Feel that chill in the air? If you think its frosty in your location, it is frozen solid between Russian President Putin and Wagner chief Prigozhin.

And so it is that we are now one week after the “March of Justice” that saw Evgeny Prigozhin’s Wagner Group stage an uprising. But first, a few MSM promoted myths need to be addressed.

When Wagner arrived in Rostov-on-Don, they were not perceived as any more than what they were: Wagner. A large number of people (thousands) delighted in having their photo taken standing next to a tank or a ‘Ukraine veteran’. Wagner forces were/are respected for their work in Ukraine and the response by the Rostov residents was not encouragement to overthrow the Government. Far from it.

MSM pundits have been speculating that “Putin’s days are numbered”. Well, ok, but every person’s days are effectively ‘numbered’ and that includes leaders. So when you say ‘numbered’, what do you mean? Tomorrow? Next week? Next year? Some time before the turn of the decade? Worthless conjecture.

Western media reports also varied widely on how many Wagner soldiers took part in the March of Justice. Even reports within Russia have offered wide variations but it appears somewhere around 3-4,000, in total depending on whether you mean at the beginning or end. The number at the pointy end of the 780km advance towards Moscow appears to have been just a few hundred. Whatever, it’s not enough.

To keep the numbers in perspective: there is a garrison of at least 10,000 regular soldiers in Moscow plus the National Guard (many thousands), several spetsnaz units and assorted security services such as the FSB. And that’s just in Moscow itself. The idea that a few hundred, or even a few thousand, soldiers can drive their tanks up Mokhovaya Street, swing right into Red Square and up to the Kremlin gate is ridiculous. (Unless, of course, there had been a total breakdown of the military command structure and civil order had disintegrated – which hadn’t happened.)

Prigozhin’s March of Justice was a failure. He had no institutional support and indeed, in Prigozhin’s own words, had no objective to usurp Putin’s authority and that the March of Justice was not, and was never intended to be, a coup attempt.

So, what was the point?

Trivially, we could say that Prigozhin was merely drunk on his perception of his own power. This is partially supported by comments this week by Belarusian President Lukashenko who said that Prigozhin was in a state of “total euphoria” during their first telephone conversation. The grand plan to humiliate Defence Minister Shoigu and Chief of Staff Gerasimov seemed to be working. Indeed, it seems that Prigozhin was banking that Wagner’s popularity and fame would lead to an upswell of support for the group. In turn, that would lead the government to acquiesce on the MoD’s insistence that Wagner sign contracts to subsume it into the Russian defence forces. No such luck.

Even though Prigozhin’s state of mind cannot be confirmed, there is no doubt that folding Wagner into the MoD was the pivotal issue. Why? Because, first and foremost, Wagner is a business from which Prigozhin has made a huge amount of money. In just the past couple of days, President Putin acknowledged that Wagner was funded entirely by the Russian government and they had paid 86 billion rubles (AUD$1.5bn) to Wagner in the past 12 months for military services alone. One of Prigozhin’s other companies had received a further 50 billion rubles (AUD$900m) for food, uniforms and other services over an undisclosed period.

Thus, the loss of Wagner from Prigozhin’s business stable represented a disastrous financial blow. Coupled with that, Wagner is entirely reliant on the MoD for its supplies of weapons – it has no other reliable source. Therefore, even if Wagner were to return to Africa and resume support for a local warlord or government, if Wagner has been effectively nationalised in Russia, its access to sufficient (and heavy) weapons and other supplies will be at questionable, at best.

So Prigozhin’s grand plan was driven in a mist of rage, self-delusion and fear of financial apocalypse.

This is confirmed by Prigozhin’s public statement on Tuesday which focused largely on his prime grievance: that Wagner was going to be absorbed into the institutional military. And although unsaid, he gambled while holding a very poor hand.

Now, Wagner soldiers have only three options: sign the MoD contracts and join the Russian military, join Prigozhin in Belarus and await a call from Africa (presumably without their gear*) or, break up and go home.

* The MoD has announced that arrangements were being made for Wagner to hand over the heavy weapons.

