March 5, 2022. First results

So, the first 10 days of Russia’s “special operation” in Ukraine have passed, and we can sum up the first results. Now I’d like to ignore military successes and defeats because under these conditions it is impossible to find any objective data. So let’s address political issues.

After the first shock, critical thinkers are asking themselves one single question: “What is all this for?” What final goals of the “special operation” did Russia’s top military and political leadership had in mind before they launched it? There are a few obvious things to note here. Firstly, the Kremlin really hoped to scare the United States with the invasion threat, and until January 2022, no one seriously considered the buildup of military forces on the borders with Ukraine from the perspective of an actual military invasion, except for Anglo-Saxons and Ukrainians. This is probably the main reason why the goals of the “special operation” were not achieved in their entirety in the first few days.

Logistics and supplies were more or less well organized only in Crimea, but only because they had been out there initially. It soon became clear that the ultimatums had no effect on a hardened Joe Biden. Washington, starting from the unprecedented tough stance of Russia, went for achieving its own goals of strengthening the status of the Western world leader, somewhat undermined after the shameful flight from Afghanistan. What’s important, the new coalition in Germany began to take on an obviously pro-American position, sensing a historical chance to erase the age-old stigma of the world’s main villain and free the mentality of the German people from any historical guilt. China, as always, has taken a wait-and-see attitude and is not going to attack Taiwan as some suggest. Under these conditions, it shortly became obvious that the diplomatic war was lost, and that the Russian Presidential Administration had to walk back on their wishful thinking.

Analysts from the Russian Presidential Administration obviously had to draft a new political plan in the shortest possible time and in the strictest secrecy, that is, without involving bright minds from the Foreign Ministry, the FSB, and the Foreign Intelligence Service, not to mention other institutions. The forecasting horizon came out the same as the “special operation” plan – three days or seven days cap. Therefore, the goals announced were met by the expert community with… bewilderment, to put it mildly. Demilitarization is understandable, as is the neutral status of Ukraine. But what is de-Nazification anyway? No one could explain this clearly and no one will ever be able to. Is it about changing the “top Nazi” (comedian-turned-president Volodymyr Zelensky, and ethnic Jew) to Viktor Medvedchuk or Viktor Yanukovych? This is a knowingly dead-end move – no one will recognizes the latter, except for Belarus, Syria, North Korea, and Eritrea.

Most importantly, he won’t be recognized in Ukraine. Maintaining a contingent of Russian peacekeepers in Kyiv to ensure the security of loyal political forces would be too expensive in the context of the guerrilla war waged by the population. The possibility of a new “Ukrainian People’s Republic” being proclaimed in Lviv with the rest of the territories being forgotten is nearing zero – Washington and Brussels will simply will not allow this to happen. The government will not go into exile – this should have been done earlier, and now it’s too late for them and for the Russian side of the conflict.

Standing apart are territorial claims. Why would anyone want a huge number of losses in manpower and hardware (only a few optimists, besides propaganda, of course, predicted minimal losses) for the sake of Crimea, which Russians say is theirs anyway, and a relatively small strip of land in Donetsk and Luhansk regions? At the same time, it is clear that, even if Kyiv capitulates and meets Russian demands, this would in no way lift sanctions off Russia’s economy. Instead, this will further aggravate them.

Many wrote that the “special operation” would help Russia restore the status of a superpower, but there’s absolute certainty that this is a propaganda stamp that has nothing to do with the real plans of Vladimir Putin and his Administration. Therefore, it is obvious that the “special operation” in Ukraine actually aims to address domestic issues rather than external ones. So let’s dwell on this a bit.

If someone thinks that the almost total international isolation of Russia is an unpleasant surprise for the authorities, they are greatly mistaken. Any slightest cooperation with the West had in fact caused the Kremlin great concern because it entailed the inevitable risks of even loyal functionaries shifting away from the «party line», turning hypocritical and, possibly, even betraying the leader.

Now that the world has finally been divided into friends and foes, no one has a choice – the Soviet Union under the Iron Curtain was absolutely monolithic among the members of the Communist Party, and this model is now being implemented, with pleasure, in the Kremlin’s top offices. Instead of villas on Lake Como, mansions in London, and yachts in Barcelona, ​​which Russia can’t seize and where you can escape, there will now be government dachas on Rublyovka and sanatoriums in Sochi. Total loyalty and dependence as no one is «looking around in search of a successor.»

So these are the elites. Now let’s talk about ordinary Russians. Vladimir Putin and United Russia’s core electorate – brainwashed conservative pensioners – has rallied as never before. All dissenters are either fleeing the country, or stay, confused and terrified, or lack organization and bright leaders. They have not yet realized that, if massive crowds hit the streets across the country and all at once, rather than a couple of hundred activists in any given city, most of the police and National Guardsmen will simply join them because they don’t want to once again hear their leader tell them something like “There’s no money but you hold on there…”They also fail to realize that the time for their historical chance to change something and save Russia from being transformed into another, huge North Korea is running out and they pretty much have only weeks, perhaps months left. After that, Moscow might recover from external shocks and establish total Orwellian control, after which they will be totally brainwashed. They will ban all social networks, except for VK and Odnoklassniki, turn off all instant messengers, except for government-controlled ones (there will be such for sure), and build the “Great Russian Firewall”. Therefore, if the protest majority (they are indeed the majority, they just do not realize it yet) fail to fix things in their favor in the coming weeks or months, the Kremlin will turn its 70% of popular support from a major exaggeration into reality.

Poverty. Soon there’ll be many more people below the poverty line. The task is to explain everything to them and ensure, if not loyalty, then humility – this is the only task for which Russian authorities are well prepared. They had been preparing for a very long time. Propaganda is the only weapon Russia has available at the moment that performs well, just as expected.

Important nuance. The problem of Ramzan Kadyrov and his 20,000 uncontrolled elite fighters was addressed rather gracefully, by simply deploying them in the hottest spots of the Ukraine war to confront the elite units of the Ukrainian Armed Forces and divert the Ukrainian defense focus from the strategically important areas in the southeast. Kadyrov was well aware of what was going on, but he just could not refuse to send his soldiers — his own generals would’ve not understood him, while his status of someone who’s afraid of nothing would’ve been lost for good. Judging by how quickly Kadyrov turned his eyes to finding traitors within the FSB, he turned out to be much smarter than the Kremlin thought. Now he is following his own plan, and in the “Beautiful Future Russia,” he will apparently gain control of a whole range of law enforcement agencies. And whoever controls the security bloc in Russia, enjoys de facto control of the whole country.

Russian regions. If earlier there were separate glimpses of disagreement between the subjects of the federation with the policy of the center, and Yekaterinburg, Khabarovsk and Kushtau were added to the lists of protest cities, if territorial disputes and interethnic conflicts arose in the North Caucasus, now everyone will forget about these problems for a long time.

Miscellaneous. Does anyone remember that thing called coronavirus? Those antivaxx protests, distrust of the government’s policies? That huge growing bubble of hate toward labor migrants on the part of Moscow residents? That deep discontent with the state of health care and education, distrust of the Russian Orthodox Church’s policies and of religious agenda penetrating secular life? All of this vanished against the backdrop of the ongoing war, and it won’t be recalled for long.

In conclusion, an obvious fact is on the surface: the main goals of the “special operation” in Ukraine lie in the plane of Russia’s domestic policy. Putin will forever be remembered by ancestors as someone who fixed the main geopolitical catastrophe of the 20th century. He restored the USSR… Within Russia’s borders.