• ssu
    8.3k
    Anyhow, the whole Wagner mutiny was an epic disaster and a loss of face for Putin. It's not a show of strength that Putin kills now the Wagner leadership, it's an obvious sign of weakness.

    Just ask yourself, why wasn't Prigozhin simply detained and court-martialed or faced a trial in the Russian justice system? Not only mutiny, but shooting down aircraft of the Russia Air Force would in any country be such an outrageous attack, basically multiple murders, hence the case ought to be very clear cut. Stalin had at least show trials for the most prominent victims of his purges.

    Now there's not even a thread of the state working as it should.

    If the leadership of a country cannot rely on it's own judicial system, but is left to use mobster killings, it's quite understandable that they can in turn be whacked too. And nobody will give a fuck about it, because the credibility has gone.
  • unenlightened
    8.9k
    Mutiny feint? Russian aircraft shot down feint? The mutineer then killed feint? :roll:ssu

    It's all part of Baldrick's Putin's Cunning Plan.



    to make us misunderestimate him.
  • neomac
    1.3k
    The question remains: if Prigozhin, Utkin and other prominent wagnerites are dead, what is the future of the Wagner mercenaries considering their pro-Russian activities in Africa? Are they going to be absorbed/replaced?
  • magritte
    553
    If Prigozhin is indeed dead, then the cause of death is quite obvious: he thought he made a deal with Putin.Jabberwock

    Prigozhin possibly had a deal with Putin which included a concession to stay out of Russian politics and foreign affairs. If he did, then he violated the terms of the deal by making sure he stayed in the public eye as a viable opposition leader both at home and abroad. Did he expect Putin to retire?
  • Count Timothy von Icarus
    2.3k
    Resorting to downing airliners over your own country isn't a good look in any case.

    More importantly than Prig's death though, Tokmak, a main Russian logistics hub and the ostensible primary intermediate goal of Ukraine's offensive seems to finally have come into at least base bleed artillery range, with what appear to be geolocated videos of the linchpin of Russia's southern logistics coming under heavy shelling.

    It's unclear how well they can move supplies and men once they lose that hub, but the amount of reserves they threw into defending it would suggest they also think it's important.
  • jorndoe
    3.5k
    Prigozhin and Utkin (+ 8 more) down, Surovikin out of commission, Zhidko gone by the way — actors in a gangsterdom writ large.

    WATCH: People lay flowers for Wagner founder Prigozhin outside HQ in St Petersburg
    — Euronews · Aug 24, 2023 · 1m



    Prigozhin plane crash: What's next after Wagner Group leader's apparent demise?
    — Shannon K Crawford · ABC · Aug 25, 2023

    Maybe Putin will try to install a trusted ruthless gangster somehow. As long as they can get fighting and money going.
  • ssu
    8.3k
    It's all part of Baldrick's Putin's Cunning Plan.
    to make us misunderestimate him.
    unenlightened
    Ah, you mean like Trump wasn't fumbling in his Presidency with his administration just waiting for the next thing he would say, but it all was just 4D Chess that we simply didn't figure out?

    So his move is to make himself look weak and his regime incapable of functioning as it should?

    Maybe Putin will try to install a trusted ruthless gangster somehow. As long as they can get fighting and money going.jorndoe
    It was the age old trick of separating your military to different competing parties in order to avoid an other power center than you emerging. First the division of Russian Armed Forces and the National Guard (which is headed by former bodyguard and friend of Putin) and then the use of private armies (which actually there are more than just the Wagner) when you want deniability.

    That works when all of the organizations remain loyal and compete for your for your attention. It's gone horribly wrong when they literally fight each other (something that basically is happening in Sudan right now). Then the whole system of "divide and rule" is only an underlying structural reason for weakness and instability.

    I would assume that now Putin will try to centralize the military again and won't let the entrepreneurial spirit of the private mercenary groups roam freely. But once you have created such a system, it isn't so easy to simply dismantle it. How long Prigozhin was still living after the mutiny and that he simply wasn't detained and court-martialed (with the same end result) just shows how fragile the situation is for Putin.

