globe, conquering or attempting to conquer one nation after another at the behest of the wealthy and powerful. We warred on the West, Mexico, Spain, Central America, Japan, China, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and on and on. No one has broken more treaties than we. Coming late to exhausted wars and declaring ourselves victors and saviors while our oligarchs try to pillage their resources. And our moral argument is that if it wasn’t us, it would be someone else. Russia, as well as every other nation has good cause to doubt and fear us. We gladly send our children and grandchildren off to die and are now testing the boundaries of nuclear war. Good luck with that plan. Enjoy your pizza and TV shows or go to the Vietnam War Memorial and look at the name of those who died for nothing. FOR NOTHING!

Henry Cunha
Henry Cunha
1 year ago

Probably nothing wrong with the analysis, or the conclusion. The problem for Putin in reaching his objectives are (1)the relative weakness of today’s Russia relative to Russia in 18th century, (2) the strength of an integrated Europe, and (3) the level of opposition from both Ukraine and a unified Europe. Unless he uses nuclear weapons, which, of course, won’t give him the results he wants.
But whatever his expressed long-range planning, he should have noticed the steady, decade-long decay of his ambition: all of eastern Europe joined the EU and NATO. They bought plenty of insurance to thwart his objectives. It happened under his tenure.
There was another way for Putin to regain influence in Europe, of course, but it involved nurturing a level of trust with the EU so high as to disarm the relevance of NATO. He had allies in Europe to attempt that, especially Germany, but also France.
But that would mean accepting a lesser “status” for Russia, insofar as the EU, along with China and US, would be considered the frontline peers. But that kind of realism, or true strategic introspection might have been too much to ask from someone who grew up with Mr Putin’s mind set.

Colin Elliott
Colin Elliott
1 year ago
Reply to  Henry Cunha

Are you not overlooking his control over fossil fuels, food and fertiliser? Putin has clearly been considering their use for strategic objectives for a long time, and been successful.

Antony Altoft
Antony Altoft
1 year ago

The author is rewriting and interpreting history to fit his own beliefs and attitudes.
As one example he writes that Putin “published a new doctrine of nuclear threats, known as “Escalate to Deescalate”. The public airing of this doctrine was meant to show that he was seriously considering selective use of nuclear weapons not only inside Ukraine but in future conflicts with Baltic Sea neighbours“. This is utterly misleading to the point of dishonesty.
See here:
https://www.russiamatters.org/analysis/escalate-deescalate-part-russias-nuclear-toolbox
and here:
https://globalsecurityreview.com/nuclear-de-escalation-russias-deterrence-strategy/

Dominic A
Dominic A
1 year ago
Reply to  Antony Altoft

From your first source:

“In the end, although the phrase “escalate to deescalate” is not used in openly published Russian doctrine, the Russian professional articles above and others make clear that using nuclear weapons to deescalate a conflict is most definitely part of Russia’s nuclear toolbox. We are less sure, however, whether Russia’s understanding of “escalate to deescalate” includes preemptive or preventive nuclear strikes. Patrushev suggested yes; Putin suggested no. The reader must decide. ”

From your second:

“Today, the concept of “nuclear de-escalation” continues to be in play, presenting a significant challenge to western military strategists. If Russia were to mount a successful invasion of the Baltic states, it is likely that Russia would consider these countries to be sovereign Russian territory, meaning that any conventional NATO military operation designed to restore the independence of the NATO members would likely be met with a limited nuclear strike. ”

and it is Malmgren who is “is utterly misleading to the point of dishonesty”…..I think it may be you.

Antony Altoft
Antony Altoft
1 year ago
Reply to  Dominic A

I assume you read the articles. If so you have deliberately selected a couple of paragraphs that could be used to mislead much like the author.

From the first article:
Putin’s own comments on the topic came during the October 2018 meeting of the Valdai Club, an annual international gathering of academics, journalists and policymakers: “In our concept of nuclear weapons use there is no preemptive strike… Our concept is a retaliatory-offensive strike [otvetno-vstrechny udar]. For those who know, it’s not necessary to say what that is; for those who don’t know, I’ll say again: This means we are prepared to, and will use, nuclear weapons only when we are convinced that someone, a potential aggressor, is attacking Russia, our territory.”

From the second article:
In 2000, Russia released an updated military doctrine in which it outlined the concept of de-escalation through a limited nuclear strike. This idea put forth the notion that if Russia were subjected to a major non-nuclear assault that exceeded its capacity for conventional defense, it would “de-escalate” the conflict by launching a limited—or tactical—nuclear strike”.

