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Column 13:27 22 Sep 2022

Burial operation, or beating one's own: what to expect after putin's speech and what not to fear

What is the problem?

russia continues to go crazy

On September 19-20, russia's condition began to shift incomprehensibly, which aroused lively interest. Initially, the occupying "administrations" in the Luhansk, Donetsk, Zaporizhzhia, and Kherson regions of Ukraine almost simultaneously decided to hold "referendums" on joining russia and basically announced their results. Then a draft amendment to russia's Criminal Code was submitted to the russian parliament, and an hour and a half later, it was adopted in all three readings. From now on, russia's central criminal document contains a reference to "mobilization" and "martial law." Also, it establishes responsibility for desertion, voluntary surrender, and other actions of military personnel during military conflict. Finally, on Tuesday evening, a rumor spread about the planned address of putin and defense minister shoigu to the russian people; national media even made a corresponding announcement. The resonance reached its peak after the news and went beyond the borders of the russian federation, but it ended in nothing. It's difficult to say whether it was a false start, a planned informational injection, or whether putin didn't like the mood of his audience, which was in nervous anticipation, but the address was postponed.

Операція-могилізація, або бий своїх: чого варто чекати після виступу путіна і чого не варто боятися

On September 21, all rumors acquired the status of official information. During his address, the russian president:

  • "for the protection of the motherland" and "an adequate response to other threats" supported "the decision of the Ministry of Defense and the General Staff" to carry out partial mobilization;
  • to stop those who "seek world domination," he forbade threatening russia with nuclear weapons and threatened them himself; well, he instructed to increase the production of firearms;
  • ordered to ensure the security of "referendums" on the "historic lands of Novorossiya" in the Donetsk, Zaporizhzhia, Luhansk, and Kherson regions of Ukraine.

мобілізація росія

"Soldiers! Our tsar has been shown a fig. We will die to the last!" is a quote from the cartoon "In some kingdom," or, as they would say today, "somewhere in russia."

The defense minister accepted the baton from his leader. putin, who likes to demonstrate his knowledge of all state affairs and social life and the animal world without exception (he is accompanied by cranes in a whirlwind forever in the historical chronicle), especially allowed shoigu to confirm his status as a funny general, to eventually blow the whistle on him. The dishonorable son of the Tuva Republic declared that russia is "fighting a collective West," stressed that Ukraine allegedly lost half of the army and all weapons and Ukraine's armed forces' combat capability had been entirely dependent on supplies from abroad and voiced the russian army's losses (5937 servicemen) in the war and the need to mobilize 300,000. Everything is logical. For a person disfigured by russian propaganda, it is possible.

He also said that 90% of the wounded returned to the ranks, finally launching an avalanche of angry comments and messages on Telegram channels and social media. It is generally accepted that the number of the injured is three times more than the killed: 6k+18k-16k (who returned to battle) is equal to 8 thousand irreversible losses of the russian army. The target audience doesn't understand these mathematical calculations: how 8 thousand lost soldiers were transformed into 300 thousand in demand. Pro-Kremlin bloggers immediately began to twist their ways, saying that what was announced only applies to the Ministry of Defense and does not consider the losses of the russian guard, the Wagner group, L/DNR, "volunteers," Cossacks, and the FSB. After this justification, there were even more questions because it made the "liberals' fictions" about the defeat of entire divisions believable. Society, which had always liked official information, was faced with a hard choice: to continue to believe television or read obituaries more carefully. russians have always gotten along well with their cognitive dissonance—they chose what was more comfortable to believe. However, the emergence of the war outside the frame of television can significantly change the degree of public sentiment.

russians continue to be russians

росіяни продовжують… бути росіянами

Even before noon, information appeared about the Russian Railway and Aeroflot ceasing to sell tickets to men aged 18-65 without the permission of the military commissariat to travel within the country and travel abroad. Later, similar reports were denied, and it turned out that all available tickets to Istanbul and Yerevan for flights on September 21 were sold out literally in a matter of minutes, and to Minsk in an hour after the end of Putin's speech. In general, the russian people perceiving the idea of ​​protecting the homeland in foreign lands can also be assessed by other maneuvers of the profoundly thoughtful people:

  • Hysterical public demand "let the deputies and their children fight!" crashed into regulatory realities—deputies of the State Duma and representative bodies of the subjects of the federation and municipal entities have a legal right to deferment from the draft;
  • Regarding children, it is even easier. A prank call to putin's spokesperson Dmitriy Peskov's son, allegedly from the Military Commissariat with an offer to appear for a medical examination, demonstrated the readiness of the relatives of the top to "protect the family," but only after solving this issue at another level. The mention of Nikolai Peskov is not accidental; he is already a meme as an ideal mobilized person since he served in the russian army and served his sentence in an English prison. However, the probability of such a contingent appearing among the mobilized is negligible;
  • The phrases "how to leave for Kyrgyzstan (Yerevan, Turkey)," "how to break an arm," and "how to get a postponement" have held the popularity of user searches.
  • On social media and messengers, channels, and online groups with information about the places where draft notices are distributed quickly appeared and are rapidly gaining popularity to be able to avoid the conscription;
  • Huge queues of cars and pedestrians were noticed at checkpoints on the russian border with Finland, Georgia, and Kazakhstan.

The russian opposition movement Vesna announced a nationwide campaign against mobilization and called on russians to take to the streets of their cities. Navalny's team declared its support (informational, legal, coordination) for rallies, evasion of mobilization, and readiness to deal with "bigger things." Instead, the authorities summoned their watchdogs out of alarm—special police regiments were ready to disperse the rallies. And the protests started: more than 1,400 people were detained in 38 cities, and more than 1,000 were in Moscow and St. Petersburg.

