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Old 15th October 2022, 05:08 AM   #1
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The Russian invasion of Ukraine part 6

Mod InfoContinuation of thread from here: http://www.internationalskeptics.com...9#post13924509 as ever feel free to refer to previous thread etc (as long as it is on topic!!).
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Old 15th October 2022, 06:04 AM   #2
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http://www.internationalskeptics.com...6#post13924046

Quote:
In the Russian media there are two types: The pro-war camp, and the very pro-war camp.

People in the west sometimes hear the very pro-war camp predict failure and misread that to mean that this or that person is opposed to the war. This is often wrong, they are instead claiming that Russia will lose unless Russia ramps things up to the Nth degree and really hammers Ukraine (even if Russia has no real ability to do that much anymore). Like MacArthur wanting to use nukes and invade China to win the Korean war.
A point I made several hundred posts upthread was that, if Putin gets deposed, it's most likely by the ultra-nationalists, which would not be good. People seem to think that, if Putin goes, the replacement regime will be an improvement. Well, that's not guaranteed.

Another mistake people make is that the population is becoming anti-war and they use the mass-exodus of conscription age men as evidence. Well, these people aren't necessarily against the war, only their own participation in it. They know the war is going badly but that doesn't mean they think it's not justified, only that they think it is being prosecuted badly.

Quote:
What is interesting is that some of the very pro-war people have gone silent or missing over the past few days. This include some of the Russia-side war correspondents (like WarGonzo) and bloggers (Igor Girkin), with rumors that they might be prosecuted. These guys have repeatedly criticized the Russian war effort, but always from the side of complaining that the Russian government is not doing enough to win. They never side with Ukraine, just admit or predict some Ukrainian victories and tie those to appeals to send more Russian troops, supplies, armor and ammo or else the "Ukronazis" will win.
My speculation is that Putin is concerned about the threat to himself from the more powerful very-pro-war people and is taking steps to eliminate it.

Quote:
That's an interesting development, one that bears watching (or is "bares watching"? I really don't know.) I don't really know what to make of it.
bears.
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Old 15th October 2022, 06:27 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by jeremyp View Post
http://www.internationalskeptics.com...6#post13924046



A point I made several hundred posts upthread was that, if Putin gets deposed, it's most likely by the ultra-nationalists, which would not be good. People seem to think that, if Putin goes, the replacement regime will be an improvement. Well, that's not guaranteed.

Another mistake people make is that the population is becoming anti-war and they use the mass-exodus of conscription age men as evidence. Well, these people aren't necessarily against the war, only their own participation in it. They know the war is going badly but that doesn't mean they think it's not justified, only that they think it is being prosecuted badly.


My speculation is that Putin is concerned about the threat to himself from the more powerful very-pro-war people and is taking steps to eliminate it.


bears.
Girkin has apparently been mobilised.

https://eadaily.com/ru/news/2022/10/...at-dobrovolcem
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Old 15th October 2022, 07:02 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by jimbob View Post
Girkin has apparently been mobilised.

https://eadaily.com/ru/news/2022/10/...at-dobrovolcem
Your link actually says:
Quote:
The former Minister of Defense of the DPR, a retired FSB colonel, 51-year-old Igor Strelkov (Girkin), went to fight as part of one of the volunteer units.
About Igor Girkin: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Igor_Girkin.
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Old 15th October 2022, 07:17 AM   #5
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When he gets killed in action it will sadly prevent the relatives of all his many victims seeing him dragged to court for his crimes, including the shooting down of MH17.
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Old 15th October 2022, 09:02 AM   #6
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To poke at something said on the last thread about Musk claiming to be losing money on Starlink in Ukraine, despite Poland, the UK, and the US already paying for most of it, his numbers don't make sense.

If the rates he claims he'll be able to offer Starlink service for generally are correct, Starlink has made at least a small profit off the units sent to Ukraine. If the costs cited in the letter to the Pentagon are correct, then Starlink will not be a viable operation at the rates Musk says he will continue to offer to the rest of the planet.

Most of the units sent to Ukraine are the home units, with plans between $60-150 USD, yet Starlink claims it costs them $4,500 a month each unit.

