02Pilot
02Pilot UberDork
6/8/22 3:41 p.m.

In reply to stroker :

Indulge me a bit of theory before I get to the specifics. What you are describing is, broadly, the traditional view of liberal internationalists, namely that societies/countries/peoples are generally benign, but they can be led astray by bad leaders/ideas/circumstances. The trouble with applying this to Russia is that no one there has experienced anything like a high-functioning Russian state in living memory. To put it another, more philosophical way, is Russia a failed state if Russians don't think it is? Coming from Soviet communism and the "Hungry 90s," what seems bad to us may just seem like a continuation of various miseries that have been ongoing for decades. You use the term "turnaround" - my question is turnaround to what? Russians without education and significant exposure abroad don't know anything else.

Now, as for how this plays out with Russia's neighbors, well, that's a different question. I don't think China wants anything to do with interior Russian territory. They've shown themselves quite content to pour money into infrastructure projects that allow them to exploit other countries' natural resources, and I see no reason why they wouldn't follow the same model in Russia. Consider it this way - what does China or the Stans or anyone else stand to gain from pushing in their own people? It's not like Russia's version of democracy is going to be transformed by major demographic shifts in remote areas.

For the West, it's a Catch-22 as long as Putin (or similar) is in power, unless we're willing to play the realist approach, which generally we are not. As long as internationalists are calling the shots, the West will vilify Putin, making any sort of arrangement virtually impossible politically ("We don't negotiate with tyrants"). I've said from the beginning that Putin's aims are to secure his own position and do what he can to strengthen Russia, which he knows is playing a weak hand. The only way Putin is going to be cooperative with anything the West wants is if he gets something worthwhile out of the deal. Now that the lines have been drawn - and this is entirely Putin's fault; it would have been much easier for everyone to make a deal without the invasion - Putin has his own Catch-22: even if the West offered him a great deal to shift away from China, he has so painted them as Russia's enemies that he will undermine his own credibility if he accepts a deal from them.

What does this mean for the average Russian? Probably just more of the same misery that's been going on for generations.

stroker
stroker UberDork
6/8/22 4:00 p.m.

In reply to 02Pilot :

Okay, fair enough.  Our lens may be looking for colors in the Russian spectrum that do not exist.   If so, I find that pretty damned depressing, personally, but your argument is compelling.  So would I be too far off describing it (in Western terms) as a "serf state controlled by a perennially non-representative leadership using varied economic models"?

 

02Pilot
02Pilot UberDork
6/8/22 4:16 p.m.

In reply to stroker :

No, I think your description is broadly applicable, as long as you include industrial and (to a lesser extent) tech alongside agriculture in the spectrum of serfdom. If you do that, it covers Russia from the czars through today with very few exceptions.

NOHOME
NOHOME MegaDork
6/8/22 4:19 p.m.

In reply to stroker :

Part of the problem form many countries is that the corruption IS the status quo and it works quite predictably and well so there is no interest in making it go away, only change so that it might work for you. When I lived in Nigeria,  ( another country that was rich in resources) I knew that I could bribe myself into or out of any situation I wanted. Those without the means just wanted to rise to my position. Russia is the same situation just raised to oligarch level. Nigerians who had scammed their way to fortune were looked upon as rock stars and celebrities. Pretty sure that russia works the same way.

Noddaz
Noddaz UberDork
6/8/22 5:37 p.m.

Damn this is somewhat of a depressing topic.  But that is just me.

And unless Putin has some sort of 50 year plan for this, at what point is the whole thing just too expensive for Russia?

Let me inject a small bit of levity.

 

Stolen without permission from Gary Larson. (Thank you!)

 

bearmtnmartin (Forum Supporter)
bearmtnmartin (Forum Supporter) UltraDork
6/9/22 2:22 p.m.

If Russia is looking for a good way to bring the West into the war for real they can try executing foreign fighters. 

https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/separatist-donbas-region-issues-death-penalty-captured-british-moroccan-fighters-2022-06-09/

stroker
stroker UberDork
6/9/22 3:00 p.m.
Noddaz said:

And unless Putin has some sort of 50 year plan for this, at what point is the whole thing just too expensive for Russia?

 

 

It wouldn't surprise me if Putin's successor brings this to a screeching halt.  I think our functioning timeline is linked to Vlad's existence on the mortal coil...

Kreb (Forum Supporter)
Kreb (Forum Supporter) PowerDork
6/9/22 4:16 p.m.
stroker said:
Noddaz said:

And unless Putin has some sort of 50 year plan for this, at what point is the whole thing just too expensive for Russia?

 

 

It wouldn't surprise me if Putin's successor brings this to a screeching halt.  I think our functioning timeline is linked to Vlad's existence on the mortal coil...

I've heard the opposite - that some of Putin's closest confidante's think that Russia just isn't committing enough resources to the conflict. Just like the folks who think that we lacked the "will to win" in Vietnam.

aircooled
aircooled MegaDork
6/9/22 4:38 p.m.

