I read one South African (a German living in SA), who supports Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, ignorantly claim that ‘Paper Bear‘ Putin is a “hands-off” military leader of this War he started. Nothing could be further from the facts. That’s akin to saying that Adolf Hitler & Joseph Stalin were “hands-off” military leaders. Totalitarians like Putin, Hitler & Stalin have their hands on ‘n in everything, and their Generals know/knew it.
Books will be written on ‘Paper Bear‘ Putin’s disastrous mistakes after mistakes leading up to his invasion of Ukraine, during the failed invasion, and post-invasion; however, I want to do a brief blog post on the early ‘n often ‘Musical Chairs‘ of Putin’s Generals, and the incredible amount of ‘Infighting‘ amongst an assorted array of Kremlin officials, Ministry of Defence (MoD), milbloggers, state broadcasters, Wagner Group & Chechen forces (those last two are Neo-Nazi private military companies operating beyond Russia law that states private military contractors are illegal there).
‘Musical Chairs‘ of Generals
Ukraine had killed many of Russia’s experienced mid-level commanders (Generals & Colonels) and low-level leaders (Majors, Captains, Lieutenants, & NCOs) early last year, which has added to the poor leadership that has been witnessed during Russia’s unprovoked invasion.
It was obvious after Day 2 of the Russian invasion that the Russian Military had been overrated as a modern military force. They were unable to gain air superiority or communication between various branches of the military. Their equipment was even shoddy, right down to the soldiers’ military & first aid kits.
By Week 2 ‘Paper Bear‘ Putin was asking for answers, since he had actually believed his *OWN* propaganda. ‘Why hasn’t Kiev surrendered yet?‘ ‘Why is Volodymyr Zelenskyy not only alive, but he is rallying his countrymen *AND* many Nations behind him?!?‘
When the Russian leader starts asking questions as to why ‘Something‘ hasn’t been done, then you start witnessing scenes as if they were from the ‘Enemy at the Gates‘ movie.
Putin ain’t Stalin, but he seeks to emulate him. 👉Finger-pointing👈 started and rapidly made its way down to the actual frontline commanders, and those mid-level commanders & low-level leaders had to either start getting out in front of their troops to lead them – OR – shoot themselves. Ukrainian snipers like ‘Lady Death‘ quickly thinned out the Russian frontline leadership.
Enter Gen. Valery V. Gerasimov, again – To Fix Its Problems in Ukraine, Russia Turns to the Architect of the War:
Gen. Valery V. Gerasimov, the architect of President Vladimir V. Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, took over the day-to-day running of Russia’s war effort this month by convincing his boss that his predecessor was too passive…
But General Gerasimov’s turbocharged strategy is what led to Russia’s problems to begin with, and Moscow still does not have the troops, ammunition or equipment that military officials say it needs to mass the big offensive promised by the country’s senior military leader.
In Washington, where military and defense officials walk the halls of the Pentagon with lists of the steadily growing number of Russian generals who have been fired or demoted during 11 months of war (nine so far), the latest installment of who’s in charge is viewed as part of a drama with an ever-evolving cast of characters who have not gotten the job done.
Now on his third overall war commander, Mr. Putin has accomplished few of his goals. Russian troops have failed to seize Kyiv, the capital; President Volodymyr Zelensky is still in power; Ukraine has closer ties to the West than ever; and despite signs of some cracks, NATO remains united.
For 10 years, General Gerasimov was believed to be working to modernize the Russian armed forces as the chief of general staff for the military — the equivalent of the U.S. chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
But evidence of that effort has yet to emerge on the Ukrainian battlefield.
General Gerasimov himself almost fell victim to his military’s poor planning when, in late April, he narrowly escaped being killed in a Ukrainian strike when he visited troops. Dozens of Russians were killed instead, in an incident that prompted Moscow to scale back visits from leaders to the front.
Demotions, KIAs, Promotions, ‘Musical Chairs‘, 👉Finger-pointing👈, and etcetera etcetera etcetera.
If ‘Musical Chairs‘ of Generals wasn’t enough, whilst trying to fight an unprovoked War that it started, Russia also has a non-stop of ‘Infighting‘ going on in the background. Few in Russia would dare to put the blame for failure on Putin, but his inexperience at running this War has left the Military in a sorta ‘Tug of War‘ for his ear…so to speak.
The doctrine calls for a 4:1 ratio of non-military to military action. Gerasimov emphasizes “the importance of controlling the information space and the real-time coordination of all aspects of a campaign, in addition to the use of targeted strikes deep in enemy territory and the destruction of critical civilian as well as military infrastructure.” Also he proposes to cloak regular military units in “the disguise of peacekeeper or crisis-management forces.”