This does not tally with the author’s claim that “The public airing of this doctrine was meant to show that he was seriously considering selective use of nuclear weapons not only inside Ukraine but in future conflicts with Baltic Sea neighbours”.
Others can read the articles for themselves and form their own opinions. Regardless, the author seems to be “rethinking (re-remembering?) his conversations with Putin” rather differently than he did in January when he posted another article here (his claims are now more extreme). I wonder how much further he will move after he’s had another few months to “rethink” his conversations.

Last edited 1 year ago by Antony Altoft
Dominic A
Dominic A
1 year ago
Reply to  Antony Altoft

Sorry; I should have cherry-picked a couple of quotes, rather than the conclusions. Though your picks are more dangleberry than cherry.

Elena Rodríguez
Elena Rodríguez
1 year ago

I was wondering if anyone could answer a few questions I have about this war. I read a lot about what Putin wants but not a great deal about what Russians want.
In the 1930s, I imagine most Germans would have said that they wanted the end to the harsh terms of the Treaty of Versailles. Hitler also wanted this. However, Hitler wanted other things too – terrible things – and when the reasonable wishes of the German people were ignored, then it was easy for Hitler to build up support.
This article is written by a writer who has been very much at the centre of American global dominance over the past fifty-odd years. This global dominance has annoyed a great many parts of the world. This new form of colonialism that the Americans have forced on the world by way of their bombs and their control of communications technologies, has been as destructive, if not more so, than earlier global empires.
I can’t help wondering if instead of focusing totally on Putin’s supposed desires, it might be more helpful to have articles on what people not in power in Russia would like to see in terms of the way the world functions. If EU and NATO expansion worry Russians in general, then wouldn’t it be reasonable for western governments to say those things will be put on hold for a while, whilst the world listens deeply to Russian people’s concerns? If the victors of WWI had acknowledged the problems with the Treaty of Versailles early on, and had accepted the conditions imposed on the Germans had been deeply unfair, perhaps WWII would never have happened.
I don’t understand this war, so these are just thoughts of mine that might be misguided – being ignorant of that part of the world, I can’t tell if these thoughts are reasonable or not without the help of others who know more than me.

Igor Stravinsky
Igor Stravinsky
1 year ago

in a country where any expression of personal views not in line with state media is suppressed , this can perhaps only be guessed at

Elena Rodríguez
Elena Rodríguez
1 year ago

Yes – but that is normal in negotiations – to guess what the other side wants. What do you guess the average Russian wants?

Igor Stravinsky
Igor Stravinsky
1 year ago

A really insightful analysis and a warning to us all.
The danger is that the last 3 months have shown that, despite the Billions the Would-be-Peter lavished on his armed forces they remain a shambles with a lot of outdated ineffective equipment and , above all, appalling morale and an utter lack or modern doctrine and leadership. Yes there are some “gems” in the middle of the mess but they are not fit to fight a modern war
Faced with that he may well move to Escalate to Deescalate , especially if the cancer rumours are true and he is aman with a mission whose time is running out
,

Christopher Barclay
Christopher Barclay
1 year ago

Given reports of poor health, it is unlikely that Putin will again wait 8 years before making his next move.

tourette Mitsyndrome
tourette Mitsyndrome
1 year ago

Exactly because this man is the sole – or better mayor – problem it is wrong to rebuild the world with a lot of deaths and money, only to cure the symptoms which this man causes. One has to focus on this man directly. International warrant based on the worldlaw principle. Then to convince the oligarchs to put each of them minimum 1 billion USD on stake for capturing him and bringing him to court. These who cooperate will be set free from sanctions. The effect will be, that the man – who is already very mistrusty – will be even more afraid. He will even more hide because he thinks like a KGB man. And he knows that for so much money he cannot be sure anymore of anybody. When finally he seperates himself completely his reign of fear will break down and sb. else can take over. This sb. else will not be better, but the war will be stopped and this sb. else will also not start a new war. This sb. else has then too much to do to politically survive in the post P aera. We all know that even Rusians did not believe in the starting of this war, because everybody realised that it was not in the interest of RUS to start it.

David Redfern
David Redfern
1 year ago

Over the past three months, I have spent many long evenings rethinking my conversations with Putin, seven years before he became President of the new Republic of Russia.
In other words, 1995?
The mobile phone of the day was the Nokia 9000. No, I can’t remember it either.
It wasn’t until 2007 that the iPhone rocked up.
But Putin hasn’t changed his views one iota in nearly 30 years according to this commentator.

