Putin ruins his own country. Will Russia survive until 2017? 

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2014/09/05 • Politics

Petro Kraliuk

Historical events have the ability to repeat themselves. This possibly happens because the rulers on whom people’s fates depend do not learn from history.

Century-old story

World War I began in 1914. Back then Russia stood as one of the main players on the military and political arena. A huge state with huge resources – both human and raw material. Which was developing quite intensely in the economic sense. Which had a numerous and relatively well-armed army. Which also had powerful allies, England and France. It would seem that everything pointed to Russia’s victory.

At the beginning of the war, the Russian army was successful in its advances. A hurrah-patriotic uplift was seen in the country. Propaganda shouted about the victory of Russian weapons. Even pubescent boys fled from their parents to the front to fight for the “Tzar and the Motherland.” The Russian army made numerous devastating blows to the German and Austrian armies, occupied some ‘enemy’ territories. They even marched in the streets of Lviv.

Does this century-old story remind you of the current situation?

Russia, which has numerous resources, attacks exhausted Ukraine, which had been disarmed in Yanukovich’s times, a country in which the Russians managed to create both a powerful pro-Russian fifth estate and an agent network of its own. The Russians manage to take away Crimea without nary a fight. Russia is caught up in a wave of hurrah-patriotism: “Crimea is ours.” Almost a hundred years ago the same happened to Russia with Lviv, which was occupied by the Russian army. As this city, just like Halychyna, was part of Russia in the minds of Russians. The fifth estate starts a powerful campaign called “the Russian Spring.” Its activists occupy administrative spaces in some oblasts. It would seem very little is left to make Ukraine kneel, turn into a badly governed confederation under Russia’s protectorate of sorts. Russian propaganda creates the illusion of triumph. The ratings of Tzar-Father Putin grow.

However, Russia’s victories both a century ago and today are rather Pyrrhic.

Is Russia able to win? 

In reality, Russians cannot fight well. They only fight well in movies. If we turn to history books, Russia’s real victories are long past – in the 18th century. Back then they managed to conquer the Crimean Khanate, and ruin Rzeczpospolita, and take a big piece of territory from the Ottoman Empire. However, the majority of the Russian Empire elite, including the military one, was made up Germans and Ukrainians, not Russians. Possibly Russia’s last big victory is the Civil War of 1812. After this we cannot speak of significant triumph.

Let us take a look at the 19th century. The long-term war in the Caucasus, where victory (if we can call it that) was achieved only thanks to Russia’s significant advantage in number. The shameful defeat in the Crimean War. Now, the 20th century. The defeat in the Russian-Japanese war. Even though Japan is small. And Russia is huge! The detrimental defeat in World War I. De facto defeat in the war against tiny Finland in 1940. Horrible defeat in the beginning of the German-Soviet war in 1941. And if Russia, or, better put, the USSR, became one of the victors in World War II, it only happened because of strong support (both material and military) from Western states. We can also recall the defeat in the war in Afghanistan. And Russia’s defeat in war with small Chechnya!

History shows that Russia only wins when it is fighting against a much weaker opponent (for example, the way it recently happened in Georgia). So it fights with number instead of skill. Absolute advantage in terms of the amount of personnel and technology is the first and possibly the most important element of Russia’s military strategy. Russia is scared of fighting with a powerful opponent. It quickly retreats upon meeting powerful resistance even on part of a weaker opponent. This happened in the wars with Japan, Finland, Afghanistan. Another element of the Russian military strategy is hypocrisy, attempts not to follow the rules of the game, which allows them victories for a certain amount of time. Finally, the third element is mass information war aimed towards their own population with the goal of mobilization and the opponent to demoralize them.

But let us return to the century-old events. Having come out as a victor in the beginning of World War I, Russia was forced to wage positional war for several years, which it turned out to have been unprepared for. Hurrah-patriotism dissipated. The social situation escalated on a daily basis. Discontent spread among the political elite. The February and then the October revolution exploded in 1917. The once-powerful Russian Empire started crumbling, having fallen into chaos.