At least some part of this is nonsense, possibly all of it.
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Old 15th October 2022, 09:16 AM   #7
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To poke at something completely different: I wonder how much of the ongoing Russian collapse in Ukraine is due to "projection" (for lack of a better term).

What I mean is, to what degree does the leadership really believe that western societies and economies industries are on the same basis as their Russian counterparts? The Russian military-industrial complex is profoundly corrupt, and spends most of what little funds it has propping up aspirational mock-ups or prototypes. So maybe they believe the same is true of the western MIC? Maybe they read all those articles trashing the F-35 as a dysfunctional waste of money that isn't even stealthy, and believe it must be true? The read about graft and bribery and cost overruns, and assume our new fighter exists in no greater numbers their new fighter? Etc.

Maybe they even looked at how rampant homosexual hazing is in their army, when they officially oppose homosexuality and try to root it out. Maybe they figured, the NATO armies that actually welcome gays must be ten times more dysfunctional.

Maybe in the same way they didn't realize how far short of their paper strength the Russian army had fallen, they also didn't realize just how far beyond that strength NATO was, even with all its corruption and incompetence and neopronouns. Maybe they figured that Ukraine, having imbibed western degeneracy in the form of NATO "training" for the past eight years, would be even more corrupt and dissolute than the Russian forces coming at them.
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Old 15th October 2022, 09:30 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
... Maybe they even looked at how rampant homosexual hazing is in their army, when they officially oppose homosexuality and try to root it out. Maybe they figured, the NATO armies that actually welcome gays must be ten times more dysfunctional.
Oh, well, that's not a sex thing. It's just what Western snowflakes would call a team building exercise, you know, toughen them up. It wouldn't be allowed in decadent countries where everyone's terrified to tread on anyone's "rights" which is why they are so weak and Russia stronk.
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Old 15th October 2022, 09:33 AM   #9
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There is no replacement for Putin who would be worse than Putin - simply because no one would have the level of control he has. Any new leader would be paralyzed by infighting.
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Old 15th October 2022, 09:38 AM   #10
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Plus anyone in his inner circle of advisors and gatekeepers probably has a more realistic idea of the situation and of Russia's chances than he does. So even if they harbor the same neofascist, ultranationalist, Greater Russian sentiments, they're going to be more inclined to withdraw, lick their wounds, push a Great Betrayal narrative, and try to make a comeback ten years on. Rather than go out in a tantrumic blaze of nuclear "glory" right now.
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Old 15th October 2022, 09:46 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
......
What I mean is, to what degree does the leadership really believe that western societies and economies industries are on the same basis as their Russian counterparts? The Russian military-industrial complex is profoundly corrupt, and spends most of what little funds it has propping up aspirational mock-ups or prototypes. So maybe they believe the same is true of the western MIC? Maybe they read all those articles trashing the F-35 as a dysfunctional waste of money that isn't even stealthy, and believe it must be true? The read about graft and bribery and cost overruns, and assume our new fighter exists in no greater numbers their new fighter? Etc.
.....
Answering that question requires knowing how much access Russians have to foreign sources of information. Considering how tightly Putin controls and manipulates the Russian media, what does somebody have to do to see the BBC and CNN, read foreign newspapers, etc.? I wonder if, at the highest levels, seeking alternative sources might be seen as disloyal or worse. And even if you do find out the facts, do you want to try to tell Putin he's wrong?
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Old 15th October 2022, 09:46 AM   #12
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If Putin is gone, 80+% of the efforts of the Russian State will go into finding and taking his billions.
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Old 15th October 2022, 09:51 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by jeremyp View Post
A point I made several hundred posts upthread was that, if Putin gets deposed, it's most likely by the ultra-nationalists, which would not be good. People seem to think that, if Putin goes, the replacement regime will be an improvement. Well, that's not guaranteed.
I think it's very likely (but of course not certain) that in the short term any replacement regime, whether internally `better' or not, will behave better. Not for any moral reasons, but simply because they know the invasion is turning out as a disaster, and it's much easier for a new regime to withdraw without loss of face. (They can explicitly blame Putin for mistakes, or his advisers, or say that the objectives were already achieved a while ago, or whatever. Mostly things that Putin himself could easily have said before the fake referendums, but a new regime can still say them now.)
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Old 15th October 2022, 09:53 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Bob001 View Post
Answering that question requires knowing how much access Russians have to foreign sources of information. Considering how tightly Putin controls and manipulates the Russian media, what does somebody have to do to see the BBC and CNN, read foreign newspapers, etc.? I wonder if, at the highest levels, seeking alternative sources might be seen as disloyal or worse. And even if you do find out the facts, do you want to try to tell Putin he's wrong?