Rex Pagan
Rex Pagan
1 year ago

Good article. It deserved to have been read by someone who evinces more than a superficial understanding of what he is reading.

M. Gatt
M. Gatt
1 year ago

This ColdWarrior view of Putin is why the West is in a war with Russia. Go away you silly old fool.

Dominic A
Dominic A
1 year ago
Reply to  M. Gatt

Or – Putin’s cold war warrior view is why he is at war with the West. Go away you gaslighting silly old fool.

Leslie Cook
Leslie Cook
1 year ago

Utter MSM/state directed nonsense. Even the NYT is questioning our unquestioning vilification of Putin. Author’s speculation on Putin’s motives is just that. The history of our continued provocations in that region and the “not one inch closer” NATO line are intentionally left out in this one sided opinion piece. Clearly, the west does not want peace for some hidden reason. Putin’s demands are simple and within reach. No more NATO expansion. Stop the state sponsored clandestine military fuckery going on in his backyard. UnHerd should do better, thus the name.

Colin Elliott
Colin Elliott
1 year ago
Reply to  Leslie Cook

I know it’s becoming a little hackneyed, but could it have not been said that Hitler’s demands were simple and within reach? The trouble is that we can’t read his mind, so are entitled to suspect that if he gets what he reaches for, he may then reach again, and perhaps more vigorously.
The other thing to bear in mind is the contrast between our side, and his side. The giveaway is that our leaders are guided by their electorates, otherwise they wouldn’t come to power only to lose it a short time later. In contrast, ‘he’ has been in power for many years, and with no way of losing it unless he’s deposed, assassinated, or commits suicide in a bunker, still dreaming of vengeance weapons.

Last edited 1 year ago by Colin Elliott
Andries Termote
Andries Termote
1 year ago

This is age old russophobia, it goes back a thousand years at least to the great schism of the Eastern and Western church. Ever since the Russians with some small intermezzos (time of Lincoln) are considered barbarian, expansionist and despotic. It is akin to islamophobia, antisemitism. But the latter two are not politically correct in academia, global institutions.Russophobia is simply standard now in every mainstream progressive or conservative outlet, most social media.
The writer has not the faintest idea that the Ukrainian army used its massive military budgets (NATO sponsored) bo build huge fortified lines in the east next to the break-away regions. What was that for? It was the basis from which to overwhelm by huge military force the breakaway regions. That attack was predicted around end of February or March. The Russian special operation simply forestalled it. Responsibility to Protect in fact for the ethnic Russian regions Luhansk and Donetsk which they recognised shortly before. But in the west RtP only applies to the Kosovars (1999). They were able to secede from their country Serbia and NATO even protected them against possible genocide during a 78 days’ air war.
This is all double standard!
Now the Ukrainian forces themselves are being crushed in their fortresses there by incessant artillery fire. NATO gave them very bad advice to try to smash the breakaway regions by a massive attack. Now they are themselves stuck in the east.

Last edited 1 year ago by Andries Termote
John Riordan
John Riordan
1 year ago

“Breakaway regions” is the term you’re using to describe the parts of Ukraine that Russia took by force in 2014, I take it?

And you’re using “russophobia” to describe any opinion which supports Ukraine in responding to the threat which the 2014 invasion represents, are you?

Last edited 1 year ago by John Riordan
John Jacob
John Jacob
1 year ago

Look at all the “putin want empire back” sheeple zombies cheerleading the authors western media rubber-stamped overly simplistic view on Putin’s motivations.

Listen idiots, China, India, Africa, and most of South America did not condemn Putin, nor sanction him. You are not “the world” America, even if your sports finals are named “world championships”.

The real world doesn’t trust America, which is just a dressed-down version (baseball caps and baggy jeans) of the 500-year-old Judeo-Christian, Anglo-Saxon empire that was responsible for:

–       Genocide of 40+ million native north and south Americans
–       Genocide and enslavement of 100+ million Indians
–       Genocide and enslavement of 40+ million Africans
–       Genocide and enslavement of 20+ million Asians

Yea, yea, yea … I know …. YOU’VE ALL CHANGED … YOU DON’T WANT EMPIRES ANYMORE, NOR ENSLAVEMENT, NOR GENOCIDE.

But then you went ahead and did the following:

–       Committed genocide on the Palestinians starting 1940s
–       Resisted Ghandi’s attempts to free his people in 1950s
–       Illegally invaded Iraq
–       Illegally over-threw Allende
–       Covertly over-threw most Latin American governments in 70s
–       Covertly supported genocidal dictators in Africa during 80s for diamonds
–       Basically caused the death and relocation of 20+ million middle easterners over the last 20 years for oil, and to provide Israel “security”.

