Ukraine War Day #225: Where Have All the Flowers Gone?

Dear Readers:

In this, and probably future, posts, I will be reviewing what the mainstream Russian press is writing about issues of supplies and mobilizations. As that great bureaucratic machinery finally creaks into place. And as it gradually begins to dawn on the Russian political and military leadership that this is the very rainy day which they were supposedly saving up for, all those years. [There is a parable there, waiting to be born. It would involve some animal who keeps putting aside and saving up — maybe a squirrel? thinking the rainy day still far in the future, and then dimly starts to realize that the crisis is here and now? With the wolf right at the door; or if not a wolf, some other beast with angry hunger and ill intentions…]

“I’ll save this one for the big war…”

Anyhow, let us start with this piece by reporter Alyona Zadorozhnaya. She interviews a man named Andrei Gurulev, who is a Lieutenant-General in Reserve, and also a member of the Parliamentary Committee for Defense issues. Gurulev is commenting on the decision, by two Duma committees, to look into the issue of supplying the rear. It seems like somebody in the Russian bureaucracy has dropped the ball, and not planned for the type of supplies and equipment that need to budgeted (at the Federal level) for an operation this large.

Gurulev: “The main problem here is that we just don’t have the kind of quantities of items that we need, for the first stage of the mobilization. This touches on our technology resources, as well as what we need to implement repairs. So now we are telling the leaders of the regions that they have to purchase themselves, at the expense of their own [regional] budgets everything that is needed to equip the soldiers.

Andrei Gurulyov: Has a chest full of medals, and knows what he is talking about.

“Moreoever, the Federal budget has, on an annual basis, doled out, for material-technical resources, precisely those sums which the Ministry of Defense has requested. There was never any decrease in the level of funding. For this reason, the question arises: What happened to the resources?”

Gurulev goes on to say that the problem cannot be solved overnight. [yalensis: er… war going on… people dying. Danger, Will Robinson…?] “The first thing that needed to be done, has already been done: We replaced the Minister who was in charge of Material-Technical Resupply. And now this post is occupied by the very respected General [Mikhail] Mizintsev, who is capable of smoothing over all these glitches. The next thing that we need to do, is conclude direct contracts with enterprises, so that we can get all that we need in a very short period of time. Money is not an issue. We will start to see results within three months.”

But what about the current wave of mobilization? Not to worry. “This wave will be clothed, shod, and supplied with weapons. But looking around at the state of the world, I have a feeling that this will not be the last wave. Which is why we need to work on honing and smoothing over the work of all the mechanisms, so that they start to work like clockwork.”

Recall that this first wave of mobilization is set to recruit up to 300,000 reservists for the Ukraine war. It was in the course of doing this, that glitches were noticed; not to mention suspicions of budgeted supplies gone missing. Two Committee leads in the Duma, Andrei Kartapolov (Defense) and Vasily Piskarev (Anti-Corruption) launched an investigation. After which they wrote a very-sternly worded letter to Prosecutor-General Igor Krasnov, demanding that he look in to this issue of supplying the rear with such items as specialized clothing and other equipment. Kartapolov subsequently went on Soloviev’s TV show to complain that “certain leaders” were trying to hush up any inquiries into the situation at the front. These inquiries led to the sacking of General Dmitry Bulgakov from his post (in charge of supplies), and his replacement by Mizintsev. Don’t fret about Bulgakov though, he wasn’t put up against the wall and shot. Far from it: They just gave him a different job.

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11 Responses to Ukraine War Day #225: Where Have All the Flowers Gone?

  1. michaeldroy says:

    Danger, Will Robinson…?
    Are you really my age and watched Lost in Space in the 60s as a child? I thought you were much younger. Or has it become a TikTok meme suddenly in the 2020s.

    Aha – “Where Have All the Flowers Gone,”
    You were listening to protest songs in the 60s. Even older than me. I knew the song but had to google to find out it was an anti-Vietnam song.


    • yalensis says:

      Michael, I pride myself on my encyclopaedic knowledge of American popular culture. Of all eras! It’s sort of my specialty.

      And you didn’t have to be around either, there is this thing called the internet…


      • davidt says:

        Correction: It is one of your specialities- you seem to have so many.


        • yalensis says:

          Thanks, david, that is a very kind thing to say, and I appreciate it!

          Over my life I have set out to study American culture, both “high” (yes, there actually is some great American literature and art) and “low”. The latter maybe just to fit in with new friends and peer cohorts, that sort of thing. Or maybe with an ulterior motive, that some day I can return to Russia and get a job as an “Americanist” expert analyst. For which I believe I am qualified, since I speak American English fluently and know so much about the culture and scene.