I've read that ordinary Russians can use VPNs to access foreign media. In fact, the government has been running a disinformation campaign to discourage people from using VPNs by falsely claiming that their use exposes one to identity theft.
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Old 15th October 2022, 09:54 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by Bob001 View Post
Answering that question requires knowing how much access Russians have to foreign sources of information. Considering how tightly Putin controls and manipulates the Russian media, what does somebody have to do to see the BBC and CNN, read foreign newspapers, etc.? I wonder if, at the highest levels, seeking alternative sources might be seen as disloyal or worse. And even if you do find out the facts, do you want to try to tell Putin he's wrong?
I'm factoring in foreign sources of information. Part of what I'm wondering is if they believe the BBC and CNN are no more than western counterparts to RussiaToday. Simply parroting state propaganda about wunderwaffen that don't really exist.
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Old 15th October 2022, 10:04 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by Jack by the hedge View Post
When he gets killed in action it will sadly prevent the relatives of all his many victims seeing him dragged to court for his crimes, including the shooting down of MH17.
Yeah this **** is a dead man walking. I'm a little surprised he didn't commit suicide or fall out of a window. I would like to see him charged in Ukraine and spend the rest of his life in the custody or a country he doesn't think has a right to exist. Putin will have him whacked first.
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Old 15th October 2022, 10:26 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by Michel H View Post
Your link actually says:

About Igor Girkin: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Igor_Girkin.

"Girkin was dismissed in August 2014, after 298 people died when Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was shot down. Dutch prosecutors have charged Girkin and three others for murder,[7][8][9] and issued an international arrest warrant against him.[10] Girkin has admitted "moral responsibility" but denies pushing the button"
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Old 15th October 2022, 10:34 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by SpitfireIX View Post
I've read that ordinary Russians can use VPNs to access foreign media. In fact, the government has been running a disinformation campaign to discourage people from using VPNs by falsely claiming that their use exposes one to identity theft.
It's an open question how many ordinary Russians do so, and how many of those that do see western media sources as qualitatively different than their Russian counterparts.
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Old 15th October 2022, 10:47 AM   #19
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The free world cannot accept so-called referendums conducted during war or foreign occupation. Therefore Ukraine does have the right to try to retake Crimea. Unless we start seeing mass demonstrations there in support of the Russian annexation.
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Old 15th October 2022, 10:48 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by The Great Zaganza View Post
There is no replacement for Putin who would be worse than Putin - simply because no one would have the level of control he has. Any new leader would be paralyzed by infighting.
Originally Posted by The Great Zaganza View Post
If Putin is gone, 80+% of the efforts of the Russian State will go into finding and taking his billions.
Yes to these

Originally Posted by Meridian View Post
I think it's very likely (but of course not certain) that in the short term any replacement regime, whether internally `better' or not, will behave better. Not for any moral reasons, but simply because they know the invasion is turning out as a disaster, and it's much easier for a new regime to withdraw without loss of face. (They can explicitly blame Putin for mistakes, or his advisers, or say that the objectives were already achieved a while ago, or whatever. Mostly things that Putin himself could easily have said before the fake referendums, but a new regime can still say them now.)

Also true. Any successor who deposes Putin would want to trash his reputation.
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Old 15th October 2022, 11:03 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by tyr_13 View Post
To poke at something said on the last thread about Musk claiming to be losing money on Starlink in Ukraine, despite Poland, the UK, and the US already paying for most of it, his numbers don't make sense.

