Bears, Wolves, and Bad Students



2015/01/06 • Crimea, War in the Donbas

Article by: Anna Veronika Wendland

Citing sources close to the Russian president, “Echo Moscow” and former Putin adviser Andrei Illarionov reported that Putin and his team of advisers had concrete plans to attack Ukraine even before the Maidan took a deadly turn and Yanukovich fled Kyiv. Following the publication of strategy papers from the Russian army’s general staff, it has been assumed for some time that general planning was undertaken for the spring of 2015 and a potential change of government in Kyiv. Up to this point, however, Putin’s concrete plans have not been addressed.

According to anonymous interviews conducted by the Bloomberg news agency, the Ukrainian war was debated at one or more meetings held during the Sochi Olympics between Putin and his government ministers and close associates. The meetings centered on the question of whether the Russian economy would emerge unscathed from the expected costs of an invasion and the resulting sanctions. Putin reportedly decided in favor of the military option, emboldened by favorable and possibly prematurely obedient prognoses from his economic and financial experts.

We now know, 100 billion dollars later – the amount lost by the Russian state, and most importantly 5000 lost lives later: It was not only a catastrophe for the Ukrainian victims of aggression, but it also has not paid off for the Russian warmongers. And they didn’t even include the dead in their cost-benefit analysis. They only considered the economic costs of aggression, not the human costs – not even the Russian citizens killed or injured in the process.

On a daily basis, Russia delivers indirect proof that its expansionary plans not only targeted Crimea but also the entire southeast Ukraine, namely through its inability to properly supply occupied Crimea. It was not part of the calculation that, in the winter of 2014/15, Crimea could be deprived of access to a Russian-controlled hinterland that would guarantee this provision of supplies “from Russia’s hand.” The calculation relied on a smooth takeover of the Donbas and the territories north of the Black Sea, bringing enough power stations, industrial plants and transportation routes to construct a wide land bridge and an integrated infrastructure network between Russia and Crimea.

There is no other explanation for the dramatic winter surprise that presently confronts Russia: the fact that a military port and an unreliable ferry connection are the only paths for supplying the peninsula, and that its supply of electricity is guaranteed almost exclusively by the Ukrainian mainland. The calculation didn’t count on that fact that one can deny and trample on legal principles but not the laws of physics. This is why Sevastopol, Yalta and Simferopol, just like the rest of Ukraine, are suffering under outages caused by coal shortages – itself a result of the war in Donbas. If, on top of this, a technical defect disrupts the nuclear power plants that are keeping the country functioning, then the lights go out in Crimea as well, though the political and economic situation there has been dark since March.

The helpless statements of forced optimism that Crimea will get everything “soon” – a bridge and electricity through an undersea cable – indicate that no one expected that a bridge or cable would actually be needed soon. Both are, of course, doable. The implementation, however, is expensive and protracted. A long history of failed planned bridges across the Kerch Straight could have been a lesson for the Russians, just as the construction of high-tension transmission lines has proved difficult in Germany. The Russian state budget is also, following the collapse in oil prices, not what it once was – and also not the basis used by the expansion-is-possible strategists. It is possible – but not affordable.

The war planners also have to watch out for their own kleptocracy. The Russian variety of patriotism encompasses not only expansion at others’ expense, but also the plundering of its own state at the hands of the “Friends of Putin,” for whom the construction of bridges and cables would be quite opportune, a chance to top-up their accounts that grew fat with Sochi but were hit hard by ruble’s collapse.

It won’t be long before we officially hear what began as valid speculation and is now being brought piecemeal to light. As soon as a reputation is ruined, the loose talk in TV interviews begins. Just as the Russian government’s contract killer, [Igor] Girkin, gloats at home about how he fomented the war in eastern Ukraine, a conflict that was presented to us for months as an internal Ukrainian conflict, Putin also belatedly called the “coup by the little green men” what it was – an intervention by the Russian armed forces. In a few months we will surely hear a confirmation of what today, at the beginning of January 2015, once again “only” is “claimed” by the Ukrainians, namely that the most modern Russian military equipment, operated by Russian soldiers, is being moved on Ukrainian territory, and that the Russian military is attempting to subject the warring ultra right-wing militias to a unitary, tightly-organized command, something that of course can’t happen without casualties.

Regardless of whether he is the sponsor of violence or merely a subcontractor, the aggressor’s garrulity and longing for glory is a stroke of luck for historians as well as The Hague’s investigators. It would be as well for every law-abiding Russian prosecutor, if any existed. Taking Russian law and the available evidence into account, the prosecutor would be obliged open an investigation against certain parties for planning and executing an aggressive war. First and foremost, the version of truth that the aggressor preens himself on is a warning for politicians – the braggadocio still has an unsettled score. His calculation with the experiment in Ukraine did not succeed. The initial euphoria has evaporated as quickly as Russia’s foreign currency reserves. Moscow’s armchair generals are already calling for more patriotic narcotics.