          For example, that whole “Will Robinson” thing, I picked up on that when some guys in my old IT team started joking around, going, “Danger Will Robinson!” and waving their arms around wildly. And laughing their heads off, and I felt left out because I didn’t get the joke. I asked them what was up, and they explained (more or less). Then I googled to get the full picture. Of the 1960’s TV show with the boy and his pet robot. Which, it turns out there was a later (woke) remake in the 2000’s, with a mixed-race Judy and a female Dr. Smith.

          Anyhow, another source for me is my local laundromat. I usually go very early in the morning to wash my clothes, and the manager has the TV set on to this channel which shows old black and white cowboy shows like “Rawhide” and “The Rifleman”. Great stuff!


  2. peter moritz says:

    Connected with t6he above:
    “No more lies. We’ve talked about this before. [RT Editor-in-Chief] Margarita Simonyan has spoken about this in length but, apparently, this has not reached the ears of some individual leaders,” Kartapolov said, noting how reports from the Soviet Information Bureau during the early months of the Nazi invasion of the USSR in 1941 provided more information than what is being said in Russia’s Ministry of Defense reports today.”

    This policy of obfuscation of what really happens is actually harming the Government, as soon nobody will take their reports seriously anymore, and leaves the door wide open to propaganda from the enemy when he can show – or even exaggerate wildly – the actual status of the war effort.
    Any counterpropaganda will then not be taken seriously by the population of Russia anymore, based on previous experience, especially when some nasty surprises will happen.


  3. the pair says:

    “But looking around at the state of the world, I have a feeling that this will not be the last wave.” a bit portentious, innit? sounds like “we’re not at war with ukraine, we’re at war with the entire west” is becoming official policy. maybe they also saw the headlines about raytheon (and japan, maybe?) starting to tinker with hypersonic weaponry for the DoD. hopefully by then this new appetite for funding will have produced S900s or whatever.


    • yalensis says:

      Russia was keeping its powder dry for the upcoming long-expected NATO invasion.
      Maybe finally starting to realize that this is the NATO invasion. Surprise, it’s already happened!

      This could be a Chekhov play, except that it’s not funny.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. James K says:

    No offense but the biggest hint of greater Russian military shortcomings came from the very beginning of this SMO — Putin’s “openness to negotiation”.

    No leader of *any* country that truly has a “dominant or winning” position ever gives his enemies anywhere even close to such leeway for “negotiation”. What this means is that Russia (not to repeat what has already been mentioned here anyway!) is simply nowhere prepared for to fight off the full forces of NATO, and instead was relying on magical hope that “Ohh, maybe NATO will just keep lowballing Ukraine or better eventually just give up and leave us be” (you know, so Russian taxes could finally resuming flowing to the politicians / oligarchs as before instead of being consumed by “the military”).

    Which means, the US’s plan of “draining Russia” is finally showing some early signs of success. In other words — the West is finally starting to strain the Russian political system and economy to the extent that “regime change” is now starting to unfold (even if not at Putin’s level, but a couple steps here and there below). And, if Russia’s political system is truly “top-down”, then this is ultimately a mark against the Russian’s “top” leadership as well.

    As a result, it does not look like Russia will be able to well-sustain both the SMO and its political organization at the same time. In short — it appears this great “bear” of sorts, strong as it may “seem”, is ultimately also very slow and is finally getting quite outmaneuvered.


    • yalensis says:

      No offense taken, and I agree with most of what you said. The only thing I maybe quibble on, is the Russian economy, which I think remains strong, in spite of everything.


  5. BM says:

    So now we are telling the leaders of the regions that they have to purchase themselves, at the expense of their own [regional] budgets everything that is needed to equip the soldiers.

    I was surprised to read somewhere (RT probably) that when the reserves get mobilised they will have to give up (for storage) virtually everything they bring with them, but that they need to bring a roll of toilet paper and a change of underwear!

    So, the military supplies uniform, bullet-proof vest, helmet, etc … but they are not able to provide one roll of toilet paper? What happens when that precious roll is finished – no more?? Do they need to re-use it? Or what if it gets wet? Hilarious. Maybe someone stole the valuable RF government stocks of army-issue (Khinzal brand of course) toilet paper to sell at inflated prices to Germany, because the German toilet paper manufacturer has been driven to bankruptcy.


    • yalensis says:

      During last year’s covid shortages, one important lesson I learned is: Never again take toilet paper for granted! I had never been a hoarder before in my life; quite the contrary, I strive for simplicity and spartanism. But I started making an exception for t.p., I started hoarding it. Now I have a whole closet full of it, stacked from floor to ceiling! (My favorite brand, which is Scott, of course.)


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