If the rates he claims he'll be able to offer Starlink service for generally are correct, Starlink has made at least a small profit off the units sent to Ukraine. If the costs cited in the letter to the Pentagon are correct, then Starlink will not be a viable operation at the rates Musk says he will continue to offer to the rest of the planet.

Most of the units sent to Ukraine are the home units, with plans between $60-150 USD, yet Starlink claims it costs them $4,500 a month each unit.

At least some part of this is nonsense, possibly all of it.
The $4,500 per month looks like the cost of the maritime version of Starlink which is the highest tier you can buy. From a military point of view, that's probably what you want. I imagine it offers the best guaranteed bandwidth and works a long way from any ground stations. The latter point would be important if SpaceX is reluctant to build any ground stations in a country currently at war with its neighbour.

If $4,500/month is what it actually costs SpaceX to operate a maritime connection, I'd be gravely concerned for the financial viability of Starlink. But note that it isn't just the operational costs that count: SpaceX probably has some pretty large loans it needs to service since it is not free to put the satellites in space or buy the terminals and you have to have them before you can sell any subscriptions.
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Old 15th October 2022, 11:06 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by Hercules56 View Post
The free world cannot accept so-called referendums conducted during war or foreign occupation. Therefore Ukraine does have the right to try to retake Crimea. Unless we start seeing mass demonstrations there in support of the Russian annexation.
Even then.
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Old 15th October 2022, 12:10 PM   #23
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And we won't. Look at what Ukraine did on the eve of invasion. Their citizens made Laverov Cocktails, lined to up to be issued rifles and ammunition and built barricades. What happened in Crimea? People there raced to the ferries, went to the grocery store to stock up and filled up on gasoline. People in Crimea aren't there to fight. They want to either leave or stay in their homes until it's all over.
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Old 15th October 2022, 01:46 PM   #24
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News stories about Russia are stating that the head of Wagner is working on ousting the defense minister. Okay, what happens after that?

If Utkin can put a puppet in the job, he can control the Russian defense ministry. But he will have somebody else in place to take the fall when things don't get better.

If Utkin takes the job himself, things still won't improve since the fundamental problems are outside of the minster's control. When he cannot fix the problems, he will be in trouble. Easiest way to not end up on the wrong side of Putin is to make sure Putin is not a threat. And the guy has his own army.

Wagner group probably will at some point be seen as a threat to Putin anyway. Just a question of how fast that happens. Did these people ever read "The Prince"? Machiavelli had a lot to say about mercenaries and it isn't positive.
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Old 15th October 2022, 01:55 PM   #25
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The Russian invasion of Ukraine part 6

Originally Posted by Doubt View Post
News stories about Russia are stating that the head of Wagner is working on ousting the defense minister. Okay, what happens after that?

If Utkin can put a puppet in the job, he can control the Russian defense ministry. But he will have somebody else in place to take the fall when things don't get better.

If Utkin takes the job himself, things still won't improve since the fundamental problems are outside of the minster's control. When he cannot fix the problems, he will be in trouble. Easiest way to not end up on the wrong side of Putin is to make sure Putin is not a threat. And the guy has his own army.

Wagner group probably will at some point be seen as a threat to Putin anyway. Just a question of how fast that happens. Did these people ever read "The Prince"? Machiavelli had a lot to say about mercenaries and it isn't positive.

Heh, especially Swiss mercenaries. Once you let them in, you’ll never get rid of them. And Machiavelli was right, just look at the pope’s life guard.


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Old 15th October 2022, 02:13 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by Doubt View Post
News stories about Russia are stating that the head of Wagner is working on ousting the defense minister. Okay, what happens after that?

If Utkin can put a puppet in the job, he can control the Russian defense ministry. But he will have somebody else in place to take the fall when things don't get better.

If Utkin takes the job himself, things still won't improve since the fundamental problems are outside of the minster's control. When he cannot fix the problems, he will be in trouble. Easiest way to not end up on the wrong side of Putin is to make sure Putin is not a threat. And the guy has his own army.