One final word on Prigozhin: his power base has taken a huge hit. He was not an elected member of the Russian Duma (Parliament) but his former friendship with Putin lasted decades and allowed him to cultivate his own network. Now, any remaining associates are deserting the Prigozhin ‘ship’ faster than rats off the Titanic. Coupled with the effective nationalisation of the Wagner Group, and possible other asset seizures, I suggest he needs to keep his mouth in check and be as quiet as a mouse. That or try to avoid men with umbrellas or freestyle base jumping from 10 storey buildings.

What about Putin?

If Putin is damaged, there is no outward sign. Our contacts in Russia report last weekend’s events to be ‘interesting’, but nothing more. There is not the slightest murmur of support for Prigozhin* (although Wagner soldiers are respected) nor any wish to replace Putin. In fact, his approach has been described as calm and measured thereby preventing a possible wider confrontation.

* Russian suspicion and distrust of the West, and the USA in particular, is well known. Some wondered whether Prigozhin had sold out to the CIA in an effort to destabilise Russia. This is just a reflection of a theme on local social media but suggests that any personal support Prigozhin may have enjoyed, however fleeting, has completely evaporated with some questioning how he could be allowed to ‘get away with’ the downing of Russian Air Force assets and killing of Russian servicemen.

Putin’s popularity in Russia would make a western politician blush and was an impressive 63% prior to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine whereupon it ripped up to around 82% and has remained. (Putin’s approval rating has never been below 59%). His disapproval rating wallows around 14% with the balance undecided. Whether the recent revelation of the money spent on funding Wagner has any impact, remains to be seen.

Even if Putin’s popularity takes a hit, Russians recognise that they are personally far better off financially than at any other time in their history. Therefore, Putin continues to enjoy wide support simply because there is no other current politician who Russians believe will advance their lives still further. Just a few days ago, Russia’s statistics service Rosstat reported that Russia’s real wages to April 2023 were 10.4% higher compared to the same period a year ago. Unemployment for May 2023 was 3.2% and annual inflation is low at 2.5% although it had shifted slightly upwards from the annualised 2.3% reported last month.

Social media app Odnoklassniki is a Russian version of Facebook/Twitter and is hugely popular. If there was any dissent or rumbles of dissatisfaction about Putin, Odnoklassniki would show it. But, nothing. And set aside your thoughts that the FSB will burst through your door if you dare to criticize the State after a whinge on Odnoklassniki about the Government. (Russia is not like Victoria during covid).

So, for Russians, it appears to be a big ‘nothing burger’ despite how excited or enthralled we in the West may have been. Except of course for those in Rostov who were delighted that the ‘Wagner warriors’ had come to visit. Along the M4 to Moscow however, it was a different story with small towns off the highway initiating terrorist alerts and blocking their main streets with large concrete blocks. Hardly welcoming.

But it isn’t all unicorns and rainbows – Putin is under some pressure. The biggest criticism he faces is in the Kremlin where there are those who say he is too timid in the Ukraine conflict. Putin’s near obsession with maintaining normalcy for the people of Russia should be set aside and that Russia should adopt a war footing and deal with the Ukraine issue comprehensively. These individuals believe the Russian effort should extend beyond the four oblasts that Putin declared were the focus of the Special Military Operation.

Is such a thing possible? In theory, of course. Russia has the resources to mount several army groups that could sweep across the Ukraine – but the personnel losses will be monstrous. There is no comparison between the Ukraine conflict and The Great Patriotic War. My interpretation is that many Russians will loudly protest their fathers, brothers and sons being shipped back in boxes by the many tens of thousands in a few short weeks of a full-scale Russian mobilisation. Acceptance of the Ukraine war could evaporate quickly, and Putin knows this.

For the time being, while Russian losses are relatively modest and the Ukraine counter-offensive is suffering severe casualty numbers, Putin is able to easily resist any calls for an increased commitment. Note that Wagner forces had absorbed many of the earlier personnel losses, particularly in taking the Donbass city of Artyomovsk (aka Bakhmut).