Update:  (not much different)

 

  • Russian forces continued assaults against Ukrainian positions in Severodonetsk. Russian forces simultaneously seek to outflank Ukrainian positions in the region to avoid the necessity of making an opposed crossing of the Siversky Donets river.
  • Russian forces are continuing operations around Sviatohirsk and west of Lyman to link up with operations southeast of Izyum and drive on Slovyansk.
  • Russian forces are intensifying their operations in northwestern Kherson Oblast in response to recent Ukrainian counterattacks.
  • Russian forces in Zaporizhia Oblast are focusing ground and artillery attacks near the Zaporizhia-Donetsk Oblast border and likely are seeking to strengthen control of the highway between Vasylivka-Orikhiv and Huliapole to support operations in northeast Zaporizhia.
  • Russian-backed occupation authorities are attempting to set conditions for the political integration of occupied areas into the Russian Federation but are likely acting independently and in an incoherent manner due to the lack of a unifying occupation authority.
  • Russian forces intensified psychological and information operations to degrade Ukrainian morale.

The last note is interesting.  Some more info:

According to the report, citizens of Kherson Oblast are receiving calls from unidentified actors that pose a series of manipulative and leading questions in order to sway their opinions on Russia, the war, the occupation, and Russian President Vladimir Putin. The GUR stated that the results of these manufactured “polls” will be used by occupation authorities to argue that Ukrainian citizens think favorably of Russia in order to make the case for annexation.

The Russian-appointed mayor of Melitopol, Galina Danilchenko, announced on June 8 that Melitopol is preparing for its own referendum on joining Russia.[30] The fact that a singular city, as opposed to an entire occupied region, is preparing for a referendum may indicate that occupied territories are pursuing ad hoc annexation and integration plans without a unifying occupational body to oversee the annexation of the entire region.

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) MegaDork
6/9/22 5:35 p.m.

In reply to Kreb (Forum Supporter) :

I am unsure if Russia physically has enough resources, the way they are conducting their operations.

 

Kreb (Forum Supporter)
Kreb (Forum Supporter) PowerDork
6/9/22 5:44 p.m.

In reply to Pete. (l33t FS) :

I hear you, but since Putin's actions haven't been well grounded in current realities, it's not too much of a stretch to think that he'd be surrounded by similarly deluded true believers.

aircooled
aircooled MegaDork
6/9/22 6:03 p.m.

As I remember, they asked Andropov what was the most difficult about the Chernobyl disaster, and his answer was something like:  "getting accurate information" 

If you have not seen the mini-series Chernobyl on HBO, and can, you should (warning, it can be a bit harsh at times).  It gives a good perspective (and essentially the basic narrative of the doc) on how things "worked" in the Soviet Union.  Just think of massive bureaucratic ass covering combined with protecting the image of the state at all costs, and you have a pretty good idea. 

I really don't think things have changed much since then.

 

They did have a good Soviet Union joke in the series that went something like this:

    "What smokes heavily, moves slowly, breaks down a lot and cuts three holes?"

     "A Soviet machine for cutting two holes"

There apparently are many many jokes like this that came from within the CCCP.  The populace was painfully aware how absurd their country was.

Noddaz
Noddaz UberDork
6/9/22 6:41 p.m.

Well now.  The world now knows where it stands.

 

Live news updates: Putin says it is his ‘destiny’ to ‘return and fortify’ territories to Russia

Putin

 

aircooled
aircooled MegaDork
6/13/22 2:22 p.m.

A quick update.  Not much changing.  No sign of the Ukrainian offensive yet.  The Russians are making a bit of progress trying to encircle the Ukrainians at Severodonetsk.  I am not sure why the Russians are making progress in general.  Maybe their aviation and artillery advantage is showing through.

  • Russian forces continued ground assaults in Severodonetsk and blew up bridges that connect Severodonetsk to Lysychansk across the Siverskyi Donets River in a likely attempt to cut Ukrainian ground lines of communication (GLOCs) that run from Bakhmut to Lysychansk and Severodonetsk.
  • Russian forces made incremental gains to the southeast of Izyum and will likely continue attempts to advance on Slovyansk from the northwest.
  • Russian forces continued efforts to push Ukrainian troops back from contested frontlines northeast of Kharkiv City.
  • Russian forces focused on maintaining defensive lines along the Southern Axis.

Noddaz
Noddaz UberDork
6/15/22 1:20 p.m.

Bump.

Ukraine defies Russian ultimatum for eastern city, NATO urged to send more weapons  

Ukraine

 

 

aircooled
aircooled MegaDork
6/15/22 2:47 p.m.

Based on the article.  It looks like the US is planning on another billion of aid.

Not sure that spending will looked on as favorably going forward, considering the current situation in the US.

frenchyd
frenchyd MegaDork
6/15/22 4:38 p.m.