Will this century-old story repeat itself? For half a year Russia has been fighting Ukraine in a war which de-facto became positional in Donbas. Throughout this time Russia managed to receive sanctions from leading world country, having de-facto become isolated. Even its closes allies have started distancing themselves from it. Plus, “reverse sanctions” Putin is trying to impose on the West only make the situation more difficult. Let us add the fall of oil prices which will land a blow to the Russian economy. Of course, we can think that Western sanctions are “not enough.” Yes, they are not effective at the moment. But they will be within two to three years. Putin may even possibly try to speed up the process.

So far Russia is going through hurrah-patriotism euphoria. However, corpses of Russian servicemen that fought in Donbas are already arriving home. Information about this is spreading. And it looks like the Russians’ moods are beginning to change. As even now only 5% of them support the idea of invading Ukraine. And such invasion is really happening. It is doubtful that Russian will approve of this. If we add economical, social difficulties to this, we can assume that a “revolutionary explosion” awaits Russia. This may happen in 2017. It would be a good historical “joke” – Russia will celebrate the 100-anniversary of the Aurora’s cannon fire with a new revolutionary coup.

In conclusion. I recently spoke with a Serbian nationalist. She venerates Broz Tito for retaining Yugoslavia’s unity (Yugoslavia is a mini-model of the modern Russian Federation of sorts). Meanwhile this lady condemned Slobodan Milošević who wanted to “restore big Serbia,” which led to his country suffering severe losses, including territorial ones. She tried to convince me quite seriously that Milošević was a CIA agent. Because he ruined Serbia. I will not be surprised if I hear from Russian nationalists in a couple of years that Putin is also a CIA agent.


 

Source: Radio Liberty

Translated by Mariya Shcherbinina

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  • http://andyszpuk.wordpress.com/ Andy Szpuk

    Brilliant analysis

  • jmundstuk

    Great. I got Moscovy and China. What are the other “country” names in this map?

    • peterlund

      Finland, Lithuania, Ukraine, Belarus, Caucasus.

  • Milton Devonair

    Yup, good analysis.
    Russia always fights for conquest, to steal, to repress, so they can never win any war–they just come to a forced peace with unrest always below the surface, waiting.

    Their modus operandi has always been to have one more body than their enemies have bullets.

  • evanlarkspur

    Oh, he IS! It’s the only thing that makes sense. Or maybe Putin is with the NSA… Hmmmm…

  • João Pedro Santos

    Don’t belittle your opponent. I hope you win and Russia is humiliated, but they’ve the upper hand unfortunately in the last week. Number matter, and they’re on their side.

    And unfortunately with the little help you’re getting from the West, things don’t look as good as last month

    • Arctic_Slicer

      Yep but it cost them; over 2000 Russian soldiers, including conscripts, have died in Ukraine. The political damage of so many young Russian men dying in an undeclared war will come back to haunt Putin. As you said numbers matter.

      • Amoun

        Yeah, 2000 according to Ukrainian authorities which are bombing their own citizens.
        How come they are not reporting on the 2500+ actual civilian deaths that they caused and hundreds of thousands who are either displaced and were forced to leave their homes due to the fear of their lives from their own government and ran to Russia….you know…the one who is, according to a US placed gov’t, attacking Ukraine and so far 0 deaths on their record as opposed to the K1ev gov’t?

  • Dirk Smith

    In the big picture, Putin’s leadership and crony fascism is a complete failure. He lost Ukraine and ruined russia’s economy. Count on Maidan Moscow next spring……..

  • Rods

    Very good historical analysis.

    The Czar and politicians since 1917 have always treated the people under their control very badly compared to most other countries. This is again worsening under Putin, so when they have their next revolution I expect a number of areas will cede like they did in 1989-91. This will be the opposite of Putin’s dream of an expanding MkII Soviet-style empire. He will make Russia much a smaller, weaker, poorer country!

    Their current repression has not only significant increased capital flight but also net migration, where their brightest and most entrepreneurial are moving to greener pastures. In the next few years they are also going to see significantly worsening demographics.

    Most dictatorships are relatively short lived, compared with the long relatively smooth succession of each generation of politicians that there has been in mature democratic countries. All 7 countries currently in the $20,000/50 million club are free societies which embrace capitalism and have multi-party democracies.