    (During the mutiny, Prigozhin sitting with Russian generals in Rostov on Don, who were or weren't his prisoners)
    g7ct0du8_wagner-1200_625x300_24_June_23.jpg

    And the scariest part is that by telling the truth about the war (with a populist way), Prigozhin started to have popularity. And that people lay flowers in memorials for Prigozhin just tells that Putin's control isn't anything compared to Stalin.
  • jorndoe
    3.5k
    In a radio interview, Danilov opines:

    Russia's fragmentation has begun. In the near future, a lot of interesting things will happen there. Let's wait and see. You shouldn't touch something when it's that hot. We should wait until it cools down a bit. Then we'll understand all the events that took place. Prigozhin wasn't crazy. The people who gave him the order to march on Moscow finally stopped him.Oleksiy Danilov (Aug 26, 2023)

    I'm not convinced that someone else in particular ordered Prigozhin to initiate their "march of justice". If enough of his people complained repeatedly (and/or died), then that might have given him a nudge in that direction.

    Wagner boss Prigozhin says his soldiers won’t sign contracts with Russian army
    — Wilhelmine Preussen · POLITICO · Jun 11, 2023
    Wagner fighters are furious and vowing vengeance after their leader Prigozhin's presumed death in a plane crash
    — Thibault Spirlet · Business Insider · Aug 24, 2023

    The first time was when I phoned him and negotiations (were taking) place while they were marching on Moscow. I told him: ‘Yevgeny, do you understand that you will doom your people and will perish yourself?’ He had just come back from the front. On an impulse he said: ‘I will die then, damn it![’]Alexander Lukashenko (Aug 26, 2023)
    The Belarusian leader said that during second time he spoke with Prigozhin he warned him “in no uncertain terms to watch it.”Alex Stambaugh, Katharina Krebs, Heather Chen · CNN · Aug 26, 2023
    I said: ‘If you are afraid of something, I will talk to President (Vladimir) Putin and we will extract you to Belarus. We guarantee full security to you in Belarus.’ And credit where credit is due, Yevgeny Prigozhin has never asked me to separately pay attention to security matters.Alexander Lukashenko (Aug 26, 2023)

    Says he "cannot imagine that Putin did it, that he is to blame" but suggests someone did, is to blame, though.

    Putin orders Wagner fighters to sign oath of allegiance
    — Andrew Osborn, Guy Faulconbridge, Kirsten Donovan · Reuters · Aug 26, 2023
    Putin's introduction of a mandatory oath for employees of Wagner and other private military contractors was a clear move to bring such groups under tighter state control. The decree, published on the Kremlin website, obliges anyone carrying out work on behalf of the military or supporting what Moscow calls its "special military operation" in Ukraine to swear a formal oath of allegiance to Russia. Described in the decree as a step to forge the spiritual and moral foundations of the defence of Russia, the wording of the oath includes a line in which those who take it promise to strictly follow the orders of commanders and senior leaders.
    [...]
    Russia's Baza news outlet, which has good sources among law enforcement agencies, has reported that investigators are focusing on a theory that one or two bombs may have been planted on board the plane.
  • ssu
    8.3k
    A German documentary on the occupation / de-occupation of the city of Kupyansk. Kupyansk is close the Luhansk. Hence this is more "Russian" parts of Ukraine and part of the areas which Putin has triumphantly annexed. The document clearly shows the brutal occupation and the cumbersome attempts of Russification. But it also show how some of the did work for Russia and as one Ukrainian activist estimates, about 20% to 25% of the people supported Russia. Now the Russians are out, but there artillery is still in range.