In reply to aircooled :

A billion here a billion there is really a tremendous bargain considering the possible outcome.   Ukraine is taking down the Russian economy  using their manpower and courage.   All the US is doing is providing some stockpiled US weapon systems of marginal use to our future needs.  
   It sounds more noble than its is to say a billion more dollars worth. 

aircooled
aircooled MegaDork
6/15/22 5:30 p.m.

Well... not exactly taking down.  As most know, Russia is essentially a petro state:

Russia reaps huge oil, gas profits despite Western sanctions

...Russia is poised to earn nearly $321 billion from its energy exports this year — up more than a third compared to the previous year, according to Bloomberg. In April alone, Russia expects $9.6 billion more from energy sales than it initially projected due to high prices.

That’s partly because the European Union remains heavily reliant on Russian gas and has so far declined to cut off shipments due to fears of an energy crisis.

Accordingly, proceeds from energy exports have handed Russia a key source of revenue despite escalating sanctions meant to cripple its economy....

https://nypost.com/2022/04/11/russia-earning-huge-oil-gas-profits-despite-western-sanctions/

 

The real weak point of the Russians will be their people.  How many more will they give?  Historically, they have recklessly given a LOT.

Was the 'Soviet human wave' evoked by by certain Wehrmacht generals, such as Erich von Manstein ...

frenchyd
frenchyd MegaDork
6/15/22 5:55 p.m.

In reply to aircooled :

You assume Russia had no other use for those Petrol dollars.  Like develop and sell those vast stretches of timber or metals in a totally undeveloped region.  
          If Russia could stop picking up Penny's  and focus on the riches already known to existRussia     has the potential to exceed even American net worth. 

Kreb (Forum Supporter)
Kreb (Forum Supporter) PowerDork
6/15/22 6:02 p.m.

 

The real weak point of the Russians will be their people.  How many more will they give?  Historically, they have recklessly given a LOT.

Like most countries, I think that Russians would put up a hell of a fight when invaded, but there are limitations to what they'll accept if they are mired in a war of aggression. Of course the Russian propaganda machine is doing everything that it can to cast the invasion as defensive, but the real question would seem to be how long will the people buy the lie?

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) MegaDork
6/15/22 6:02 p.m.

In reply to frenchyd :

That is the sad part.  Russia is strong in resources, has a strong population with some really brilliant minds... they could accomplish SO much, if they were not hamstrung by the kind of corruption that basically has defined the area since recorded history.

Kreb (Forum Supporter)
Kreb (Forum Supporter) PowerDork
6/15/22 6:11 p.m.

That is the sad part.  Russia is strong in resources, has a strong population with some really brilliant minds... they could accomplish SO much, if they were not hamstrung by the kind if corruption that basically has defined the area since recorded history.

That story keeps getting played all over the world. Whether its Venezuela, Russia, Libya or a couple dozen other countries. It's such a damn shame.

I really don't get greed and lust for power. Seriously, I'd rather be at a block party with my friends than on a yacht with a bunch  of douchebags and emaciated "models".  

 

aircooled
aircooled MegaDork
6/15/22 6:51 p.m.

I am sure Russia could make MUCH better use of their money, but this is what they are using it for, and the money train, despite Western efforts has not stopped.

Because of that, Russia should be able produce what they need equipment wise, in a basic sense at least.  They will likely have issues with any higher tech items.  It does not appear China is helping them with much of anything at this point, which is good (and I think in their interest), because they could probably help a lot, technology wise.

frenchyd
frenchyd MegaDork
6/15/22 7:31 p.m.
Pete. (l33t FS) said:

In reply to frenchyd :

That is the sad part.  Russia is strong in resources, has a strong population with some really brilliant minds... they could accomplish SO much, if they were not hamstrung by the kind of corruption that basically has defined the area since recorded history.

May have had a strong population in the past but they are down to only 122 million. So many of them seek gratification elsewhere. Be it drugs or Aides, alcohol,  or diseases.  Their birth rate isn't even big enough to sustain half of their present population.  
   Tech savvy intelligent Russians are leaving Russia in droves.  Finding opportunities in countries eager for them.  
  Look at their athletic programs.  They have to dope up a major portion of their players to compete.  
  Corruption is so Common that few can begin to hope in getting ahead based on hard work and merit. 
   Finally. Service in the military is so onerous and cruel that they use the draft or conscription rather than incentives.   
     Soldiers like that will only fight if threatened with worse treatment for not fighting.  

frenchyd
frenchyd MegaDork
6/15/22 7:58 p.m.
aircooled said:

I am sure Russia could make MUCH better use of their money, but this is what they are using it for, and the money train, despite Western efforts has not stopped.

Because of that, Russia should be able produce what they need equipment wise, in a basic sense at least.  They will likely have issues with any higher tech items.  It does not appear China is helping them with much of anything at this point, which is good (and I think in their interest), because they could probably help a lot, technology wise.

Don't forget the oil and gold fields in Russia are just north of China.  What is called the NORTHERN RESOURCE REGION  by some in China.  
 Russia and China have periodically been at war over just that matter 

  In fact the railroad network in Northern China is far more advanced than demand requires.  

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