  • Sulfur12

    Startegically speaking, the “great victories” that this text mentions in XVIII century were also against weaker oponent. Both Ottoman Empire and Commonwealth were in shambles during that time, weakened after centuries of wars and bad policies. Turks were collapsing and were basically anti-development, Commownealth actually disbanded its army and endorsed crazy-like pacifism. Russia have bribed its officals and electors and thats how it won. Its exactly the same method that it was used in Ukraine.

  • pieta

    You forgot about Warsaw battle in 1920. Tuchczewski and Stalin lost, cuz poles stand their ground and even broken bolshevik codes, knowing excatly where soviet divisions and armies were.

  • fkebede

    Russia is a nation that has survived three serious political turmoils and still came out more powerful after every recovery. the first is known as the time of troubles it is the period between the 1598-1613, famine, civil war, and foreign occupation, but Russia emerged out of that time as an even grater power than it was before under Romanove’s. ,,,,,The second period of troubles is the 1917 revolution, political chaos, civil war, famine, foreign intervention, but still Russia emerged out of that period under the soviet Union, as an even greater power than it had ever been before,,,,,,, the third time of troubles is the break up of the soviet union, it was a period of mass alcoholism and drug abuse, depression, inflation, economic and political decline, and corruption, but yet again under Putin it has reversed its bad fortunes, and Russia has come out of the chaos of the 90’s and early 2000’s, as a power to be respected again.

    What many Russophobs don’t understand is, it is not Russia that need the relationship with the EU and US now, it is the US and the EU that need Russia, because, the EU/US/NATO which are terrified of the prospect of the “rise of China”, want to secure the military, political and economic, resources of Russia to their side, in order to deprave them to China and to threaten China on its border militarily.

    The west fear’s that if it doesn’t turn Russia to its side and bring it to order under the US dominion, it would not achieve its strategic objective of containing China, politically economically and militarily, and cut China off from accessing the immense resources of Russia, to keep its enormous economy going.

    The west knows that if it fails to secure Russia on its side, either by taking it into NATO or the EU ( which are both under the command of the US), it would have failed in it’s grand objective of the “creation of the north Atlantic and north Pacific military,economic and political alliance” in order to weaken and contain China.

    On the other hand Russia will thrive as it never did in its previous history, culturally politically and economically, because it will become one of the most economically important if not the most important nation for both China and the EU. Euroasia is the future.

    • pieta

      Nice things you say, but mind that:
      1. Russia managed three times to rise again, cuz thre were nothing at it’s asian “back”. Now there is strong China lurking for syberian resources.
      2. Common misconception or shaming tactics is to brand opposing side as “rusophobes”, while “rusophiles” right now kill civilians in Donbass for speking in ukrainian.
      3.We are not worried by rise of China. China oppening to world economy binded it with global economy. China expansion vectors are into south-pacific and Africa in opposition of russian expansion to eastern Europe.
      4. We don’t want to secure or steal russia resources. We want to pay for them. We are just concerned that when we by gas and oil from Russia, we fund Russia little conquest. If it continues we will change our suppliers. Then Russia will fall, cuz in short term it will need to replace costumers. Pivot to China, would be long and need tech and money, which Russia can’t secure on itself.
      5. US dominion? NATO is not equal to Warsaw Pact or any russian military alliance. NATO members are equal, from small Estonia to large US. All contribute part of it’s forces and it is not an alliance in which only US sends it’s troops to station in someone else state. Countries like Belarus or Kasakchstan or even Armenia can’t say anything within their alliance with Russia.
      6. Grand objective of which you speak for is objective driven from XIX cen. grave. Nobody wants to invade other states, when you can do peacfull relations with them. Russia seems to be locked in previous cen. Insted of joining NATO or EU and integrate itself into peacfull community it has an imperialistic drive forcing it to attack it’s nieghbours, cuz “they are already russians, but they still don’t know it”.
      7. Why do you need containing China, when you trade with them? Why do you need to contain anyone, when west controls global trade routes?
      8. Russia don’t thrive. It’s struggles. Incapability to build on it’s own LHD class of ships. Can’t build new types of rockets, tanks, planes, ifv, submarines. Euroasia is not future, It is a dream of XIX centuary philosophists brought back by Alexander Dugin.