The real leaders of China and India know all of this; they will not be so easily brain-washed like most of the mindless zombies who commented on this article.

In ten years, China and India will be bigger than the USA on all metrics. It will represent the greatest – and MOST PEACEFUL – rise of economic and military power in the history man.

But don’t worry imperial Christian zombies, we won’t go out and genocide and enslave you because we are Buddhist, and Buddhist respect life. We don’t even kill insects when they come into our temples.

Last edited 1 year ago by John Jacob
John Riordan
John Riordan
1 year ago
Reply to  John Jacob

What a pile of utter shite.

John Jacob
John Jacob
1 year ago
Reply to  John Riordan

Yes, I agree. The judeo-christian empire was the largest wholesale devastation of human life and civilization in the history of man.

Indeed, a huge pile of utter shit!

Glad you agree.

John Riordan
John Riordan
1 year ago
Reply to  John Jacob

Deliberate misinterpretation for rhetorical effect is supposed to reveal holes in the opposing argument, not to make yourself look as if you struggle to understand plain English.

John Jacob
John Jacob
1 year ago
Reply to  John Riordan

Hey John …

Where are all the native Americans in north and south America? If you didn’t genocide them, where did they go? Please tell me!

Also, how did all those Africans get to America? Did they come before Christoph Columbus? Please tell me. How did they get there, John?

What is agent orange, John? Do you think it’s use was a violation of human rights? Yes or no, John?

Why did Ghandi spend years in prison, John? Did the British have anything to do with his wrongful imprisonment, John?

Instead of just calling all of your imperial acts “shite”, why don’t come up with some counter-points?

Where were the weapons of mass destructions in Iraq, John? Did you find those?

How many Iraqi’s were on the planes in the 911, John? Please tell me what connections to Iraq, 911 had? I’m waiting Mr. Smart Ass.

Problem is you can’t answer those questions because everyone in the world who isn’t a zombie like you knows that America and British STILL TO THIS DAY ….
lie, cheat, and steal …

Shit, just do a google search for ” mike pompeo lie cheat and steal “. he admits it right on camera.

Pompeo is an evangelical christian ….

MIC DROP

Dominic A
Dominic A
1 year ago
Reply to  John Riordan

Indeed – a rebel without a clue. Cringeworthy.

John Jacob
John Jacob
1 year ago

I don’t think a ceasefire will be announced until most territory south-east of the Dnieper is fully secured.

The Russians are currently winning. After initial adjustments to their strategy they are now dismantling Ukraine’s rag tag army of computer programmers turned ramboes.

Winter is coming, and this is where the Russian army has historically thrived. Most of Ukraine’s army isn’t prepared to fight their guerrilla style warfare in the freezing temperatures. They won’t be able to sleep in the trenches or in the forests come winter. They will need to sleep in heated homes in villages which will make them easy targets for artillery, and create holes in their defensive lines.

With the Donbas secured by the end of the summer, there will be northern, eastern, and southern supply routes to Russian forces across the south-east. Local Donbassian’s will gladly let Russian soldiers warm their liberating toes inside their homes, sharing vodka toasts of “nostrovia”.

Russia has the most to lose by losing this war, and so “letting up” for a “ceasefire” doesn’t make any sense when you have the enemy on the run; especially as winter roles around and you can further dominate the theater of war.

In the long run, the US is just waiting for Russia to over-extend themselves; get comfortable with their new territory east of the Dnieper. And then BAM! False flag attack on NATO country by Russia! (likely in the form of a small tactical nuke) NATO and US will conduct quick, massive, historic airstrikes on all the new territory taken by Russia. Russia will suffer huge loses, casualties, and turn to run … but they will be trapped.

From here, a full scale invasion of Russia will commence. At least that’s how the US wants this to play out.

Last edited 1 year ago by John Jacob
Dominic A
Dominic A
1 year ago
Reply to  John Jacob

Another double-standard: Putin’s laughing at the West’s culture war snowflakery, whilst he simultaneously grinds and greets about ‘Russophobia’.

Or his claims to be a great patriot and leader, whilst running down his country into a kleptocratic pariah state.

Leslie Cook
Leslie Cook
1 year ago
Reply to  John Jacob

Hope you are wrong because that false flag strategy on a NATO country would do the trick and get us into a hot war with none to benefit but MI complex and their political lackeys.