    Putin's introduction of a mandatory oath for employees of Wagner and other private military contractors was a clear move to bring such groups under tighter state control.
    Ah, That then solves it! With that mandatory oath, everything is fine now, I guess... :smirk:
  • Kevin Tan
    85
    Crazy world we're living in! I have many Ukrainian students. They tell me they have been in war for 10 years. From about the time the Dutch MH17 was shot down above Ukraine. It tells us something about the media and the way they function.
  • jorndoe
    3.5k
    , yeah, it's crazy. :/
    The Euromaidan protests started in Nov 2013, just prior to Russia grabbing Crimea.
    Protesters opposed what they saw as widespread government corruption, abuse of power, human rights violations,[ 91 ] and the influence of oligarchs.[ 92 ]
    In Feb 2014, the Russo-Ukrainian war started, and Russia grabbed Crimea.
    Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was shot down in Jul 2014.
    Almost a decade of warring as of typing.
    (In this context, I might use "Putin's Russia" rather than just "Russia", but that may just be me.)
  • Kevin Tan
    85
    Thanks! I don't know if I want to go into it any deeper. Many Ukrainians don't! They don't want to talk about the war. They just want to move on with their lives. Peace & blessings to you!
  • jorndoe
    3.5k
    FYI, GlobalFirepower has various military metrics giving some indications of relative strengths/weaknesses for different countries.

    Russia ranks high (worldwide) on tanks, self-propelled artillery, towed artillery, rocket projectors, and also aircraft fleet, attack aircraft, attack helicopter fleet, which is, apart from population size, pretty much what Ukraine is fighting (with help from others). However, Ukraine's helpers could probably establish air superiority relatively easily (also Jul 27, 2023; Jul 24, 2023; Jul 5, 2023).

    2023 Military Strength Ranking is an overall assessment based on 60 factors.
  • Tzeentch
    3.5k
    The Russians haven't been sitting still. They've recruited literally hundreds of thousands of troops. If we go back to the start of the war, they managed to occupy 20% of Ukraine while being significantly outnumbered. The Russian forces now outnumber the Ukrainians significantly. That should tell you enough about the current balance of power.

    Second, this Ukrainian offensive has been an unmitigated disaster and going way too slow. If the Russians feared any kind of breakthrough to begin with they've had ample time to react.

    The media you keep linking deal in the deadly drug called hopium, not reality.
  • jorndoe
    3.5k
    Axe writes:

    As Ukraine’s Counteroffensive Gains Momentum, Russia Is Deploying Some Of Its Last Good Reserves
    — David Axe · Forbes · Aug 27, 2023

    There was some chatter among Russian military bloggers echoing Axe, but who knows what's going on. There have also been rumors of TOS-1A MLRS deployments and of Russian command abandoning troops around Dnipro. I guess time will (or might) tell.

    Russian Neo-Nazi Paramilitary Group Issues Putin an Ultimatum: ISW (also ↑ Aug 26, 2023)
    — Andrew Stanton · Newsweek · Aug 27, 2023
    Rusich Group
    — Wikipedia

    The spiraling cost of war means growing economic pain for Russia
    — Clare Sebastian, Hanna Ziady, Anna Cooban, Tim Lister, Olesya Dmitracova · CNN · Aug 28, 2023

    Hard to tell what's going on with Capo dei capi.

    In follow-up to this Aug 23, 2023 comment:

    The Ukraine war, propaganda-style, is coming to Russian movie screens. Will people watch?
    — Dasha Litvinova, Jake Coyle · AP · Aug 28, 2023

    On cue.
  • ssu
    8.3k
    For Ukraine, the situation is like the US when facing Saddam's Iraq in Kuwait, but without any or little air power and far less troops and ground equipment. And a far more capable enemy. It was rather easy for US and allied forces to breach the Iraqi lines after a month long air campaign that flew over 100 000 sorties against Iraqi position (that were in a totally open desert). Take that away and yes, you make small advances. When you have multiple World War 1 -style entrenchments, I guess three in depth, advancing through them is slow without air power.