      • fkebede

        China does not have the mentality of the west, it is not on a mission of achieving “global political and economic domination” and spreading its sphere of influence, this things are characteristics of the west, specially of the US and Western Europe. Therefore Russia have to fear nothing from China, because China does not only need the economic resources of Russia, but it also needs Russias political backing internationally, and its strategic military cooperation,( i:e nuclear deterrent),, because it is facing the same threat form the same forces that are threatening Russia.

        Why do you think NATO went to such a length to support the Midan movement and to topple an elected government, and drag Ukraine into its camp??? It is for no other reason than to encircle Russia and to threaten it. And the US is playing the same game with China as well.

        And you said NATO is an equal partnership between members, that is laughable, you said even tiny Lithuania have an equal power of say in the NATO, LOL,,, forget Lithuania even countries like France and Britain have to obey what the US commands , you can see how many European countries are being forced by the US to say and do what the US wants, just recently we saw how France was forced to cancel a contract it signed to build two naval ships for the Russian navy. How Bulgaria was forced to cancel its gas pipe line contract and how countries like Germany were forced by the US to take a stand they did not want because it will hurt them economically more than it will do to Russia. One Polish minister summed up Poland’s relationship with the US in a recently leaked phone call, he said, “we are just giving the US a blowjob for free”,,,,,To be honest no military alliance have ever been an alliance of equal partnership, the strongest member always have the final say.

        Russia did not attack its neighbors, it is the US that is politically destabilizing the neighbors of Russia, in order to install pro NATO governments, so it can use them to encircle Russia and weaken it strategically, do you remember how the US reacted during the Cuban missile crises?? Do you think the US will stand and watch if China or Russia started to coerce Mexico or Canada into their camp??

        • Murf

          “China does not have the mentality of the west, it is not on a mission of achieving “global political and economic domination”

          Is that why they are claiming the whole of the South China Sea all the way to Indonesia? The West quit thinking in those terms along time ago. Russia, not so much.

          The only thing dragging UA into the western camp is Russian corruption, belligerence and conquest.

          “even countries like France and Britain have to obey what the US commands”

          If that is true then why did France and Germany so vehemently oppose Bush on Iraq? Also how many NATO tanks had to roll down the capitals main street to get them to join or remain in the alliance? the word you should be looking for is ZERO hero. France withdrew in the 60s and was later readmitted,

          All members have to agree to admit a new member. All members get to decide if they will commit forces to ALL NATO operations. and many have refused. How many countries are clamoring to join the Customs Union? On is fighting tooth and nail to stat out.
          See the difference?

          The Polish minster was frustrated that Obama would not commit two heavy Brigades to protect the country form, guess who?

          It wasn’t NATO. By the by Obama wouldn’t because he didn’t wan’t cause Putin to have a temper tantrum like the bitch he is.

          “Russia did not attack its neighbors,”

          Tell that to the Ukrainians the Georgians, the Chechens. the Afghans, the Hungarians, the Czechs, and that’s not including WWII

          Question: How much land has the US claimed since the Spanish-American war? Only enough to bury our dead.

          And Russia? A bit more.

          “If China or Russia started to coerce Mexico or Canada into their camp??”

          China manages the Panama Canal. They are going to build a canal in Nicaragua. Have we invaded either country?
          So much for that theory.

          You can piss and moan all you want Ivan, in the end Putin is acting a marauding barbarian. After all the BS it boils down to this; you stabbed your closest ally and self proclaimed “Brothers” in the back when they were in trouble.
          You have lost Ukraine.
          They will never forgive you.
          And pay backs? They are a Mother Fuker.
          Your time will come.

    • http://euromaidanpress.com Mat

      It never came out more powerful after every recovery, save for maybe WW2 but that’s only because of its nuclear arsenal and not real power.

  • siiimv

    Half of the areas that are shown as Finland should be Estonia instead.

  • Trueteller

    Absolutely true

  • dzhukov

    ZAPAD,SUKI, SOSITE HUI! MY VAS VYEBEM V PORYADKE OCHEREDI!

  • zorbatheturk

    What a joke RuSSia is. The sooner this evil pseudo-federation bites the dust, the better. The world does not need any Putins.