Wagner group probably will at some point be seen as a threat to Putin anyway. Just a question of how fast that happens. Did these people ever read "The Prince"? Machiavelli had a lot to say about mercenaries and it isn't positive.

Wagner aren't really conventional mercenaries, more like a deniable arm of the Kremlin.

But yes I was referencing The Prince on Twitter earlier today, as it does have parallels with Italian politics around the time of writing, and with the owners of several power bases competing for position when the current, weakened, leader goes.
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Old 15th October 2022, 04:27 PM   #27
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"Eleven Russian soldiers killed in mass shooting by fellow volunteers"

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Old 15th October 2022, 04:41 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by GlennB View Post
"Eleven Russian soldiers killed in mass shooting by fellow volunteers"

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Old 15th October 2022, 05:12 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by jimbob View Post
Wagner aren't really conventional mercenaries, more like a deniable arm of the Kremlin.
That just makes them sound like the Pretorian guard. Same ending is likely.
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Old 15th October 2022, 11:25 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by SpitfireIX View Post
I've read that ordinary Russians can use VPNs to access foreign media. In fact, the government has been running a disinformation campaign to discourage people from using VPNs by falsely claiming that their use exposes one to identity theft.
I'd say they could, if they had an internet connection and knew languages other than Russian. For the masses outside the big cities both are doubtful.
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Old 16th October 2022, 12:46 AM   #31
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Originally Posted by Doubt View Post
That just makes them sound like the Pretorian guard. Same ending is likely.
That is a closer analogy.l, I think, and which I have used.

There are several competing power bases. And the players seem to be behaving as though Putin's irrelevant.

I do think a lot of recent Russian military actions can be understood in terms of manouvering for a bloody palace fight after Putin.
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Old 16th October 2022, 03:14 AM   #32
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Originally Posted by GlennB View Post
"Eleven Russian soldiers killed in mass shooting by fellow volunteers"

Guardian
That's terrific. This sort of thing will breed timidity in officers. If Russian commanders at all levels know murdering them is a real option for their soldiers, they'll be more timid in the battlespace.
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Old 16th October 2022, 04:13 AM   #33
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Originally Posted by The Great Zaganza View Post
There is no replacement for Putin who would be worse than Putin - simply because no one would have the level of control he has. Any new leader would be paralyzed by infighting.
Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
Plus anyone in his inner circle of advisors and gatekeepers probably has a more realistic idea of the situation and of Russia's chances than he does. So even if they harbor the same neofascist, ultranationalist, Greater Russian sentiments, they're going to be more inclined to withdraw, lick their wounds, push a Great Betrayal narrative, and try to make a comeback ten years on. Rather than go out in a tantrumic blaze of nuclear "glory" right now.
Originally Posted by The Great Zaganza View Post
If Putin is gone, 80+% of the efforts of the Russian State will go into finding and taking his billions.
Originally Posted by Meridian View Post
I think it's very likely (but of course not certain) that in the short term any replacement regime, whether internally `better' or not, will behave better. Not for any moral reasons, but simply because they know the invasion is turning out as a disaster, and it's much easier for a new regime to withdraw without loss of face. (They can explicitly blame Putin for mistakes, or his advisers, or say that the objectives were already achieved a while ago, or whatever. Mostly things that Putin himself could easily have said before the fake referendums, but a new regime can still say them now.)
I really hope you are all correct, but I'm not as optimistic.

An ultra nationalist successor to Putin may decide to end the war by levelling Ukraine with tactical nukes. That wouldn't be a rational thing to do, but it would have the support of a lot of Russians and rationality, even now, is not something that Russia seems to do.

To me, all your arguments seem to be rationalising what you want to happen. I'm not saying that they are necessarily wrong (except the one about spending 80% of their effort tracking down Putin's money - that is ridiculous), I'm just saying the evidence for them is only as good as the evidence for the worst case scenario

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Old 16th October 2022, 04:23 AM   #34
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Originally Posted by Hercules56 View Post
The mutiny continues.
Denys Davydov characterised it as a dispute between Muslims conscripts and Christian conscripts.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IsJ5bzt47r0

It sounds credible but, whilst checking for this post, I couldn't find any sources to back up the assertion.
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Old 16th October 2022, 04:35 AM   #35
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Originally Posted by timhau View Post
I'd say they could, if they had an internet connection and knew languages other than Russian. For the masses outside the big cities both are doubtful.