Putin’s popularity and personal faction in the Kremlin is incredibly strong, although nobody is ever truly invincible. Russian politics is littered with self-interest and competing agendas with external influence injected into the factions by the various oligarchs, many of whom owe their wealth to Putin. I have mentioned previously that Putin is the ultimate puppet-master and at present, any move against him appears to have vanishingly low support. But like any multi-dimensional game, there can be surprises. For the moment however, it seems that for the overwhelming majority of the public, the oligarchs and members of the Duma, life goes on and its business as usual.

Footnotes: At the time of writing, General Sergei Surovikin has ‘disappeared’. Surovikin, is/was a deputy commander of Russia’s military operations in Ukraine. Last weekend he issued a video appeal for Prigozhin and his men to stand down. But, he has a known close relationship with Prigozhin and there is a suggestion he may have been aware of Prigozhin’s plans in advance. Time will tell.

Also, it seems that a handful of government bureaucrats in Moscow were too flighty last Saturday. Apparently some hopped on flights to Georgia, Armenia or Kazakhstan with their families. I understand they will need to adequately explain this sudden whim for external tourism to the security service if they want to keep their jobs.

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July 2, 2023 7:57 am

Always follow the money. Thanks, Speedbox.

July 2, 2023 8:09 am

Stockman: Why The US Should Stop Sending Money To Zelensky

If the truth be told, we are getting sick and tired of the little piss-ant who runs the cess-pool of corruption, tyranny, delusion and death called Ukraine.

This clown—and that’s what he is actually trained as—just can’t seem to stop stridently demanding money, arms and support from the rest of the world and lecturing everyone to fall into line or else.

In his actual clown days, of course, Volodymyr Zelensky was known for the act depicted below. But when it comes to the collective West, the latter seems to enjoy the fact that the Ukrainian president continues to bang away upon it, relentlessly pounding out a melody of me, me and more.

But lately Zelensky has really gone over the top, peddling the hideous canard that if we don’t enable him to fight “them” over there with everything and all that he demands by way of money and weapons, we will soon bleed and die against “them” over here.

That’s the “Putin is going to invade Europe next and maybe America too”, nonsense. It’s actually groundless blithering idiocy, and yet Washington treats him as a brave ally and statesman:

“If any candidate thinks supporting Ukraine is too costly, are they ready to go to war? Are they ready to fight? Send their children? Die?” Zelenskyy said.

“They will have to do it anyway if NATO enters this war, and if Ukraine fails and Russia occupies us, they will move on to the Baltics or Poland or some other NATO country. And then the U.S. will have to choose between keeping NATO or entering the war.”

Let’s cut to the chase. No American or NATO soldier is going to be fighting Putin’s army in Poland, Berlin or Belgium because the Russian army ain’t going there. Not in a month of Sundays.

Vlad Putin is no prince of men, but his war aims are limited, rational and clear as a bell. To wit, as he warned for 15 years, he does not want NATO missiles on his doorstep in Ukraine, just as President Kennedy insisted about Khrushchev’s missiles 100 miles away in Cuba 61 years ago.

Likewise, he wants the Russian-speaking populations of the eastern Donbas region and the Black Sea rim, historically known as “Novorossiya” or New Russia, to have self-governing autonomy and protection from military attack by the anti-Russian Kiev government, as per the Minsk agreements. After all, those brutal attacks, which killed upwards of 14,000 mostly civilians, occurred nearly continuously for eight years after the Washington-sponsored Maidan coup of February 2014. The latter had installed hostile proto-Nazi elements in the unelected and illegal government stood up in Kiev by Victoria Nuland and her Washington gaggle of neocon hegemonists.

In other words, what we have here is a Washington-triggered civil war in an area that has been either a Russian vassal or appendage for centuries and where the term “Ukraine” actually means “borderlands” in Russian.