Problem wid trying to control the “information space” under Communism/Totalitarianism is the constant requirements of Propaganda that come first before any other information is allowed out. A major disadvantage against Capitalism/Free Enterprise Economy or a Democracy. Communist Propaganda insists that what the State ‘says‘ is the ‘Truth‘.
Enter Russia’s Pro-War Bloggers ‘n various other milbloggers on the Telegram messaging app. Many of these bloggers are actually on or near the frontlines, and all are vying for followers. Communist Propaganda…meet Social Media. I don’t know how many milbloggers there are, but when human egos are vying for followers, then Communist Propaganda suffers when slivers of the actual Truth slip by.
The people’s panopticon – The promise of open-source intelligence:
It is a welcome threat to malefactors and governments with something to hide…
THE GREAT hope of the 1990s and 2000s was that the internet would be a force for openness and freedom. As Stewart Brand, a pioneer of online communities, put it: “Information wants to be free, because the cost of getting it out is getting lower and lower all the time.” It was not to be. Bad information often drove out good. Authoritarian states co-opted the technologies that were supposed to loosen their grip. Information was wielded as a weapon of war. Amid this disappointment one development offers cause for fresh hope: the emerging era of open-source intelligence (OSINT).
New sensors, from humdrum dashboard cameras to satellites that can see across the electromagnetic spectrum, are examining the planet and its people as never before. The information they collect is becoming cheaper. Satellite images cost several thousand dollars 20 years ago, today they are often provided free and are of incomparably higher quality. A photograph of any spot on Earth, of a stricken tanker or the routes taken by joggers in a city is available with a few clicks. And online communities and collaborative tools, like Slack, enable hobbyists and experts to use this cornucopia of information to solve riddles and unearth misdeeds with astonishing speed.
Russia was so good at hiding the Truth, that even they did not realize how bad their entire Military structure was, i.e., they believed their own Communist Propaganda. However, Open Source research sites like Bellingcat are able to easily expose Russia’s false Propaganda, e.g., ‘Exploiting Cadavers ’and ‘Faked IEDs’: Experts Debunk Staged Pre-War ‘Provocation’ in the Donbas. I did a post on it at my Linux Newbie – since 1996 blog ‘Hub‘ – Patrick Lancaster + Salam ‘Green Helmet’ Daher: ‘Exploiting Cadavers’ to Stage Fake War scenes for Propaganda purposes – *SHAME* on YouTube!
These Open Source Research sites are now even being used by sites like ISW (Institute for the Study of War) to verify their source information and/or double-checking their info. They follow these Russian milbloggers and are able to see inside Russia’s Propaganda screen.
One example of such ‘Infighting‘ is the ‘recent altercation between Wagner Group financier Yevgeny Prigozhin and former Russian officer Igor Girkin.‘ Wagner Group is one of 3 groups that have been criticizing the Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD), but Prigozhin may have gone too far in his criticism of the MoD.
Putin’s recent appointment of Gen. Valery V. Gerasimov as overall Commander of War against Ukraine has disappointed most milbloggers, but it probably hurts Wagner Group’s Prigozhin ‘n Ramzan Kadyrov’s Chechen forces the most, as the MoD now shifts to a return of the Conventional Russian forces concept (clean look ‘n no beards).
Not the way to run a Military Force during a War, IMHO, and reflects strongly upon Putin’s poor leadership abilities.
I am surprised that the Russian people have not executed Putin by now, as he clearly plans on returning them behind a new ‘Iron Curtain‘ before he is done.
Russia has lost this War that they started, and it is doubtful that Russia (as it now is) will ever recover to its former status.
No nation wants to be under Russian rule again, and the Ukrainians have now shown how a freedom loving nation can fight back against a bully like Russia. They would rather die than return to Russian rule. Most other European nations recognize what Russia is up to, and have thrown their full support behind the Ukrainian cause.
Putin’s Russia may make threats, since that is about all that they have left (besides Nuclear War) at this point, desperate threats by a Totalitarian State that has been exposed to the entire World. If Putin’s Nuke Force is in the same shape as his other Military forces were and are, then most of his own Nukes may well land inside Russia.
‘Gerasimov doctrine‘ – emphasizes “the importance of controlling the information space and the real-time coordination of all aspects of a campaign, in addition to the use of targeted strikes deep in enemy territory and the destruction of critical civilian as well as military infrastructure.” Also he proposes to cloak regular military units in “the disguise of peacekeeper or crisis-management forces.”
Russia has failed at controlling the information space and has never been able to reach real-time coordination of any aspect in this unprovoked War they started. They have failed miserably at destroying Ukraine’s military infrastructure.
They have destroyed civilian infrastructure ‘n killed thousands of innocent civilians.
The World now sees Russia as nothing more than a wolf in sheep’s clothing…