In his famous book "Icebreaker" Victor Suvorov describes the signs that indicate the preparation of the country (in that case the USSR) to invade a neighboring state (it was about the Third Reich in 1941 and Czechoslovakia in 1968). The description included everything from such minor details as the issuance of new boots to soldiers, to such strategically important as the construction of new military airfields closer to the border.
Theses from this best-selling Soviet fugitive spy came to mind today, against the background of escalating tensions along the entire Ukrainian-Russian state border, the demarcation line between Ukraine and the temporarily occupied territories, and even on the Ukrainian-Moldovan border near the unrecognized Republic of Transnistria. . Is it possible to impose these theses on the current situation? Obviously, to some extent. After all, the tactics of warfare have changed during that time, and even more so changed various details that would directly or indirectly indicate the preparation of an aggressive neighbor for the invasion. Now, for example, the means of tracking the movements of the enemy are not comparable to those that were 80 years ago. In addition, more attention is paid to the information component of the war, the preparation of foreign policy, psychological impact on its population and the population of the country against which aggression is being prepared.
Propaganda art training
And if you take a purely informational and propagandistic aspect, it is quite possible to assume that Russia is still preparing for the invasion. After all, again, as in 2014, various tear-jerking fictional stories like a 5-year-old boy killed by a Ukrainian drone in the occupied part of Donetsk region are thrown into the information space. Russian mass media are fueling the situation with stories about the preparation of the Armed Forces of Ukraine for a large-scale offensive, about the constant violation by the Ukrainian side of the Minsk agreements and the ceasefire agreement.
all this is reminiscent of the Soviet and Nazi propaganda of 1939. The Third Reich, seeking excuses for the attack on Poland, staged a well-known Gliwice provocation, blaming the Poles. And before the attack on Finland, the USSR staged a "Mainil incident" in which Finnish artillery allegedly fired on Red Army positions.
"It is necessary to fall from this country"
A powerful propaganda attack by the Kremlin would have already alerted. Especially when this is coupled with a significant concentration of Russian troops on the border with Ukraine. "As of March 30 this year, 28 battalion tactical groups of the enemy are being held along the state border of Ukraine and in the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine and the Autonomous Republic of Crimea," said Colonel-General Ruslan Khomchak, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. In addition, according to him, the Russian armed forces are drawing additional forces to the border with Ukraine under the pretext of military exercises and training.
All this information made a strong impression not only on ordinary citizens of Ukraine, but even on people's deputies. "We are listening to Khomchak. It is necessary to bring down from this country », - the member of faction« Servant of the people »Anna Kolesnik wrote in the messenger on the smartphone.
Opposition politicians and publicists later used the message to mock President Volodymyr Zelensky. Like, he was the first to listen to the advice of Ms. Kolesnik and "dumped" in Qatar. From jokes, some have shifted to serious accusations of almost treason against the head of state, who left the country at such a busy time.
Well, Zelensky's Qatari visit can be interpreted as such. It can also be used as an attempt to attract new investors to the Ukrainian economy and conclude new agreements beneficial to the state. And it can also be used as evidence that no serious threats have loomed over Ukraine. By his example, Zelensky seems to be telling us: look, I can easily make a foreign visit, leave the country, because I know for sure that there is no real danger, that all this is another Russian bluff.
Indeed, serious military analysts say that at least in the coming months, we should not expect any threatening activities from Russia. Although there are enough Russian troops under the border that civilian rail transport has suffered from this in Russia recently, there is a lack of complexity of troops and equipment for a full-fledged large-scale offensive on Ukraine. Temporary military airfields are not being built near the borders, and military hospitals are not being deployed. And many smaller signs suggest that no attack should be expected in the near future.
By the way, Russia has already resorted to such psychological pressure on Ukraine in the spring of 2014. According to Ukrainian border guards, during the operation to occupy the Crimea, the Russians brought their armored vehicles close to the border strip in various parts of the border every night, turned on the headlights, gassed, but never crossed the border. Just intimidated. Like, just try to fight back in the Crimea, we will immediately go on the attack on Kiev.
International experts point out at the moment that the Kremlin is currently in an extremely unfavorable foreign policy situation to take drastic action. Europe and the United States are preparing "hellish sanctions" against Russia, so by its aggression Moscow will completely deprive the arguments of those Western politicians who are adherents of the tactics of reconciliation with Russia. The West has not forgotten the poisoning and imprisonment of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, and the package of sanctions in this case may be significantly strengthened. And the notorious "Nord Stream-2", now it hangs on a hair that is getting thinner and thinner from the arrival of another negative news from Russia. An open invasion of Ukraine will finally put an end to this Gazprom megaproject. And perhaps the current intimidation intimidation will suffice.
Economic analysts, for their part, argue that, given the difficult situation in Russia's economy, the country will not actually wage a major and protracted war. After all, no matter how the Ukrainian army is mocked, it is no longer what it was seven years ago. It is much better equipped, armed, motorized, trained (thanks, in particular, to Western instructors). So he will be able to give a real rebuff to the Russian aggressor.
Will Western allies help us repel Russian aggression? No more than yes. But you should definitely expect from them additional high-tech weapons, the same anti-tank missiles Javelin, from which Russian armored vehicles have no protection, anti-artillery and anti-missile radars, armored personnel carriers, etc. One can also hope for an increase in the number of Western military instructors who have been working with Ukrainian soldiers since the beginning of the Russian-Ukrainian war.