And that’s not even the half of it. The borders of these very “borderlands” do not define a nation or state that was the product of natural development and accretion over centuries. To the contrary, they are a 20th century artifact confected by three of the bloodiest tyrants in all of human history—Lenin, Stalin and Khrushchev. The only connection these black-lined borders shown below have to the history of the area is that they were drawn-up for reasons of totalitarian administrative convenience, not as an expression of social, ethnic, religious or economic affinities.

That is to say, Ukraine is a state that was not built to last; and, in fact, it barely outlasted its Soviet rulers after their demise in 1991. For instance, during the 1994 presidential election the pro-Russian candidate, Leonid Kuchma, defeated the incumbent and strident Ukrainian nationalist, Leonid Kravchuk.

As the map below makes clear, however, Kravchuk won overwhelming majorities of 89-95% in the western Ukraine regions (yellow and orange), which had historically been part of Poland or the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. By the same token, the pro-Russian Kuchma won the national election because he racked up the same preponderant majorities (blue areas) in the eastern Donbas and southern Novorossiya regions. In the historic Russian province (since 1783) of Crimea, in fact, Kuchma won 90% of the vote.

So send Zelensky packing back to his comedy show and let the blue states of the Ukrainian east and south have their own countries or return to the bosom of Mother Russia, from which these communities emerged during the 18th and 19th centuries.

That would end the carnage in a heart-beat, and would stop the senseless slaughter of Ukrainians and Russians alike—a human catastrophe that is beginning to rival the heinous criminality of World War I trench warfare.

The implicit Peace of the Partition, however, could have an additional silver lining. It would expose the absolute mendacity of the Washington War Party and the fact that it is so desperate to rule the world that it will prop up even utter nincompoops like Zelensky to stay in the business of fighting falsely demonized monsters who are no threat at all to America’s real homeland security.

As we indicated recently, it’s time to get back to a Fortress America defense policy, which could be funded for a fraction of today’s $900 billion defense-a-palooza.

And we wouldn’t have to waste our national treasure on un-useful idiots like Zelensky, either.

July 2, 2023 8:12 am

SITREP 6/30/23: Winds Gather Before the NATO Summit

1 JUL 2023

July 2, 2023 8:13 am

Anatomy of Storm Shadow Interception

30 JUN 2023

July 2, 2023 8:14 am
July 2, 2023 8:24 am

Biden: A Bumbling Grifter Personifying A Failing State

The Long, Hot Summer
“Vladimir Putin is clearly losing the War in Iraq.”
– Joe Biden, US President

Russian Revolution Two kicked off the long, hot summer freak show of 2023. Unlike Russian Revolution One (1917), which lasted over seventy years, RR2 clocked out in under twenty-four hours. It didn’t propel Russia into a political paroxysm as perhaps expected by crisis engineers in Langley, VA, and Washington’s Foggy Bottom. Rather, it energized the resolve of arch-nemesis Vlad Putin, solidified his support among the Russian populace (who turned out singing patriotic hymns along the Neva River when the revolt was quashed), and sunsetted the increasingly rogue Wagner private paramilitary company in its Ukraine duties, now to be taken over by regular Russian Federation army units.

It was perhaps the hope of America’s feckless Neocon war-dogs that Russia would fall into chaos. This has all along been the hope and expectation of our country’s official stated policy. And it turns out to be ever more at odds with the reality of the situation. Mr. Putin aims to conclude this tragic US-provoked misadventure as swiftly as possible now. This ain’t no Mud Club; this ain’t no foolin’ around. It looks more like the last days of disco in Kiev. The question for the people there is: just how much of Ukraine do you want to be left with intact when this thing is over? Go ahead… choose.

Despite its master-slave relationship with America, Euroland may not be so avid for World War Three as the “Joe Biden” regime seems to be.

The Wagner coup fiasco marks the true crackup of NATO as the Ukraine project fizzles.

Surely Europeans with some functioning brain cells must be asking: “what was the point of all this killing and waste?”

The clear-eyed may suspect that the point was to get Europe to commit suicide, because that is the obvious result.

No more natgas for you, Europe, meaning farewell to major industry and a comfortable standard of living.

