18 October 2022

Putin's war comes home

For most of the duration of Putin's invasion of Ukraine, the majority of Russians have either supported the aggression or at least not objected too energetically.  The war did not affect them much, except insofar as Western sanctions did.  That is now changing, thanks to Putin's ill-advised and stunningly incompetent mass mobilization.

Authorities are now simply grabbing men more or less at random off the streets, in workplaces, at railway stations -- anywhere groups of men can be found.  The victims of these pressgangs are being sent to the front in Ukraine with negligible training, often mere days after being "recruited", often with grossly inadequate weapons and supplies.  This is a recipe for mass slaughter.  It's also a recipe for mass unrest, since pretty much any man in  Russia knows he could fall victim at any moment.  Besides the extensively-covered hordes of men fleeing the country or trying to, others are making efforts to hide or to avoid places where the regime's thugs are likely to catch them.  For the first time, the war is posing a real threat to the safety of ordinary Russians.

(There's another potential problem looming.  Putin's recruiters have been targeting convicted criminals in prison, offering them pardon and release in exchange for military service.  Some of these convicts have been taking the deal, then deserting from the army, with their weapons, and forming armed gangs to commit robberies and other crimes in Russia.  The average Russian will not be very happy to see bands of hardened criminals with military weapons roaming the country and terrorizing people.)

Throughout the war there have been reports from across Russia of urban protests and acts of resistance such as bombings of military recruitment centers.  Now that almost all Russians potentially feel threatened (men directly, and women via the danger to male relatives), we shouldn't be surprised if opposition to the war escalates to a mass level.  Already the head of the mobilization campaign has apparently been murdered, and extra security for "mobilization teams" has been put in place.  The regime's enforcers are becoming scared of the people.

There are also already signs of conflict along ethnic and religious lines (non-Russian ethnic minorities, who are mostly Muslim, have been disproportionately used as cannon fodder throughout the war).  For example, a shootout between Muslim and ethnic-Russian soldiers at a military training site reportedly killed as many as thirty people.  If anti-military unrest combines with ethnic conflict, not only the regime but the integrity of the country itself could be in danger.  And the loss of tens of thousands of young men killed and wounded in Ukraine, and hundreds of thousands who have fled, doesn't bode well for Russia's future.

Putin thought he was making Russia great again by invading Ukraine.  He may go down in history as the man who ended Russia's great-power pretensions once and for all.


Anonymous NickM said...

OK, Revolution 101...

Get a lot of people really pissed off,

Arm them and put them in (somewhat) organised groups,

Wait a little while...


18 October, 2022 04:25  
Blogger SickoRicko said...

Poor, poor Putin.

18 October, 2022 07:46  
Blogger Lady M said...

Let's hope it bites that son of a bitch in the ass and one of his own citizens assassinates him.

18 October, 2022 08:42  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

NickM: I guess he didn't think of that. These guys never realize how hated they are behind the façades they make people maintain.

Ricko: Sob.....

Lady M: Couldn't happen to a more deserving guy!

18 October, 2022 10:27  
Anonymous NickM said...

I think he was genuinely popular due to his control of the media and certain aspects of Russian culture - they have a very long "victim streak". But wars have a disturbing way of revealing truths... I mean no ammount of propaganda brings your son back to life. Anyway, think about the horror stories from Vietnam and you got the same Hell compressed from 10 years into just over 6 months. No angular momentum from Moscow can spin that. I can see Russia descending into utter anarchy over this because I can't see a Plan B. Infidel - you did get me thinking about this with what you said about the Shah of Iran. There, there was a Plan B - not a fun one but the Ayatollahs had been planning and scheming

18 October, 2022 12:05  
Anonymous Reaganite Independent said...

The reality of all this is coming as a hideous shock to the Russian homefront. Putin’s deal with them was ‘don’t worry about it’, I know what I’m doing— and none of this will affect you.

Obviously he didn’t know what he was doing, and now they have plenty to worry about

He set them up for a short war – but it’s turning out to be a long one. Selling it this way was a gamble on top of a gamble. Like Russian Roulette with five bullets.

I’d bet many knew Putin’s tales of Russian national victimhood and fiction-based casis belli were nonsense from the start— but this had no bearing on their conscious, was easier to just go along with comforting Kremlin propaganda as long as it wasn’t their problem. Now it is.

It might look stable on the surface, but the cracks are showing and there’s no way this conscription hasn’t permanently damaged Putin’s support in the country. It’s not like he’s going to be able to justify it with some victory, there’s none coming

Good stuff Infidel, duly linked

18 October, 2022 23:02  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

NickM: I think the speed with which the Ukraine disaster has unfolded has temporarily muted the impact. The Vietnam war lasted over a decade and there was plenty of time for Americans to see that tens of thousands of lives were being thrown away uselessly by a lying government fighting an unwinnable war. Russia has suffered a comparable number of deaths, but it takes time for the magnitude of the losses to sink in and overwhelm the lies of the regime. It's likely to be explosive when the masses realize how many have been killed, though.

Tin-of-Pu seems to have been so convinced of his own infallibility that he never seriously considered that a plan B might be necessary. I'm reminded of Hitler's invasion of the USSR. He was so sure he would win in just four months that he didn't even bother to order winter clothing for the army.

Reaganite: Unfortunately, the more hideous the shock, the better. The Russian people waking up and rising up is the only way I can see this thing ending without further mountains of corpses and wrecking of cities. Putin is winding down the special mobilization, but the first conscriptees are already coming back from Ukraine in body bags. Many more will follow, if he keeps feeding hundreds of thousands of barely-trained random guys into the meat grinder. There will be plenty to fuel further outrage.

Thanks for the link!

19 October, 2022 06:05  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Agreed 100% on all points. Hopefully from their suffering comes growth, but self-awareness first. Russia is a country that really needs to take a long, deep look in the mirror.

21 October, 2022 02:33  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That was me Reaganite LOL, Forgot to post my name

21 October, 2022 02:34  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Profound reform is possible -- see Germany and Japan. Of course, that required a long occupation, which is unlikely to happen in Russia.

21 October, 2022 06:03  
Anonymous nick said...

Thanks for that commentary, which is very revealing about the mass mobilisation programme. Scary indeed that ordinary Russian men are being seized at random and sent to the frontline with little training or resources. Surely support for the invasion must be steadily dribbling away?

21 October, 2022 08:37  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

One would certainly expect that. We'll have to see if there is an increase in mass resistance. If the prospect of being grabbed off the street at random and fed into a combat meat-grinder doesn't incite people to fight back, nothing will.

21 October, 2022 20:01  
Blogger Kwark said...

I fear that the likely mass slaughter of Russian conscripts at the front will be just one more thing hidden by Moscow for as long as possible so we may have a longer wait than we'd like before anything even approaching mass resistance appears in Moscow.

22 October, 2022 20:02  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

I'm sure they'll try to hide it. That gets difficult as more and more body bags come back, though.

22 October, 2022 20:56  
Anonymous NickM said...

Yesterday, I had the gas appliances checked over. This involved looking in the hot water tank. Floating in that was a sealed test tube containing an adult human pre-molar. I have no idea.

26 October, 2022 03:29  

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