What is Russia really trying to achieve?
Why, given all this, is Russia continuing its provocations at the border? Because this is her eternal tactic. The Kremlin hopes that this bluff will achieve certain foreign and domestic goals. First of all, Moscow is trying to gain more flexibility from Ukraine, it wants to force it to implement its part of the Minsk agreements without the implementation of security measures by Russia, without the withdrawal of Russian troops from Donbass, without establishing Ukrainian control abroad.
In the game with the European Union and the United States, Russia is trying to raise rates so that there are better positions for trading. The Kremlin is convinced that if the West is intimidated by the war in Europe, it will agree to do anything to prevent it.
In the domestic political field, the Kremlin, and especially Vladimir Putin, is trying to restore the rating of the ruling party, which has significantly shrunk recently. Given that elections to the State Duma are imminent, the Russian president is resorting to an old-fashioned method: playing the card of external threat, saying to the Filipinos about the American military and its "Ukrainian puppets" who are preparing their provocations again, about "Iskanders" who are not afraid of sanctions. (but explode, as we know only 10%). In other words, with such urapartiotic hysteria, Putin will try to increase the ratings of United Russia. Like, there, in Donbass, Ukrainian "punishers" are preparing for an attack to kill Russian children, to rape Russian women. But Putin is not giving up, he will protect the Russians there and even Russian-speakers, whom the Kremlin boss also considers "his own."
And what is interesting: if in the official Russian mass media there is a thesis about the peaceful Russian people and military provocations of Ukraine and the West, then the allegedly independent, but in fact Kremlin-controlled media make a completely different statement - something like "we can repeat" and "tanks visas are not needed. " For example, in the information portal "Rosbalt" and others like him, an interview of a certain Russian "military expert" Pavel Felgenhauer, who is actually a biologist by education, even a candidate of biological sciences, is spread. He frightens the whole world that the war will start in a month at most.
"Everything will be ready in early May. The decision was made… Three large landing ships of the Baltic Fleet crossed the English Channel accompanied by a corvette, heading south. There will be a total of ten such combat units, plus small landing. You can assemble up to two divisions, taking into account the air force. A real "landing in Normandy" in the Russian version. And the place of action was chosen, apparently, unprotected coast between Nikolaev and Odessa, in depth of the Ukrainian strategic defense », - Felgenhauer confidently declares.
Interesting justification, isn't it? But for some fantasy novel. The expert apparently forgot that the Kerch Bridge has already been built, which can easily transport all the attacking equipment to the place of the collision, there is a long Ukrainian-Russian border and a concentration of Russian troops near it. But no, he really needs a landing like Normandy. Well, for more military drama.
Consequences of intimidation
But let's see if all these Putin horror stories work? Work, but exactly the opposite. As needed, Ukraine is strengthening its defensive lines and does not intend to make any concessions or provocations. Zelensky, as has already been said, instead of being hysterical, flew calmly to Qatar, showing the Kremlin his complete disregard. In addition, from a man who was hard to suspect of sympathizing with the North Atlantic Alliance, the Ukrainian president has become a staunch NATO member. His recent statements were aimed at obtaining a MAP and joining the Western military bloc as soon as possible.
Western countries and blocs as a team express support for Ukraine, its territorial integrity and even its Euro-Atlantic aspirations. US President Joe Biden, whose anticipation of the call has become almost a national idea, called his Ukrainian counterpart and solemnly promised that the United States would not leave Ukraine in trouble.
More and more Western politicians, given the escalation of tensions on the Ukrainian-Russian border, have begun to abandon Russia's policy of appeasing. Significant in this context is the statement by German Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer about the threat to the European region emanating from Russia. According to her, Germany should spend more on defense, based on its interests, and not to "do a favor to the United States." "The challenges are growing - with new technologies, in the form of a hybrid threat, but also at the regional level, taking into account the behavior of Russia," - said the head of the German military. She acknowledges that "Germany is at the center of attacks that may be linked to Russia." Quite unexpectedly, given that German politicians have so far expressed confidence that no threat to their security comes from Russia.
Other Western countries are also preparing for potential Russian invasions. First of all, Finland and Norway, which have a border with Russia. But Sweden is not far behind. The militarization of the Kaliningrad region is a growing concern there. Stockholm is increasingly being asked the question: shouldn't we join NATO?
In fact, Putin used his ax game to raise rates to lead the world to a new Cold War. I doubt that the Russian leader sought just such a development. Because it is known how the previous "cold war" ended. And the Soviet Union was much stronger and less vulnerable than modern Russia. And Russia's main vulnerability is that the current owners of life there keep most of their assets in the West. There are their villas, yachts, children, women and mistresses. It will be much easier to oppress oligarchs from Putin's inner circle than members of the Politburo of the CPSU Central Committee. Therefore, the fate of the new "cold war" is actually decided in advance.
P.S. This is if the Kremlin is really bluffing, and all of the above speaks in favor of this statement. However, independent Russian political scientist Valery Solovey recently suggested that everything can be expected from Putin. "Unfortunately for Russia, for Ukraine too, the decision is made not by the institute, not by the Federation Council, not by the Security Council, but only by one person who is in an extremely unstable mental state - this is a key risk factor," the political scientist warned. .
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