A lot less wheat and corn coming out of Ukraine to Euroland nations, too. When food costs too much, or is just plain scarce, governments fall. Wait for it.

Do you suppose that “Joe Biden” & Company can keep up this charade of a proxy war with Russia much longer?

$150-billion pounded down the Kiev rat-hole, purchasing yet another foreign relations humiliation.

Never has an American president been heaped with such an ignominious foundering and dishonor. He can only pretend to run for reelection as he wrecks the country.

The DNC poohbahs, cross-eyed in transports of Woke-ism, must know that this bumbling grifter personifies a failing state.

July 2, 2023 8:32 am

Raytheon Calls In Retirees To Help Produce Stinger Missiles

Raytheon has called in retired engineers to help produce Stinger anti-aircraft missiles that the US has been providing Ukraine, Defense One reported on Thursday.

Stingers are shoulder-fired missiles that were out of production for 20 years until the US started sending them to Ukraine when Russia first invaded last year, a policy led by a former Raytheon board member, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin.

According to the Pentagon, the US has provided Ukraine with over 1,700 Stinger missile systems to date.

“Stinger’s been out of production for 20 years, and all of a sudden in the first 48 hours [of the war], it’s the star of the show and everybody wants more,” Wes Kremer, the president of Raytheon Missiles & Defense, said last week.

Raytheon needs to produce the Stingers using blueprints drawn up during the Carter administration, as using more advanced production methods would require redesigning the weapon.

“We were bringing back retired employees that are in their 70s … to teach our new employees how to actually build a Stinger,” Kremer said. “We’re pulling test equipment out of warehouses and blowing the spider webs off of them.”

The US Army placed an order for Stingers in May 2022 to replace ones sent to Ukraine, but the Pentagon said they won’t be delivered until 2026.

Kremer said it would take at least 30 months for the first missiles to be completed due to the time it will take to restart production.

In March 2022, Raytheon CEO Greg Hayes explained how the war in Ukraine would be a boon for the weapons maker.

“Everything that’s being shipped into Ukraine today, of course, is coming out of stockpiles, either at DoD or from our NATO allies, and that’s all great news. Eventually we’ll have to replenish it and we will see a benefit to the business over the next coming years,” he said.

From the Comments

– Come back to work in your twilight years to build missiles that will be used in a proxy war by people who want your grandchildren to cut off their genitalia before ultimately being replaced by 80 IQ 3rd world immigrants.

– Nuke false flag alert: The US has moved a WC-135R Constant Phoenix aircraft to Chania airbase, Crete. This aircraft is designed to collect infomation about radioactive radiation, typically released in nuclear tests. This may be part of the preparation for a nuclear false flag at the Zaphorozhia NPP.

July 2, 2023 8:44 am

“Vladimir Putin is clearly losing the War in Iraq.”

Well, the US does know what that looks like !

July 2, 2023 8:51 am

From American Thinker, an interesting take on why the left is so keen on transgenderism – short summary,

The leading edge of the sexual spear is so-called “transgenderism.” The combined assault on the body and brain destroys children’s relationships with their physical being, turns them against their families, and makes them dependent on the government for lifelong healthcare. The left has long understood this dynamic but, at long last, parents are beginning to figure this out.

I also liked their analysis of the Trump/Post Trump era, including the fabulous term ‘Vichy Republicans’:

Since 2008, Democrats have had the wind at their backs. Trump was a temporary roadblock, but they dealt with him thanks to Vichy Republicans, a corrupt administrative state, and a rigged election.

July 2, 2023 8:57 am

And from Zero Hedge:

According to The Telegraph, French police said they were “at war” with “savage hordes of vermin” on Friday night. The country’s top police unions threatened revolt unless Macron’s government restored law and order.

Notwithstanding the underlying forces that generated the disorder (hint, diversity divides), this is yet another example of the police showing their true colours – they ‘protect and serve’ the GOVERNMENT, not the people, including ‘othering’ the rioters, a necessary step in the violent oppression of them.