Putin has preferred to answer this outcry with zoomorphic self-diagnoses. He is like a bear, the lord of his “taiga,” which defends his territory with nuclear claws and teeth. Even here he misses the mark: the bear is a careful defender; he flies into a rage only when he’s on his most sacred territory or to defend his offspring. He’s not an attacker, and he could not care less about bears in other countries. He’s not even one who fights preventive wars, as the Russian president likes to see himself. More than anything, the bear sleeps in winter instead of holding  Olympic Games as a façade for war preparations.

The bear knows, unlike Putin, where the taiga ends and makes his way home. Other symbolic animals rule the Ukrainian steppe, the Ukrainian forests and swampland, and the Carpathian Mountains: the horse, for example, which has a well-developed instinct for flight and cannot be caught in the flatland, and the wolf, which forms alliances in order to hunt and defend itself.

And because he doesn’t know any of these things – where the taiga ends, where Crimea abuts the mainland, on which reactor block Sevastopol’s electricity supply depends, how much war costs, what a barrel of oil will sell for in the near future. Because of this, Putin is no good-natured Russian teddy bear, but rather a poor student who landed the worst grade in geography and mathematics. Unfortunately, he’s not going to withdraw so that he can learn, instead he will attempt to burn down the school, which in his mind is responsible for his failure. In this Russian “Bowling for Columbine,” maybe a couple of other teachers and fellow students should first believe what’s going on. With this in mind, the neighbors would be well advised to keep the fire extinguisher within reach and the pistol ready in its holster, and, even better, to lock up the discredited failure in his room and search his house for weapons. Otherwise, unlike the bear, he will not hibernate this winter, but instead forge new ostensibly worthwhile and affordable plans – plans that by the end of the year will reach the rest of the world and again come as a complete surprise.

Translated by: Andrew Kinder
Source: AnnaVero Wendland Facebook

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  • Paul P. Valtos

    Yup, Sort of a copy of the Russo Japanese war with the same type of leader.

  • TheBlogFodder

    Great article.

  • Roger Mikael Klang

    I like this article!

    From a neighbouring country to Russia in the Baltic sea in the northern parts of Europe – Sweden. I sympathize with Ukraine!

    • Тарас Шевченко

      I worry for Sweden with Minister Wollstrom and her “Feminist foreign policy”.

      • Roger Mikael Klang

        I don’t even Watch the Swedish news any more, Tapac. It is just socialist propaganda. Public Service cannot be voted away you see. I don’t care what the feminist cunt’s say or do in the foreign policy ministry. They dont speak for me! When they say the Word Sweden, I know that they are trying to legitimate their policies by speaking in my and my fellow patriots name, but they can go fuck themselves.

        • Don Casavant

          Roger, why do you sugar coat everything, why don’t you just speak your mind!!! 😉

          • Roger Mikael Klang

            Is that a Don Casavant joke??
            I don’t want to be like the guys shooting of Kalashnikovs in the air in urban cities. I am a cool headed man! He who has Control over himself lasts longer. 😉 To be a bluster head is nothing you should covet!

          • Don Casavant

            Roger, of course it was a joke! :-)

          • Roger Mikael Klang

            Ok then. Funny!

  • Michel Cloarec

    Every countries in the world has a plan how to defend if attacked !
    Other countries have plans how to attack !
    To do that it needs expertises. Russia has navy base in Crimea and then it needs all of Crimea ! WHY ? Now it has Crimea, a ferry, no road, . Where are expertises ?
    Bad pupil I would say or incompetence ? Or is it Ukraine fault ?
    Now it will be the same with oil in Artic, But first paranoiac russia must have weapons on places, in case Iceland or Norway or Denmark would attack !
    In Kalinningrad, there are nuclear submarines with nuclear weapons, but Putin does not want any nuclear weapons on Russia frontiers . Missiles are not depending on distances to strike ! SO PATHETIC !
    That was my thinking at afternoon tea time. How to get rid of wlad the warmonger !

    • Don Casavant

      Michel, did you put a little cognac in that tea? I find that I am much more lucid with a shot of cognac in my tea!!! 😉

      • Michel Cloarec

        Tea is tea, I prefer cognac in coffee !
        Tea, I relax and then get strength to think how to answer the trolls !
        There is an antimaidan group in Sweden which makes me crazy !
        and kolaregården_domarering which I managed lately to shut up!
        But I have humour and think like “I AM CHARLIE”
        I am also worry about those DAESCH/IS infiltrations in the Ukrainian affairs !

