Ukraine War Day #262: A Tale Of Two Victories

Schiller: The Joy of Victory

Froh, wie seine Sonnen fliegen,
Durch des Himmels prächtgen Plan,
Laufet, Brüder, eure Bahn,
Freudig wie ein Held zum Siegen.

Merrily, as His suns streak
Through heaven’s splendid plan,
Run, Brothers, run your course,
Joyously like a hero to victory.

(Friedrich Schiller, An die Freude, “Ode To Joy”)

Dear Readers:

First a quick note about the Russian victory in Pavlovka. (Yes, the Russians did take that village and finished clearing it of Ukrainian soldiers.) Nobody noticed, because this victory was sort of eclipsed by the much bigger Ukrainian triumph in Kherson; but it is still important, as Pavlovka opens the door for the Russian offensive on Ugledar.

Recall that a few days ago, on this forum, we had a lively discussion about whether or not there had been a mutiny, on the part of the Russian Pacific Fleet marines fighting in Pavlovka; or whether that story was a fake. My hunch was, there had been some kind of incident, maybe not a full-fledged mutiny, but certainly some very inappropriate public expression of disgruntlement. Recall that the elite Marines were fighting side by side with local Donbass commanders. Maybe there was some friction there, maybe not. It’s all speculation, because everybody is keeping mum.

The Russian flag is raised over Pavlovka. Wargonzo project publishes the first photographs of the village now taken under control by the Donetsk OBTF (Operational-Combat Tactical Formation) Kaskad, alongside units of the Pacific Fleet marines.

In any case, apparently everything is co-sympatico now. The Pavlovka victory washed away whatever differences there had been (if any). Donbass militiamen and Promorye Marines worked together to shoo the enemies away and seize the village. Medals were handed out: DPR head Denis Pushilin awarded the Medal of Valor (За отвагу) to 37 men who took part in the operation. The piece I linked does not state exactly which men received the medals, and which ones didn’t get a medal.

The Kherson Watchers

Moving on to our main course today: This piece is by reporter Andrei Rezchikov. The topic is the “Watchers” of Kherson. Actually, the Russian word ждуны (“zhduny”) literally means “waiters”, but I need to disambiguate because the English word can also mean a server at a restaurant; and that is not what we are talking about here. We are talking about the pro-Ukrainian elements in Kherson who remained in the city, watching and waiting for their heroes to return. We shall see below that these “watchers” are a politically organized and highly disciplined group of people; one might even call them members of “cadre” organizations, as they follow the Bandera Party Line. These people are highly motivated, because a joint Ukrainian/NATO victory would wash away (in their minds) the stain of the Soviet Victory of 1945. They cannot rejoice in that common victory over Nazism, they wish to feel the jubilation of their own victory. It is the job of Russia and her allies to deprive them of that anticipated ecstasy.

Rezchikov: On the internet we see more and more clips out of Kherson and surrounding towns, in which pro-Ukrainian citizens supposedly greet warmly the troops from the Ukrainian Armed Forces (UAF). Often, with flags in hand; more rarely, with flowers. Just how massive is this phenemenon, and are the people in Zelensky’s office producing these clips? [yalensis: always keeping in mind that Zelensky himself, and a lot of his people, come from the world of show business.]

Friday morning [i.e., yesterday] in the center of Kherson, a bunch of Ukrainian flags suddenly appeared. Social media started communicating about mass actions on the part of local residents, who came out to greet the Ukrainian soldiers. Keeping in mind that these demonstrations started already several hours before the Ukrainian troops arrived. Later, on social media, we saw people chanting “UAF! UAF!”

Pro-Ukraine activists raise their flag in Kherson.

This raised questions in the minds of many. If Kherson is truly a Russian city where, literally yesterday, Russian troops were posted, then where the heck did they suddenly come from, these dozens of people carrying Ukrainian flags and schmoozing with the Ukrainian soldiers? And how were these video clips produced?

Kiev political pundit Alexei Nechaev: “The answer is simple. First the UAF enters a populated point unopposed. They call this a liberation and there is a media accompaniment. Earlier, Ukrainian security services, via messengers, had already been in touch with local activists of the pro-Western parties. These activists are told that they need to prepare a pretty-looking reception for the UAF. And the activists themselves, as you can imagine, had for months being working as informants for the SBU or Ukrainian Military Intelligence.