    Furthermore, I think that Surovikin did actually a fairly good job at simply going to this fortified defensive lines: it's courageous for a general to basically admit that your army cannot attack, maneuver and gain territory, but simply goes on the defensive behind entrenched lines and huge minefields.
  • jorndoe
    3.5k
    The media you keep linkingTzeentch

    FMI, do you mean GlobalFirepower? ISW? FOCUS online? Another one?

    Some rough estimates of troop sizes ...

    Russia
    Pre-invasion at border: 169,000 - 190,000 military + paramilitary + 34,000 separatist militias, 4, 5
    Pre-invasion total: 900,000 military 6, 554,000 paramilitary 6
    In February 2023: + 200,000 newly mobilised soldiers 7
    In May 2023: 300,000+ active personnel in Ukraine 8

    Ukraine
    Pre-invasion total: 196,600 military 9, 102,000 paramilitary 9
    July 2022 total: up to 700,000 10
  • Tzeentch
    3.5k
    FMI, do you mean GlobalFirepower? ISW? FOCUS online? Another one?jorndoe

    ISW has been the prime peddler of nonsense and some of the other articles refer to their claims. At this point the ISW is little more than a mouthpiece of the US DoD / MIC (which they're funded by, by the way).


    But to pick some slogans that I saw passing by:

    1. "The next defensive line will be weaker than the last"

    2. "The offensive is picking up steam"

    3. "The offensive was targeted at the strongest part in the Russian lines"


    These are all claims that don't pass the basic military common sense test:

    1. Defense in depth gets stronger with depth.

    2. Offensives produce quick results or they fail.

    3. Offensives are targeted at weak points in the enemy line.


    Some rough estimates of troop sizes ...jorndoe

    Russia has almost ten times the GDP of Ukraine and a vastly larger manpower pool to draw from.

    Do these numbers pass the common sense test in your mind?

    EDIT: I was actually thinking about CSIS and not ISW, so some of my criticism was wrongly addressed. My gripe with their claims still stands though, and I am similarly suspicious of ISW's affiliation.
  • jorndoe
    3.5k
    The Russian forces now outnumber the Ukrainians significantly. That should tell you enough about the current balance of power.Tzeentch
    vastly larger manpower poolTzeentch

    Well, some more numbers... Russia (largest country in the world) is about 28 times the size of Ukraine, GDP is about a factor 15 (not per capita), population is about 4 times larger. Ukraine has been and is receiving a good deal of help: civil, arms. It's unclear exactly what, but, likely, Russia has been / is receiving some stuff from China, Iran, North Korea, maybe others. In terms of home production, unlike Russia, Ukraine hasn't really had that much (though they've been inventive with drones and such, including old stuff), but are reportedly working with Rheinmetall, Baykar, and others to set up Ukrainian production. Sanctions has some effects on Russia's arms production.

    Anyway, I haven't seen indications that there are significantly more Russian than Ukrainian fighters in Ukraine at the moment. But the Kremlin has spent a significant amount of shells and rockets (and troops) in 17 or 18 months of warring. Reports suggest much more unity among Ukrainians (and hate towards the invaders).

    ↑ I think most of this stuff is repetition
  • Tzeentch
    3.5k
    Anyway, I haven't seen indications that there are significantly more Russian than Ukrainian fighters in Ukraine at the moment.jorndoe

    Then again my point:

    If the Russians managed to capture 20% of Ukraine while outnumbered, how could the Ukrainians ever hope to go on the offensive successfully?

    Going on the offensive is extremely difficult and costly, and if anything the troop counts have shifted into Russia's favor.

    But the Kremlin has spent a significant amount of shells and rockets (and troops) in 17 or 18 months of warring. Reports suggest much more unity among Ukrainians (and hate towards the invaders).jorndoe

    Russia is reportedly enjoying a between 5 and 10 to 1 artillery advantage. That's massive, especially considering artillery is perhaps the single most important factor in a war of attrition.

