It’s fascinating to see how Russian war correspondents are now playing a role similar to the former political commissars in the USSR.
By Pepe Escobar and first posted at Strategic Culture
President Putin’s meeting with a group of Russian war correspondents and Telegram bloggers – including Filatov, Poddubny, Pegov from War Gonzo, Podolyaka, Gazdiev from RT – was an extraordinary exercise in freedom of the press.
There were among them seriously independent journalists who can be very critical of the way the Kremlin and the Ministry of Defense (MoD) are conducting what can be alternatively defined as a Special Military Operation (SMO); a counter-terror operation (CTO); or an “almost war” (according to some influential business circles in Moscow).
It’s fascinating to see how these patriotic/independent journalists are now playing a role similar to the former political commissars in the USSR, all of them, in their own way, deeply committed to guiding Russian society towards draining the swamp, slowly but surely.
It’s clear Putin not only understands their role but sometimes, “shock to the system-style”, the system he presides actually implements the journalists’ suggestions. As a foreign correspondent working all over the world for nearly 40 years now, I have been quite impressed by the way Russian journalists may enjoy a degree of freedom unimaginable in most latitudes of the collective West.
The Kremlin transcript of the meeting shows Putin definitely not inclined to beat around the bush.
He admitted there are “operetta Generals” in the Army; that there was a shortage of drones, precision munitions and communication equipment, now being addressed.
He discussed the legality of mercenary outfits; the necessity of sooner or later installing a “buffer zone” to protect Russian citizens from systematic Kiev regime shelling; and he stressed that Russia will not answer Bandera-inspired terrorism with terrorism.
After examining the exchanges, a conclusion is imperative: Russian war media is not staging an offensive even as the collective West attacks Russia 24/7 with its massive NGO/soft power media apparatus. Moscow is not – yet? – fully engaged in the trenches of information warfare; as it stands Russian media is only playing defense.
All the way to Kiev?
Arguably the money quote of the whole encounter is Putin’s concise, chilling evaluation of where we now stand in the chessboard:
“We were forced to try to end the war that the West started in 2014 by force of arms. And Russia will end this war by force of arms, freeing the entire territory of the former Ukraine from the United States and Ukrainian Nazis. There are no other options. The Ukrainian army of the US and NATO will be defeated, no matter what new types of weapons it receives from the West. The more weapons there are, the fewer Ukrainians and what used to be Ukraine will remain. Direct intervention by NATO’s European armies will not change the outcome. But in this case, the fire of war will engulf the whole of Europe. It looks like the US is ready for that too.”
In a nutshell: this will only end on Russia’s terms, and only when Moscow evaluates all its objectives have been met. Anything else is wishful thinking.
Back on the frontlines, as pointed out by the indispensable Andrei Martyanov, first-class war correspondent Marat Kalinin has conclusively laid out how the current Ukrainian metal coffin counter-offensive has not been able to reach even the first Russian line of defense (they are a long – highway to hell – 10 km away). Everything NATO’s top proxy army ever assembled was able to accomplish so far was to get mercilessly slaughtered on an industrial scale.
Meet General Armageddon in action.
Surovikin had eight months to place his footprint in Ukraine and from the beginning he understood exactly how to turn it into a whole new ballgame. Arguably the strategy is to completely destroy the Ukrainian forces between the first line of defense – assuming they ever breach it – and the second line, which is quite substantial. The third line will remain off limits.
Collective West MSM is predictably freaking out, finally starting to show horrendous Ukrainian losses and giving evidence of the utter accumulated incompetence of Kiev goons and their NATO military handlers.
And just in case the going gets tough – for now a remote possibility – Putin himself has delivered the road map. Softly, softly. As in, “Do we need a march on Kiev? If yes, we need a new mobilization, if not, we do not need it. There is no need for mobilization right now.”
The crucial operative words are “right now”.
The end of all your elaborate plans
Meanwhile, away from the battlefield, the Russians are very much aware of the frantic geoeconomic activity.
Moscow and Beijing increasingly trade in yuan and rubles. The ASEAN 10 are going all out for regional currencies, bypassing the US dollar. Indonesia and South Korea are turbo-charging trade in rupiah and won. Pakistan is paying for Russian oil in yuan. The UAE and India are increasing non-oil trade in rupees.
Everyone and his neighbor are making a beeline to join BRICS+ – forcing a desperate Hegemon to start deploying an array of Hybrid War techniques.
It’s been a long way since Putin examined the chessboard in the early 2000s and then unleashed a crash missile program for defensive and offensive missiles.
Over the next 23 years Russia developed hypersonic missiles, advanced ICBMs, and the most advanced defensive missiles on the planet. Russia won the missile race. Period. The Hegemon – obsessed by its own manufactured war against Islam – was completely blindsided and made no material missile advances in nearly two and a half decades.
Now the “strategy” is to invent a Taiwan Question out of nothing, which is configuring the chessboard as the ante-chamber of no holds barred Hybrid War against Russia-China.
The proxy attack – via Kiev hyenas – against Russophone Donbass, egged on by the Straussian neocon psychos in charge of US foreign policy, murdered at least 14,000 men, women and children between 2014 to 2022. That was also an attack on China. The ultimate aim of this Divide and Rule gambit was to inflict defeat on China’s ally in the Heartland, so Beijing would be isolated.
According to the neocon wet dream, all of the above would have enabled the Hegemon, once it had taken over Russia again as it did with Yeltsin, to blockade China from Russian natural resources using eleven US aircraft carrier task forces plus numerous submarines.
Obviously military science-impaired neocons are oblivious to the fact that Russia is now the strongest military power on the planet.
In Ukraine, the neocons were hoping that a provocation would cause Moscow to deploy other secret weapons apart from hypersonic missiles, so Washington could better prepare for all-out war.
All those elaborate plans may have miserably floundered. But a corollary remains: the Straussian neocons firmly believe they may instrumentalize a few million Europeans – who’s next? Poles? Estonians? Latvians? Lithuanians? And why not Germans? – as cannon fodder as the US did in WWI and WWII, fought over the bodies of Europeans (including Russians) sacrificed to the same old Mackinder Anglo-Saxon power grab.
Hordes of European 5th columnists make it so much easier to “trust” the US to protect them, while only a few with an IQ over room temperature have understood who really bombed Nord Stream 1 and 2, with the connivance of the Liver Sausage German Chancellor.
The bottom line is that the Hegemon simply cannot accept a sovereign, self-sufficient Europe; only a dependent vassal, hostage to the seas that the US control.
Putin clearly sees how the chessboard has been laid out. And he also sees how “Ukraine” does not even exist anymore.
While no one was paying attention, last month the Kiev gang sold Ukraine to $8.5 trillion-worth BlackRock. Just like that. The deal was sealed between the Government of Ukraine and BlackRock’s VP Philipp Hildebrand.
They are setting up a Ukrainian Development Fund (UDF) for “reconstruction”, focused on energy, infrastructure, agriculture, industry and IT. All remaining valuable assets in what will be a rump Ukraine will be gobbled up by BlackRock: from Metinvest, DTEK (energy) and MJP (agriculture) to Naftogaz, Ukrainian Railways, Ukravtodor and Ukrenergo.
What’s the point in going to Kiev then? High-grade toxic neoliberalism is already partying on the spot.