There are independent Russian-language news websites; additionally, the Voice of America and the BBC maintain Russian-language pages. Finally, at least some Ukrainian news organizations' websites are available in Russian.

As for lack of Internet access, I would argue that the big cities, especially Moscow and St. Petersburg, are the places where discontent is most likely to fester, and most likely to cause problems for Putin.
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Old 16th October 2022, 05:34 AM   #36
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Originally Posted by jeremyp View Post
I really hope you are all correct, but I'm not as optimistic.

An ultra nationalist successor to Putin may decide to end the war by levelling Ukraine with tactical nukes. That wouldn't be a rational thing to do, but it would have the support of a lot of Russians and rationality, even now, is not something that Russia seems to do.

To me, all your arguments seem to be rationalising what you want to happen. I'm not saying that they are necessarily wrong (except the one about spending 80% of their effort tracking down Putin's money - that is ridiculous), I'm just saying the evidence for them is only as good as the evidence for the worst case scenario
If WE can't have it NO-one can! Rational if the elimination of Democracy and Western Mores in Ukraine are more important to the Nationalists than being treated as a total pariah for the foreseeable future.
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Old 16th October 2022, 05:38 AM   #37
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Originally Posted by jeremyp View Post
Denys Davydov characterised it as a dispute between Muslims conscripts and Christian conscripts.



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IsJ5bzt47r0



It sounds credible but, whilst checking for this post, I couldn't find any sources to back up the assertion.
I read they were from a minority ex USSR country, so the type of people Putin wants to die for Russia but aren't worth any respect.
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Old 16th October 2022, 05:57 AM   #38
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Originally Posted by jeremyp View Post
I really hope you are all correct, but I'm not as optimistic.

An ultra nationalist successor to Putin may decide to end the war by levelling Ukraine with tactical nukes. That wouldn't be a rational thing to do, but it would have the support of a lot of Russians and rationality, even now, is not something that Russia seems to do.

To me, all your arguments seem to be rationalising what you want to happen. I'm not saying that they are necessarily wrong (except the one about spending 80% of their effort tracking down Putin's money - that is ridiculous), I'm just saying the evidence for them is only as good as the evidence for the worst case scenario
If Putin ends up face-down in his stroganoff, it will be because the financial impact of the war is hurting the interests of the oligarchs. Nuking Ukraine into oblivion won't make money for anyone. Putin built a kleptocracy and now the kleptocrats can't earn.
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Old 16th October 2022, 10:07 AM   #39
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Originally Posted by jeremyp View Post
I really hope you are all correct, but I'm not as optimistic.

An ultra nationalist successor to Putin may decide to end the war by levelling Ukraine with tactical nukes. That wouldn't be a rational thing to do, but it would have the support of a lot of Russians and rationality, even now, is not something that Russia seems to do.

To me, all your arguments seem to be rationalising what you want to happen. I'm not saying that they are necessarily wrong (except the one about spending 80% of their effort tracking down Putin's money - that is ridiculous), I'm just saying the evidence for them is only as good as the evidence for the worst case scenario
I could also imagine such an ultra-nationalist pushing again with a big conventional offensive, one last exhaustive Hail Mary blitz in the most brutal Russian tradition. Putin's hands are somewhat tied in that regard because he's trying to balance these ultra's against the pushback from families concerned about the deaths of their loved ones. Ultranationalists, however would come to power on the promise of ignoring concerns about casualties. That would be very unsustainable and would deplete an already depleted Russian military. But in the short term it would make life in Ukraine more miserable again for awhile.

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Old 16th October 2022, 11:35 PM   #40
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Another good (and lengthy) Perun video. This one is looking at air defence/air superiority

YouTube Video This video is not hosted by the ISF. The ISF can not be held responsible for the suitability or legality of this material. By clicking the link below you agree to view content from an external website.
I AGREE
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