    I understand the desire to turn this into something positive, but the bottomline is the Russians have vastly more firepower than the Ukrainians, and that's a terrible situation to be in as first-hand accounts of the Ukrainian frontlines attest to. Constant artillery shelling takes a real toll on people.
  • jorndoe
    3.5k
    , I was commenting on these, mostly the former (emphasis mine by the way):

    The Russian forces now outnumber the Ukrainians significantly. That should tell you enough about the current balance of power.Tzeentch
    vastly larger manpower poolTzeentch

    How many Russian and Ukrainian troops do you think there are in Ukraine at the moment?

    There's that vastly again, though about firepower this time:

    the Russians have vastly more firepower than the UkrainiansTzeentch
  • Tzeentch
    3.5k
    How many Russian and Ukrainian troops do you think there are in Ukraine at the moment?jorndoe

    I have no idea, truth be told. If any trustworthy sources exist for these numbers I have yet to see them.

    However, Russia's GDP and population size imply it has the capability to field a vastly bigger army, and I find information on those figures trustworthy enough to produce a rough estimate of the balance of power. Even the most charitable interpretation paints a bleak picture for Ukraine.

    The fact that Russia outnumbers the Ukrainians by a comfortable margin is a matter of common sense to me.

    There's that vastly again, though about firepower this time:jorndoe

    That the Russians enjoy a large artillery advantage is accepted fact at this point, and a matter of common sense as well based on the indicators I named earlier. Mearsheimer often cites the 5-10:1 artillery advantage.


    The Ukrainian media themselves talks about these matters here:

    The Russian military indeed enjoys very strong numerical superiority.

    Russia's numerical superiority, and its endless munitions stock, the result of decades of Soviet production, have had a devastating effect on the course of the war.

    The disproportion between the number of Russian and Ukrainian pieces deployed to a particular front line area can go as far as 10 to 1.


    I don't take sources very seriously in this war - the amount of information warfare going on makes it all untrustworthy, but again, these are just matters of common sense. It should be obvious to anyone with a functioning brain.
  • Jabberwock
    334
    That the Russians enjoy a large artillery advantage is accepted fact at this point, and a matter of common sense as well based on the indicators I named earlier. Mearsheimer often cites the 5-10:1 artillery advantage.Tzeentch

    It was an accepted fact a year ago, now things have changed rather significantly.
  • jorndoe
    3.5k
    As an aside, the Ukrainian counteroffensive have been propped up considerably by the press (and others), resulting in expectations (timewise in particular), and perhaps pressure, without consulting involved tacticians on the ground, relevant facts, etc. It's not entertainment; it's people fighting to free themselves from crap that's come up in the thread, struggling to go EU, whatever it all is. In some ways, the propping-up might work against the defense efforts. I suppose we might ask what a general (deaf to that press) would do in the current situation, with our limited facts.

    , yeah, high cost of being friends with Prigozhin (or sharing some of his ideas), including for the Kremlin, but it seems they took Surovikin off the board.

    , 28 times the country size and 4 times the population are reliable; 4 times the troops in Ukraine is rather doubtful. Also, Wagner loss. Russia has (surely had) a comprehensive stock of artillery and rockets (GlobalFirepower). They've used (some of) it generously. Lots of rockets and drones downed. Ukraine is getting some help. ← hardly hopium
  • jorndoe
    3.5k
    Are those organized hackers Russian these days?

    FBI and European partners seize major malware network in blow to global cybercrime
    — Frank Bajak, Stefanie Dazio · AP · Aug 29, 2023
    Cybersecurity researchers say they are believed to be in Russia and/or other former Soviet states
    the far-flung mostly Russian-speaking criminals

    Who are Anonymous Sudan? Hacker group behind behind Twitter outage mocks Elon Musk’s rebrand
    — Saqib Shah · Evening Standard · Aug 29, 2023
    cybersecurity experts have traced its roots to a murky ecosystem of Russian cybercriminals
    the experts said the group appeared to belong to a coterie of Russian hacktivist collectives with names such as KillNet and UserSec

    Well, the Anonymous hacker group has attacked Russia and taken credit.
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