“Where did these activists come from? The answer is also simple. Even the frailest political party in the Ukraine has their own network of party cells. For every 2,500 residents (which is the standard electoral grouping, by Ukrainian standards), there would be anywhere from 3-10 party activists, who would maintain constant ties with their curators from the Regional, Municipal, or Oblast level.

“It’s as simple as pie. The activists of the cells communicate upwards with useful information; and the instructions come down to them from above. Slash the tires of a Russian military official? Done. Perform some bit of sabotage? No problem. […] Such efforts cost the Ukrainians very little, with possibly a big payoff.”

Alexander Malkevich

Russian Parliamentarian Alexander Malkevich, who heads the Journalism Faculty of Kherson University: “Russia was very indulgent towards these Watchers. We never introduced draconian measures against the pro-Ukrainian citizenry. What we see happening now is result of our indulgent attitude towards our opponent and his supporters.

“One has to admit that the Ukrainian side possesses a very strong media machine. They brought certain people with them [into the Kherson region] and were able to issue commands to these Watchers to prepare the necessary props for their show.

“The way the material is presented, is also very important. A very small demonstration can be presented [in the media] as a massive one. Depending on the angle of the shot. These clips are filmed by professionals, but made to look like somebody just happened to grab it on their Smartphone. In reality, this is all taking place in just one spot in the middle of Kherson, where the central square is located. One can take a group of 40 people and create the effect of a massive march.”

Political pundit Vladimir Kornilov: “Nobody denies that there are, and were, UAF supporters in Kherson. Or that some of them may have gone out to greet the Ukrainian troops. They are hoping that the Ukrainian government will not persecute them. But unfortunately, these displays are not going to save the city from serious purges.”

Nechaev again: “Frequent changes of power, whether in a village or city, always have an effect on the patriotic feelings of the population. The same youth which yesterday attended concerts of United Russia, tomorrow will be listening, with the same ardor, to songs such as Our Father is Bandera, Our Mother is Ukraina. As performed by no-talent singers in embroidered shirts. Should we condemn them for participating in these types of displays? I don’t think so.

“This situation is partially a civil war, as Vladimir Putin mentioned at the Valdai Conference. In such circumstances, the local residents try to survive, as best they can. Ordinary people only care about the fact that winter is approaching. As for who just marched into the city — Russians or non-Russians, Reds or Whites, Petlyura or Makhno… People in these regions always had this kind of wait-and-see attitude, especially during the time of the Russian Civil War. Therefore, this problem of the Watchers will be resolved via our victory in the conflict. This is what we have to work for.”

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33 Responses to Ukraine War Day #262: A Tale Of Two Victories

  1. Steve says:

    Nothing to add. I think the writers of the quoted posts nailed it on both sides. As for the Russian victory in Pavlovka, it is certainly a big deal. I hope the Russian Armed Forces press its advantage.


    • yalensis says:

      I believe the Russian plan is to take, at a minimum, Ugledar, Bakhmut and Avdeevka before any potential “freezing” of the conflict.
      Problem: I have been reading that the Ukrainians freed up something like 40K troops who were pinned down in Kherson. That’s a lot, and the prognosticators are saying they will be deployed to all aforementioned fronts, not to mention try to re-take Zaporozhie. General Surovikin certainly has his hands full, let’s see if he is up to the job.


      • BM says:

        According to RT a large contingent of Polish soldiers is dispatched to Ugledar, which Russia views as Polish Army not mercenaries. The article was unclear if they were on their way or already there, though the reading that they were o the way was a little stronger.


      • BM says:

        What “freezing of the conflict” did you have in mind? Once the ground freezes solid and the new recruits are ready for action it will be Full Steam Ahead with Gusto! Nato (i.e. alleged UAF, but who in reality are mostly Nato disguised as UAF and mercenaries) are ill-prepared for battle in the thick of winter, but the Russians at that time are in their forté. They also have three hot meals a day and hot showers, and thermally suited clothing, all of which give them a significant edge fighting in very low sub-zero conditions especially for morale.


