So, the Russophile blogosphere continues to digest the latest twists and turns (and slithery-ditheries) of the Snake Island saga. Within this subculture I believe a kind of consensus is being reached , according to which (a) yes, the Island WAS of strategic importance, so don’t pretend otherwise; (b) however, was also physically indefensible for the time being, so garrison needed to leave pronto; and (c) Russian Ministry of Defense (MOD) engaged in rather poor “messaging” of this necessary withdrawal. To the point where, as Alex Christoforou pointed out in his podcast, the Russian spokespersons almost made it sound like, yeah, the presence of the Russian garrison was the cause of world starvation. And now they have kindly removed that impediment. Face-palm! That particular twist had never actually occurred to me, because I took that whole “grain” thing as just a bit of sarcastic trolling on the part of the Russians. But not everybody has such a subtle mind. So yeah, it may have sounded like a confession, to those of smaller brains. Smart people know, of course, that it is the Ukrainians who are blocking the export of grain, with their damned floating mines that make of the entire Black Sea, a horrible safety risk. The tiny Russian garrison at Snake Island never had anything to do with the grain situation, period.
Anyhow, I saw in the blogosphere yesterday that the MOD has taken the notes. Stung somewhat by the constructive criticism, it started to change its story a bit. Reassuring the enraged plebs that Russia is still in control of the tiny island. So Ukies can stop pretending this was some big huge peremoha for their team. Here is iEarlGrey for example, suavely and sarcastically reporting on the latest narrative:
Meanwhile, I shall return to my original source material. From June 30. Whose headline asserts that the evacuation of the Russian garrison was just a big old mousetrap set for the Ukrainians. (Which could be, literally, if they left behind mines and stuff….) This story now seems so old… I think I shall skip over the comments of Russian Senator Sergei Tsekov and pundit Alexander Bartosh. Who are still playing the “grain” card, as in “The UN accused us of blocking the export of grain from the Ukraine, so this was our response… blah blah…” That is just so 2 days ago. When we were at war with Eurasia. Today we are at war with Oceania, so try to keep up please.
Let’s just get to the part where Snake Island still remains under the fire control of the Russian armed forces. Ukrainian paratroopers will not be allowed to land there; and the island will remain in the grey zone, for the time being. Final word goes to Russo-Ukrainian pundit Vladimir Kornilov, who raises some conspiratorial issues from the higher plane of geo-politics; like maybe there were some back-room deals taking place at the UN, for example. Kornilov: “One may assume that the Russian forces were removed from Snake Island in return for the de-blockading of Kaliningrad… but that’s just a theory…” Various other geopolitical theories involve not just Kaliningrad but also quid pro quos involving Norwegian islands, Baltic shipping, and world lithium supplies; for example, this comment by Syd Marsh on Military Summary and Analysis:
They simply exchanged snake island for norway allowing shipping to Russian islands in Norway territory and kalingrad part of agreement with European Union that lithium is was stopping. Give and take and both sides. Islands in Norway were a far greater priority than snake islands significance to Russia Side note: it means more to Romania since it’s technically part of Romanian territory. Which can’t make ukraine feel exactly warm inside.
But now back to Kornilov for the final soundbite, as he concludes with his fake Austrian accent and best imitation of the Terminator’s famous I’ll be back meme: “In time we may return to the island as needed — around the same time as when we liberate Odessa. Russia will be cruising around all of these Suvorov places, and then we shall secure this entire region.”
Suvorov nods from his coffin, while the ghost of Achilles clutches his mystical spear and waits for the shell-shocked snakes to crawl back to their posts, at the entrance to his hidden tomb…