The OVD-INFO media project says that the anti-war protest in russia hasn't stopped since the beginning of the war and has counted 16,000 arrests in these seven months. Perhaps for a police state, it is the peak representation of popular discontent. But we can simply recall how unarmed residents of russia-occupied Kherson protested against the occupiers for a month. Except for one exciting characteristic (the population of the central and western regions was to be mobilized, and citizens protested, as a rule, from the East and both capitals), the actions took place traditionally. The russians did not resist arrest. Instead of helping their neighbor, they videotaped or watched, shouting "No war," but putin was not called out even in shouts (the Moscow residents, however, sent him to the trenches, but it is not the same thing).

The situation, in general, turned out to be an exciting mix of an operational and rather lively escape from the totalitarian reality abroad and sluggish defiance of the regime. It is the best assessment of the actual effectiveness of the Kremlin's information policy. russian propaganda allowed the self-shooting to play down the possibility of sudden death at the front, exaggerating the strength of its military and abusing threats from the whole of NATO. Even the most ardent patriots, imperialists, and ideological supporters of military operations cannot fail to notice the striking discrepancy between propagandist Konashenkov's bravado reports and Solovyov's optimistic rhetoric and Shoigu's mobilization requests. This alone is enough to germinate the seeds of fear in society, which was spoon-fed for seven months with promises of an easy walk and rail exploits of Kadyrov's Tik-Tok squads.

Military censorship didn't convey to the public the reality of the war campaign, the crowd was in the grip of illusions about the strength of its army, so awareness of all the problems would be a significant sobering factor. In addition, the traditional belligerence of the russians is usually manifested against a known weaker opponent, and they are not willing to fight against an equal or stronger one, no matter how much they promise to go "to Berlin." The attempt of the pro-Kremlin Telegram channel Readovka to pass off another propagandist (from Russia Today) as an ordinary Moscow volunteer who decided not to "stay away" but issued a badge with a logo was a symbolic recognition of the complete disconnection of propaganda from life.

Despite everything, russian society has fallen into an elaborate trap. At a meeting of the russian Security Council on the eve of a full-scale invasion, putin forced Naryshkin and company to publicly approve the recognition of the independence of the "L/DNR" to bind his henchmen with chains of circular surety. Now all russians find themselves in the shackles of collective responsibility. Officially.

putin's decree doesn't define the categories of persons subject to mobilization, so it will automatically apply to all men of conscription age. Geographical boundaries are not defined. It means drafting will occur throughout the country. The seventh paragraph of the decree, which is hidden by the word "for official use," can contain anything, but Peskov reports the expected number of mobilized. If so, then shoigu leaked official information. If not, then the announced 300,000 are not recorded anywhere. One way or another, they will take all they can without worrying about the need to keep within the limits of a certain number. In conditions of evasion, the principle "the less mobilized, the more mobilized" will work.

The list of reasons for the dismissal of service members from the ranks of the russian army looks interesting: age, state of health, and a court sentence on deprivation of liberty. Numerous interviews with russian prisoners of war and the fact that there's no upper age limit for signing a contract demonstrate that russians have no chance of avoiding army hospitality. Soldiers will take care of the old and infirm, and Wagner Group chief Prigozhin will come to pick up the prisoners. Children are not being recruited yet, but the activity of juvenile officials and the "youth army" training are ready to correct this misunderstanding.

What is the solution?

What does partial mobilization in russia mean for Ukraine?

Операція-могилізація, або бий своїх: чого варто чекати після виступу путіна і чого не варто боятися

When the initial passions have subsided a little, it is worth looking at the situation soberly. Nothing fundamentally new has happened for Ukraine. The war has already passed its half-year mark and will continue. "Referendums" are not worth a penny and words; it is Ukrainian land, no matter what putin thinks about it. Mobilization in russia continues with truths and lies. Even the updated and expanded cannon fodder ranks of the russian army don't increase the danger for Ukraine to a catastrophic level. Recruits need weapons, equipment, and training, which will take time and a lot of resources. If russia does not plan to use all "300,000" as infantry, it must provide them with proper military equipment, which requires even more time and resources. Realizing these ideas involves the mobilization of the economy and its shift to military lines, which cannot be done without martial law, without which mobilization is also incomplete.

Objectively, russia has not yet done (and will not do) two things: it has not declared war on Ukraine, and it has not struck with weapons of mass destruction. shoigu says that the nuclear triad is ready to perform tasks, and putin says that he is prepared to set these tasks. Still, the prisoners of war include representatives of strategic missile forces who should be in the rear, protect their nuclear deterrent missile, and not sit in the trenches near Kherson. Is the deranged leader of the profound people capable of giving an order that is disastrous for the whole world? Yes. Is it worth spending time discussing irrational motivations? No. Ukraine cannot influence this, and those who can, monitor the situation non-stop.

With the change in the format of hostilities, it is even easier—the expansion of the "special military operation" will mean a declaration of war not against Ukraine but russian society. First, criminal prosecution for refusing to fight was legalized, and then mobilization was announced. The Kremlin is well aware of Pandora's box it has opened, so these measures should be perceived as more anti-russian than anti-Ukrainian. The regime switches to an active struggle for its survival. The main task of mobilization is to dispose of potential insurgents.

Another comparison is suggested to spite the day. Iran is in a pre-revolutionary situation, with mass riots due to the murder of one person. Instead, more than 50,000 russians have already died in Ukraine, and the russian rebellion is still "meaningful and merciful." They will humbly go to slaughter to mix their blood with the blood of Ukrainians for putin's pleasure. He defeated them a long time ago, and he won't be able to defeat us.

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