        • yalensis says:

          No, by “freezing” I meant something like a temporary truce. As in a “frozen conflict”, as existed between 2014-22. Not in terms of winter.

          Some pundits were speculating there might have been a deal between Sullivan-Patrushev to temporarily “freeze the conflict”, but I personally don’t buy that. And if there was such a deal, I wouldn’t support it. The Americans can never be trusted. Ukrainians would only use such a truce to build back their army and equipment.


  2. michaeldroy says:

    Yes – the clips I have seen of Kherson show what is quite an embarrassingly low number of people.
    In Kherson full only 87% voted for the referendum* so one would have thought that Kherson City would have loads of pro-kiev supporters wanting to celebrate. There were not “loads”, clearly.
    Conclusion – much of the anti-Kiev feeling is not so much pro-Russia but quite simply anti-nazi bullying and murder.

    *The turnout and % vote are distorted by 4 things. The need to register in advance. Who was actually allowed to vote in theory (current residents including recent immigrants/refugees and former residents who had left for Russia or Ukraine or Europe). Who was actually able to vote in practice (those in the 4 Russian held oblasts including Kherson and those in Russia but not anyone in rump Ukraine or Europe). And those who were put off from voting by the Ukraine law threatening prison for anyone who voted.
    Point being that even if there were pro-Kiev people in Kherson, if they left to go to Ukraine or Europe they couldn’t vote or even register, and if they stayed they were unlikely to vote or register. So both the high share of votes for Russia and the high turnout (percentage of registrations) should have been anticipated by western media. They were not unfair or cheated referenda. The main complaint should have been about Ukraine preventing pro-Kiev supporters to register or vote and failing to provide voting booths in say Kiev.


    • yalensis says:

      A lot of things I have read about the Kherson region and the mentality of the Russian residents who live there (there are even a lot of stereotypes about them) is that they are the kind of people who prefer not to get involved. The Russian saying goes something like, “My cottage is over there…” meaning, I hear nothing/see nothing, I don’t want to get involved, etc. Which is actually a healthy survival strategy in times of war, I reckon, especially when towns keep changing hands.

      Khersonites are also said to be cynical and not trust sweet words. They have a kind of American Wild West mentality: “I’ll take care of myself.” [These are all stereotypes, but said to have a lot of truth in them.]

      The hesitancy of many residents to apply for Russian passports may be that they didn’t trust the Russians to actually stay and protect them. In which case, those who kept their Ukrainians passports are now the lucky ones!


  3. zina says:

    The Russian spirit of culture has always had consideration for women and children and older men, therefore, weaker. The second basis of the Ukrainians’ better word is Galicia towards the Russians, they are age-old enemies in the doctrine of fascism, and that part is atavistic fascism, in which one should be ruthless. With this abandonment of Kherson, which is not unsuitable from a military point of view, Russia has decided to go all out, and there is no this or that. The situation with Ukraine is terrible for Ukrainians, and it is getting worse. Ukraine has large casualties of military-capable soldiers of those it had in February, and the general mobilization of its men and women is imminent, everything is exhausted, and the Ukrainians are leaving because the winter is going on without electricity and water and not enough food. Now the Ukrainian army has great losses in Zaporozhye, and the Poles, whom they call mercenaries, have to join, I think it’s the NATO army. Everything indicates that America will enter Ukraine with the Romanians in a conflict with the Russians, because otherwise it loses the gun pointed at Russia’s head, it loses Ukraine. America is also losing the economic war against China, which is already the biggest economic power in the world, so America is losing on two fronts and that is inevitable. Russia cannot live with a gun pointed at its head, it must win in Ukraine, and only win. So, until the current joke, there is no more, just go deep into Ukraine with the most force and follow it completely.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Not sure if U.S. military will send thousands of their men into the battle, openly in Ukraine. I don’t think there are enough U.S. servicemen stationed in Romania, Poland, Estonia, etc. That said there are already thousands of U.S. mercenaries, CIA military and advisers in Ukraine directing the order of battle. I think all of U.S. military intelligence, satellites, spy planes, etc are very busy providing intel to the American advisers directing the Ukraine army. It already is a war between USA/NATO/EU vs Russia. But honestly I don’t think the U.S. military is prepared to send tens of thousands of U.S. military into Ukraine, resulting in massive casualties which they don’t want. They are fine with using the Ukraine army as sacrificial pawns on the geopolitical chessboard for the time being. A final thought: the Russians really have their backs against the wall in this war: the war is right on their border, so they will fight much harder than invading Americans who have travelled thousands of miles to the opposite side of the planet to attack Russia in Ukraine. There simply is not the deep national survival instinct motivation for U.S. military in this regard. For Russia this is very much a fight for national survival, with extremely grave consequences if Ukraine wins, the Americans keep militarizing and arming Ukraine, with the long term plan to invade and destroy Russia. It’s really anybody’s guess how this tragic and senseless WWIII conflict will end.