      • Michel Cloarec

        If you are interested you can follow french news in english at adress below !

        • Don Casavant

          Michel, I get France 24 (English) on my SAT-TV, watch it all the time!

          • Michel Cloarec

            On ASTRA or HOTBIRD ?
            You can see that France is at war against terrorists also !

          • Don Casavant

            I watch on HOTBIRD!

          • Michel Cloarec

            Hello Don !
            photos, that where they are, but they have hostages !
            Order from Minister “get them alive”
            Any standpoint on Girkin last statement ?

  • Brent

    Excellent article that gives all of us more insight into the real reasons of Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine, and not the excuses, lies and propaganda about the ‘protection of Russian speakers’ throughout Ukraine who have become overnight victims of some grand plot by Ukraine to steal their language and Russian identity.

    Lately I see many postings from ‘trolls’ and ‘useful idiots’ boasting of Putin’s current popularity and continuing lies and reasons why the new Imperial Russian Empire is going to teach the rest of the World a lesson in how we should run our lives and countries and what values we should have. As I read these posts, I can’t help keeping thinking of two things history has taught all of us over and over again.
    1) The higher they climb, the harder they fall
    >many historical tyrants revved their captive populaces into rabid packs of fervent believers with dreams of Nationalistic glory and the defeat of their historical enemies and antagonists. I don’t recall any of them that actually achieved their goals of World or Regional domination and inevitably their fall from grace in the eyes of their amassed sheep was even quicker and deeper than anyone thought possible. In recent history we can look to the likes of Hitler, Milosevic and to a lesser extent “Dubya” Bush who had approval ratings after 9/11 of 92% that would make even “Volya” and his sheep army jealous. “Dubya” barely beat a bumbling, boring opponent named John Kerry 3 years later. Yes, the same bumbling, boring rambling John Kerry who now may be secretly involved in negotiating appeasement of Putin’s dreams of conquering part of Ukraine. All those ‘thousand year Reichs’ did not have the proclaimed shelf life, and eventually good prevails over evil.

    2) Dreams of Nationalistic Glory.
    Many of those seen as ‘bold’ leaders used human lives as collateral to trade for their dreams of a legacy. They did not value the lives of their soldiers, their citizens and of their supposed enemies. Putin is no different from the likes of Napoleon, Hitler, Pol Pot and many other mass murderers who refused to let their citizens or their neighbors live in peace and have their right to decide their own future. All eventually failed or crumbled, but at the expense of many wasted human lives who were merely cannon fodder and not valued as individuals with their own soul and dreams that were used as nothing more than rubble to build the Empire.

    Yet those of us on the sidelines must decide if the value of the lives is worth having our own economies go into recession or even fail. Many German leaders and the French President are doing the “Chamberlain Shuffle” are now calling for appeasement of Putin’s regime, so that there own citizens don’t turn on those same Euro leaders because they might be able to afford the next version of the I-phone or the vacation aboard. Are those lives being used as cannon fodder worth so little to the rest of us that we can’t demand our own leaders take a more proactive stance in declawing the aggressive Russian bear and stop it from devouring the lovely peaceful Ukrainian Maiden? Should we continue to turn a blind eye to the 298 innocent souls blasted out of the sky by a Russian supplied BUK missile system, and very likely manned by Russian troops given its complexity and the inability of most hired thug mercenaries to use it? Should we continue to watch hopelessly as Nadia Savchenko continues a hunger strike in order to bring the attention of the World back into focus on her captors who have violated her individual rights as a citizen of one country illegally captured and transported to another country for a show trail and examination of whether she is psychologically normal by their standards? What values and demands should we be making of our leaders? To help those victims in need, or to deliver on better economic conditions for our own little corners of the World?

    Thank to Euromaidan Press and to all those who frequent this site for your support and tolerance of me and my thoughts. I would like to take this moment to wish all of you a Happy New Year, and today to wish my Ukrainian brothers and sisters (and yes, even my Russian cousins who support peace and the rights of freedoms of all us to make our own decisions) a very Merry Christmas Eve.

    Khrystos Rodyvsia and may 2015 bring to all us more peace, love and understanding….

    • Andrew Chmilewsky

      Excellent post!

  • Don Casavant

    Great post! Understandable, concise, to the point!

  • disqus_aJpixObjG7

    “russia” is NOT and never was a “bear”. That is far too noble an allusion to “russia”. Rather “russia” has always been a hybrid between a wolverine, a weasel and a hyena.