July 2, 2023 9:03 am

America has Just Destroyed a Great Empire

Michael Hudson The Unz review
Thu, 29 Jun 2023

Herodotus (History, Book 1.53) tells the story of Croesus, king of Lydia c. 585-546 BC in what is now Western Turkey and the Ionian shore of the Mediterranean. Croesus conquered Ephesus, Miletus and neighboring Greek-speaking realms, obtaining tribute and booty that made him one of the richest rulers of his time. But these victories and wealth led to arrogance and hubris. Croesus turned his eyes eastward, ambitious to conquer Persia, ruled by Cyrus the Great.

Having endowed the region’s cosmopolitan Temple of Delphi with substantial silver and gold, Croesus asked its Oracle whether he would be successful in the conquest that he had planned. The Pythia priestess answered: “If you go to war against Persia, you will destroy a great empire.”

Croesus therefore set out to attack Persia c. 547 BC. Marching eastward, he attacked Persia’s vassal-state Phrygia. Cyrus mounted a Special Military Operation to drive Croesus back, defeating Croesus’s army, capturing him and taking the opportunity to seize Lydia’s gold to introduce his own Persian gold coinage.

So Croesus did indeed destroy a great empire, but it was his own.

Fast-forward to today’s drive by the Biden administration to extend American military power against Russia and, behind it, China.

The president asked for advice from today’s analogue to antiquity’s Delphi oracle: the CIA and its allied think tanks.

Instead of warning against hubris, they encouraged the neocon dream that attacking Russia and China would consolidate U.S. control of the world economy, achieving the End of History.

Having organized a coup d’état in Ukraine in 2014, the United States sent its NATO proxy army eastward, giving weapons to Ukraine to fight an ethnic war against its Russian-speaking population and turn Russia’s Crimean naval base into a NATO fortress. This Croesus-level ambition aimed at drawing Russia into combat and depleting its ability to defend itself, wrecking its economy in the process and destroying its ability to provide military support to China and other countries targeted for seeking self-dependency as an alternative to U.S. hegemony.

After eight years of provocation, a new military attack on Russian-speaking Ukrainians was conspicuously prepared, ready to drive toward the Russian border in February 2022. Russia protected its fellow Russian-speakers from further ethnic violence by mounting its own Special Military Operation. The United States and its NATO allies immediately seized Russia’s foreign-exchange reserves held in Europe and North America, and demanded that all countries impose sanctions against importing Russian energy and grain, hoping that this would crash the ruble’s exchange rate. The Delphic State Department expected that this would cause Russian consumers to revolt and overthrow Vladimir Putin’s government, enabling U.S. maneuvering to install a client oligarchy like the one it had nurtured in the 1990s under President Yeltsin.

A byproduct of this confrontation with Russia has been to lock in America’s control over its Western European satellites.

The aim of this intra-NATO jockeying was to foreclose Europe’s dream of profiting from closer trade and investment relations with Russia by exchanging its industrial manufactures for Russian raw materials.

The United States derailed that prospect by blowing up the Nord Stream gas pipelines, cutting off Germany and other countries from access to low-priced Russian gas.

That left Europe’s leading economy dependent on higher-cost U.S. Liquified Natural Gas (LNG).

In addition to having to subsidize domestic European gas to prevent widespread insolvency, a large proportion of German Leopard tanks, U.S. Patriot missiles and other NATO “wonder weapons” are being destroyed in combat against the Russian army.

It has become clear that the U.S. strategy is not simply to “fight to the last Ukrainian,” but to fight to the last tank, missile and other weapon being deleted from NATO stocks.

This depletion of NATO’s arms was expected to create a vast replacement market to enrich America’s military-industrial complex.

Its NATO customers are being told to increase their military spending to 3 or even 4 percent of GDP.

But the weak performance of U.S. and German arms on the Ukrainian battlefield may have crashed this dream, while Europe’s economies are sinking into depression.

And with Germany’s industrial economy deranged by the severing of its trade with Russia, German Finance Minister Christian Lindner told the Die Welt newspaper on June 16, 2023 that his country cannot afford to pay more money into the European Union budget, to which it has long been the largest contributor.