      • yalensis says:

        I agree with your assessment, deschutesmaple. The Americans prefer to use other people as proxies rather than fight themselves. I do not believe they will commit tens of thousands of their own troops to this slaughterhouse.

        Maybe a couple of thousand, working surreptitiously and pretending to be somebody else…

        Liked by 1 person

        • Pavlo Svolochenko says:

          At some point it will be reported that the American government has been of the volunteer networks and has been recruiting army veterans for service in the Ukraine.

          This is a double benefit to them – the FBI and DHS regard veterans who aren’t important enough to merit defence industry sinecure as potential security risks, so this allows the government channel a threat away from itself while also getting some more use out of them.


      • zina says:

        Somehow I feel that America will not change and resolve the conflict in Ukraine peacefully, which is impossible because it has never honored the agreement, never. And he cannot accept defeat, that’s why I think that America, namely NATO, will interfere in the conflict with Russia in Ukraine. And the West is a colony of America, so they don’t have their freedom of thought there, and so far they are all together terribly thoughtless and stupid, in addition to being arrogant, it is a combination for wider conflicts. He thinks I should repeat the words of Alexander Dugin that “Russia needs to destroy America, so that humanity can live in peace” Russia is a historical providence for the salvation of humanity, and this is not difficult to realize, because the truth historically writes events in time, and indeed Russia is Providence, with great sacrifices own, and it is the army of light against the army of darkness, which has dominion, but has no victory over light, never. Eon is the light of Russia. Fyodor Tyutchev expressed it ingeniously: “Russia is not comprehensible to the mind – you will not know the measure of it with Arshina – Russia is something special – you can only believe in it.” And my faith is in Russia, and I know that Providence is the Highest Supreme Consciousness that creates the Cosmos.


  4. peter moritz says:

    Durch des Himmels prächtgen Plan,

    Plan in Geman means plan, and the plane is Ebene. The suns (stars) in their path follow a divine plan.


  5. S Brennan says:

    Regardless of the military necessity, the optics of the Kherson withdrawal suck and optics do matter to some degree, an awful lot was made of the Doolittle Raid..and for good reason…it mattered, even though it was completely in effectual.

    In this case, the anglo media is drowning it’s anglicized citizens in a septic sea of Ukrainia “victory” images, my older neighbor, through not fault of their own, believes that Ukrainia after an endless series of victories is fighting the Ruskies on the outskirts of Moscow. Speaking out against a war where the USA side is “clearly” winning is a hard row to hoe. “ want to quit while we are winning” my neighbor would ask. Again, the optics suck and they do matter because, optics effect the lengths that DC/London can go to continue this war. All of which makes those suffering through this war…suffer that much longer, presuming they survive the ordeal.

    The reality is, until Russia can reunify the [ethnically/socially] Russian population of Ukrainia into Russia, DC/London/Kiev will brutalize them just as the Nazis did the Jews. Why…well, because they can and it demonstrates, through shear brutality what is the fate of those who question the overlords of DC/London. For sadistic sociopaths there is nothing better than having an excuse to torture and kill…right Gina Haspel? Oops, she’s too busy collecting money over at BAE systems…having kept Obama’s wars warm in the oven while until Trump could be removed.

    For there to be peace, Russia has to make it to Odessa and then secure the coastal plain and enough of the surrounding elevations to prevent shelling of the [ethnically/socially] Russian population. And it’s sad to say but, DC/London elite will be OUTRAGED if Russia can insure the safety of it’s population, like all sociopaths, today’s elites see security & safety as toxic to their biological functions.