Andrew Langridge
Andrew Langridge
1 year ago

In the West we have so many serious and difficult problems to deal from the fallout of Covid to social and economic problems that are literally life-threatening to some of our citizens. So, why we are obsessing so much about freeing non-NATO countries from Russian influence; countries who were part of the Soviet empire less than 35 years ago? Harsh as it may sound, these countries are not our responsibility. We have no right to attempt to control who rules who, and recent past attempts at that eg. in Libya, Iraq and Afghanistan have been unmitigated failures with huge costs in lives and money. Some might call this appeasement, but I see it more in terms of charity beginning at home. As in the Cold War, we should rely on our nuclear deterrents to prevent megalomaniac Putin from encroaching on the West, and beyond that it is in our interests to have stability, not war in the East. The sooner this is over the better for all of us.

Last edited 1 year ago by Andrew Langridge
Mel Shaw
Mel Shaw
1 year ago

As a matter of interest, where does the West start for you? Are the Baltic states East, or West? How about Poland, Hungary, the Czech and Slovak Republics, Romania and Bulgaria? Where would you be prepared to draw the line?

Andrew Langridge
Andrew Langridge
1 year ago
Reply to  Mel Shaw

The distinction is between NATO and non-NATO countries. NATO is the foundation of defence and the sphere of our military responsibility. We cannot be the world’s policeman.

Last edited 1 year ago by Andrew Langridge
Mel Shaw
Mel Shaw
1 year ago

The Baltics and the others made a good choice in joining NATO, then, but Sweden and Finland might be fair game until their applications are agreed.

Peter B
Peter B
1 year ago
Reply to  Mel Shaw

Quite. Andrew Langridge’s nonsensical position denies the right of countries to self-determination and to make their own choices. Anyone unlucky to have been in the Soviet Union (all against their will) until 1989 would then be condemned to remaining in Russia’s “sphere of influence” in perpetuity.
It’s nonsense. But dangerous nonsense.

Andrew Langridge
Andrew Langridge
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

Hopelessly idealistic. There are plenty of countries in the world who don’t have full self-determination eg. Tibet, Hong Kong, Georgia, Belarus. The USA has treated central America like its own back yard for years. There is a war in Yemen which has been just as deadly as Ukraine. We don’t do anything about any of these, nor can we really.

Last edited 1 year ago by Andrew Langridge
Peter B
Peter B
1 year ago

Utter rubbish. Not what I said at all.
I notice you did not answer my points. Funny that.
Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, etc are all quite correct to join NATO. They know precisely what it means to live under Russian domination. They’re doing way better now they’re free. Check the facts.

Andrew Langridge
Andrew Langridge
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

Oh dear. My argument is simply that non-NATO countries cannot rely on NATO’s support, and we should not be spending so much time and effort supporting them. Why’s that so difficult to understand? I haven’t said that the Baltics (and now Sweden and Finland) should not have joined NATO, and they will be protected by NATO article 5.

Last edited 1 year ago by Andrew Langridge
Howard Gleave
Howard Gleave
1 year ago

If we lack the will to prevent free peoples being enslaved by revanchist, ultra nationalists like Putin, who could with considerable historical analogy be dubbed a Nazi, then the threat of nuclear weapons by the West would be seen for what it was; a bluff without a shred of credibility.

Szymon Sarna
Szymon Sarna
1 year ago

The main difference between war in Ukraine and Libya, Iraq and Afghanistan is that Ukraine actually asks for help, whereas in the latter countries US was seen as the invader. Additionally, you should see this help (arms, money etc.) as a preventive action for the Russia actually going further into Europe and invading NATO countries, which would require US (among the other NATO partners) to fight.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
1 year ago

Although I can understand this point of view, and think Ukraine is not worth WWIII, I’m reminded of the same attitude in the U.S. during the late 1930’s when Hitler was just getting started. Many in the U.S. called it a European problem, and not our business. Thank heaven that opinion changed, otherwise all of Europe might be speaking German today, including Great Britain, as their military capabilities had fallen behind significantly that of Germany’s. And then Germany would have had access to Canada too.
However, I don’t believe the United States has the will to fight for anything anymore, certainly not with our current senile, clown puppet in office, which is why Putin is acting at this point in time.

Last edited 1 year ago by Warren Trees
Colin Elliott
Colin Elliott
1 year ago

I can think of two reasons. The first is simple justice. OK, that often doesn’t figure much in international affairs, but it has done in the past, e.g. Belgium 1914 and Poland 1939.
The second is simple self-interest. I don’t intend to argue over Afghanistan etc, which I could, but justifying strategy by mentioning other countries doesn’t count as an argument, as one could mention countries where it does support action, e.g. USA support of Britain in 1941.

John Jacob