Without German exports supporting the euro’s exchange rate, the currency will come under pressure against the dollar as Europe buys LNG and NATO replenishes its depleted weaponry stocks by buying new arms from America.

A lower exchange rate will squeeze the purchasing power of European labor, while lowering social spending to pay for rearmament and provide gas subsidies is plunging the continent into a depression.

A nationalist reaction against U.S. dominance is rising throughout European politics, and instead of America locking in its control over European policy, the United States may end up losing – not only in Europe but most crucially throughout the Global South.

Instead of turning Russia’s “ruble to rubble” as President Biden promised, Russia’s balance of trade has soared and its gold supply has increased. So have the gold holdings of other countries whose governments are now aiming to de-dollarize their economies.

It is American diplomacy that is driving Eurasia and the Global South out of the U.S. orbit. America’s hubristic drive for unipolar world dominance could only have been dismantled so rapidly from within.

The Biden-Blinken-Nuland administration has done what neither Vladimir Putin nor Chinese President Xi could have hoped to achieve in so short a period.

What has occurred is a change in consciousness.

We are seeing the Global Majority trying to create an independent and peacefully negotiated choice as to just what kind of an international order they want. Their aim is not merely to create alternatives to the use of dollars, but an entire new set of institutional alternatives to the IMF and World Bank, the SWIFT bank clearing system, the International Criminal Court and the entire array of institutions that U.S. diplomats have hijacked from the United Nations.

The upshot will be civilizational in scope.

We are seeing not the End of History but a fresh alternative to U.S.-centered neoliberal finance capitalism and its junk economics of privatization, class war against labor, and the idea that money and credit should be privatized in the hands of a narrow financial class instead of being a public utility to finance economic needs and rising living standards.

July 2, 2023 9:14 am

The Sorovkin Line

July 1, 2023 Sertorio

The best way to verify the failure of the current Ukrainian offensive, at least so far, is the discretion and silence of the media. Had the operation gone differently, it would have grabbed all the headlines.

But the sad reality is different: the fearsome German leopards have become an endangered species and a reward of one million rubles is given to the Russian serviceman who catches one of these vermin. Rheinmetall’s shares plummeted when the photos of German scrap metal made into phosphatin in the steppes of New Russia began to be published. But the fault lies not with the machines or the brave Ukrainians who dare to crew them, but with their sponsors—those who devised an offensive to satisfy Western investors’ need for victories.

Because this adventure was not designed on military criteria—but on marketing.

In recent weeks, the prestigious Western press has discovered that the Russians do not fight all thatbadly, that they seem to know something about artillery and fortification and that they are not just the horde of drunks and incompetents described to us by our “experts.”

Moreover, it has been proved that the Muscovite barbarians have an overwhelming air dominance and are very effective in electronic warfare, even more so than the invincible Americans. General Sergei Surovikin, who took over the leadership of the front line of the Special Military Operation in September last year, is to blame for all this.

When this general took command, the objectives of the Russian intervention in Ukraine were partly achieved: the essential one, which was to prevent the ethnic cleansing of the Donbass, and some secondary ones, such as the land link between Crimea and the rest of the Russian Federation, the control of the Sea of Azov and the destruction of the Ukrainian air force and a good part of its army. But the Maidan regime did not fall and the West succeeded in preventing a peace agreement in March and April 2022.

Another NATO success was the accelerated rearmament of Zelensky’s battered army. The few Russian troops guarding the front were not reinforced after the April political failure and in August-September the Ukrainian offensives in Kharkov and Kherson took place.

The first one was a success due to the poor coverage of that front, but the Russians managed to withdraw without great losses and after brilliant rearguard battles in Krasniy Liman, where they broke the Ukrainian encirclement twice.

The army of Kiev paid for its military success with a very high number of casualties, because Russian air superiority compensated in part for the low density of its ground forces. At Kherson, the Ukrainian offensive was a bloody failure, especially at the Ingulets, where the ford of that river cost thousands of dead in front a Russian line that remained unmoved. It was Surovikin’s fear that the Noya Kakhovka dam would burst and leave his thirty thousand men cut off from communication—which made him to take the most difficult decision of the Russian intervention: to abandon Kherson and withdraw to the right bank of the Dnieper. Political rather than military defeat for Russia and spectacular propaganda success for Zelensky.

