As promised, I am returning to the Russia/Third World theme with a review of this piece from July 21, 2022. The reporter is Petr Akopov. Putin’s musings have gotten a lot of coverage and I’m sure his words have been translated and discussed a lot in various media, even MSM. Therefore I don’t intend to do much with it, just add my 2 cents, plus highlight the irony of it all. How this war has changed so many things, changed people; the irony of a Sergei Lavrov touring Africa and drinking in the love of people who fondly remember the USSR; a former Yeltsinite like Putin (who helped to destroy the USSR), now sounding more like his Soviet forebears (former bears – haha!?) whom he once rejected, but now going all Patrice Lumumba with fiery anti-colonialist and anti-racist rhetoric.
BUT FIRST THIS BREAKING NEWS! A quick update from the front lines. Most of my military info comes from the youtube channel Ukraine Military Summary and Analysis (Dima), and secondarily also Defense Politics Asia (Wyatt). Yesterday the news was quite startling, and also quite good, if one is rooting for the Russian side. So, it finally happened: All along the Donetsk Front, Ukrainian defenses are cracking, like a ripe overheated chestnut. As Russian Allied forces break through in multiple important locations, even the fortress-like Avdeevka. We are finally starting to see some light at the end of this long tunnel.
From what I understand, the Ukrainian side made an incredible blunder. Given the infinite layers of defensive trenches (which made the Maginot Line look like a child’s sandcastle at the beach) which they had built up over the past 8 years before the Russian incursion, Ukrainian forces could have held out much longer on the Donetsk front. I mean, the outcome of this war was never in doubt: It’s like your son’s Little League team going up against the Red Sox. Those kids might put up a heck of a fight, but in the end they are destined to be defeated. Just as there is no doubt that the Ukrainian war will end with Zelensky’s unconditional surrender to Putin. Until that moment, however, the Ukrainians put up a heck of a fight. Those Donbass trenches were made to withstand just about anything. Provided the Ukrainian artillery were still in place and playing their part in the artillery duels.
Then, what happened is that the Ukrainian leadership (Zelensky) decided to move several important artillery battalions from the Donbass front to the Southern front. As part of their harebrained scheme to “recapture” Kherson. Their big counteroffensive plan, which they announced to the world, was to (a) destroy the 3 bridges over the river connecting Kherson to the rest of the Donbass; (b) by so doing isolate the 30,000 some Russian soldiers (=30 Battle Tactical Groups, BTG’s) defending the Kherson Front; and (c) then invade and recapture Kherson. From what I understand, the Ukrainians were told they had to do this, i.e., recapture Kherson, by the end of August, otherwise the Americans will cut off the funds and give up on this ill-timed adventure. In other words, the Southern Counteroffensive was an American project. From what I understand, Ukrainian Commander Zaluzhny was against it, and rightfully so. Now he wants to move those artillery units back to Donetsk, but alas for him, it’s too late.
Because, the moment the Ukrainians moved the artillery units from the Donbass front, opportunistic Russians (always poking, always poking!) were able to pulverize the remaining infantry/artillery and break through multiple layers of defensive trenches. In some cases, it only took the Russians 10 minutes to break through a trench that had kept them at bay these past 5 months. Zelensky was so horrified that he appeared on TV (I think this was a couple of nights ago, it was covered in Westie MSM) complaining about the “hell” that his soldiers had to endure. Usually Zel is upbeat (“We’re winning, yeh!”), so why the long face? Well, he was ticked off and needed somebody to blame, so he blamed the Americans: “You didn’t send us enough HIMARS!” As if the HIMARS are the only problem. He is incapable of looking in the mirror and blaming himself.
So, this is the battlefront news for now. Dima ended his report last night with his usual disclaimer: “Military Summary Channel reminds you that we condemn all violence in Ukraine.” And this disclaimer came right after he had stated, rather coldly, that the Russians will most likely show no mercy to the Ukrainian artillery guys in Avdeevka, once they capture them. Given that those guys have been torturing Donbass civilians since 2014, with their indiscriminate shelling.
But now back to Putin’s speech: The title is:
The Exceptionalism Of Exceptional People: Putin Accuses The West Of Racism and Neocolonialism
On July 20 Putin spoke at a forum for Strategic Initiatives, called “Strong Ideas For the New Era”. Musing on the New World Order, Putin opined that “Truly revolutionary transformations are acquiring more and more momentum.”
Putin: “These grandiose changes are, of course, irreversible. Both on the level of individual nations, as well as on the global plane, the process is underway, of working out the bases, the principles, of a harmonious, a more just, socially oriented and secure world order; an alternative to the existing or, one might say, formerly existing, up until this point, uni-polar world order which, by its very nature, without a doubt, has become a brake on the development of civilization.”
Putin’s criticism of Atlanticist Globalism becomes sharper with every day that passes: “The model of total domination, of this so-called Golden Billion, is unfair. Why should this Golden Billion, out of all the population of the planet, why should they get to dominate over all the others? Why do they get to impose their rules of conduct, which they base upon their illusion of exceptionalism? This model divides people into first-class and second-class, and therefore is racist and neo-colonialst by its very essence. The Globalist, so-called Liberal ideology which lies at the core [of this model] acquires evermore the characteristics of totalitarianism. It stamps out the creative impulse, the free, historical, creativity.
“I get the impression that the West simply has no vision of the future, to offer the world. And of course, this Golden Billion became Golden just by accident, in truth they accomplished a lot, but they took these positions not only thanks to their ideals [and accomplishments]; to a significant degree they acquired their positions at the expense of robbing other peoples, both in Asia, as well as in Africa. Not to mention how they pillaged India. And therefore, even today, the elites of this so-called Golden Billion are in a panic, worried that other centers of world development may present their own variants of development. But no matter how much Western and international elites strive to preserve the existing order, all the same a new epoch is at hand, a new stage in world history.”
Akopov spends the rest of his piece arguing why Putin, despite this Soviet-sounding rhetoric, is still not a Communist. It’s just that the Soviet leaders pragmatically faced many of the same geopolitical issues and challenges as does the current Russian government. I don’t usually agree much with Akopov, but he is an interesting thinker; so I have decided to continue on with this thread and outline his thoughts on this matter. In other words, a comparison of Soviet to modern Russian geopolitical strategies, in relation to political ideology.
[to be continued]