Surovikin announced difficult decisions and the Special Military Operation changed course: three hundred thousand reservists with combat experience were mobilized, the front was fortified, the military deployment was given depth and density, and a war of attrition began in which Russian missiles severely damaged the enemy power grid and destroyed Ukrainian warehouses, airfields and military devices.

In August, the liberation of Artyomovsk (Bakhmut) by the Wagnerites began and Zelensky took the defense of the city as a personal challenge. After nine months of fighting and repeated refusals to retreat, “Zelensky’s Stalingrad” was conquered by the Russians in May, after causing seventy thousand casualties to the Kiev army. Another important fact: out of every ten Ukrainian dead in Artyomovsk, eight were killed by Russian artillery fire.

Nor is it insignificant that, contrary to what usually happens, the casualties of the attackers were lower (about forty thousand, of which there were about twenty thousand dead) than those of the defenders.

There were obvious signs that launching an offensive against the Surovikin Line was madness.

But in recent months Ukraine has undergone a mysterious eclipse: General Zaluzhny, the true national hero of that country, disappeared from the public stage and has been seen only in pictures of dubious authenticity.

His role in the political and military life of Ukraine has suddenly diminished, which is very important because, undoubtedly, he is the best replacement left for Kiev in case Zelensky’s regime collapses, which is less and less popular among his American sponsors, who are in growing disagreement with the British, the best allies of the current leader.

Zelensky has never paid much attention either to military advice or to the human cost of his initiatives.

If his heart did not tremble in the Ingulets or in Artyomovsk, neither has it trembled in Orekhovo, nor in the villages of the gray zone: Ukrainian elite brigades, armed and trained by NATO, like the famous 47th, have been sacrificed in an offensive that has barely touched the Russian front line.

July 2, 2023 9:40 am

“MSM pundits have been speculating that “Putin’s days are numbered”. Well, ok, but every person’s days are effectively ‘numbered’ and that includes leaders. So when you say ‘numbered’, what do you mean? Tomorrow? Next week? Next year?”


He’s 70, reportedly in ill health & politically weakened with no clear successor. I’m not making any predictions but we’d best prepare for a Russia without Putin.The Russian elites appear to be doing so.

July 3, 2023 8:48 am

He’s 70, reportedly in ill health & politically weakened with no clear successor. I’m not making any predictions but we’d best prepare for a Russia without Putin.The Russian elites appear to be doing so.

Let’s leave aside the varacity of these ‘reports’, are Russian interests likely to be any different post-Putin then now? I don’t think so. Then how is whoever comes after Putin going to be any different?

July 3, 2023 12:53 pm

Thanks Speedy, the best analysis in Australia. Well, in the absence of Jackie Lambie anyway.

July 3, 2023 4:46 pm

If Putin is damaged, there is no outward sign. Our contacts in Russia report last weekend’s events to be ‘interesting’, but nothing more. There is not the slightest murmur of support for Prigozhin* (although Wagner soldiers are respected) nor any wish to replace Putin. In fact, his approach has been described as calm and measured thereby preventing a possible wider confrontation.

Da Comrade, all is well! Dos vedanya, some more vodka!

I’d hate to see the place when things aren’t going well.

Old Goat
Old Goat
July 3, 2023 6:02 pm

I suspect there will be more “rebellions” before Russia finally wins . Major ongoing psyop being run here . Redistribution of forces without opposition and getting the secret opposition to show themselves . The old soviets would have disappeared anyone and everyone involved . Putin and Co are not to be underestimated .

July 3, 2023 6:39 pm

Monty still wiping the egg off his face from weekend before last.

  1. Could be crushed pain killers just like The Duck at Crown Perth that went nowhere. What a coincidence.

Oh, you think that, do you? Care to put it on record?x