    All of which means, Kherson is a real setback because, a fast moving tank advance to secure the aforementioned territory over the winter and end the war will not happen. And that means the war will drag into 2024, a presidential election year. And as we saw with the SOR, the people running the Biden/Obama/Bush administration [singular intended] will use any and all means to retain power, the war will be even bloodier if we are still at war come 2024. Unless, the Russ can advance from the north this winter, which looks doubtful to me, we are now in for a long war.


    • Montmorency says:

      I believe the Russians will advance this winter from the North West, and maybe even from West of Kiev.


      • yalensis says:

        I personally would wish to see the Russian army (a million men)_advance from Belorussia and make a direct beeline to Kiev. Quickest way to end the war.

        The only issue: I am not sure that Lukashenko would be on board. After all, he is his own player. He is a Russian ally, but he is not a puppet.


    • square coats says:

      I think that regardless of what actually happens on the ground, the west media will claim events are going in whatever way is most beneficial to the intentions of those in power. So that we have seen even simultaneously that Ukraine forces are supposedly victorious and are also terribly in need of billions of dollars and weapons.

      I think therefore anyone who doesn’t buy the west’s garbage would do well for their own state of mind to attach minimal importance to them. The western powers can drum up support from their misled populations no matter how things are actually going, so to give the optics credence will only lead to being disheartened, which then lets the optics be a self-fulfilling prophecy.

      I also think that the way this retreat happened and its portrayal by Putin, Surovikin, Shoigu, etc. were so much better than how everything went down in Kharkov. It seems like they took to heart what people found most upsetting and tried to avoid making the same mistakes and I feel like that promises things can keep improving in the future.


      • yalensis says:

        Agree. This retreat was handled much better than the Kharkov one, by the Russian political/military leadership. However, I still think they could have done a better job explaining it to the public. I would also like to see them just get out in front of the Russian people and explain patiently that Russia is at war with NATO, and that this is a war for existence. They can’t just go on pretending that nothing much is happening out there. The Ukrainians are bombing Russian cities like Belgorod and Kursk, for crying out loud!


  6. KMD says:

    Here’s a link to Russian Military Strategy: Core Tenets and Operational Concepts.

    Click to access russian-military-strategy-core-tenets-and-operational-concepts.pdf

    One would think that leaders in the US military would be aware of this document since they commissioned it in 2021. The main theme is one of ” active defense”. Which is what Russia appears to be doing in Ukraine. Ceding territory while husbanding soldiers and equipment. Playing to win on the battlefield instead engaging in a media war.
    Another opinion of what may be happening may be found here.

    A short excerpt.
    History Lesson: Russia RETREATED East of MOSCOW for Napoleon. Napoleon had the entire empty city of Moscow for his leisure. It was sacked freely, Russia gave no defense. Yay Leon! Did they lose then? How was Napoleon doing? Do they speak French in St. Petersburg now?

    Russians have long memories and fight to win. They are not going to fight on the West’s timeline.


    • yalensis says:

      “Do they speak French in St. Petersburg now?”
      That’s actually a great question, from the point of view of Russian Literature. Because, of course not, they don’t speak French in St. Petersburg. Maybe they should, because French is a wonderful language, and I highly recommend that everybody study it.
      The irony is that Tolstoy spoke French fluently, and he wrote several chapters of War and Peace in French!
      I suspect that Tolstoy spoke French better than that odious twit, Macron.


      • S Brennan says:

        Just wanted to see these words repeated…

        “Tolstoy spoke French better than that odious twit, Macron”

        Bad news week but good to come here to take the edge off.


      • square coats says:

        For me this brings to mind Disturb sky’s quite distainful depiction of the often french-speaking Pyotr Verkhovensky in Demons.


        • square coats says:

          Ugh auto-correct 😦 that should obviously be Dostoevsky’s*


          • yalensis says:

            Hi, Square Coats,
            Normally as a service to my loyal reader I would go into the comment section and edit your comment to make the desired correction.
            In this case (sorry!) I decided to leave it as it is because I got such a good chuckle from Disturbsky! Your automated text editor actually made a really good joke there without even realizing it. Who says computers don’t have a sense of humor?


    • yalensis says:

      Thanks for link, peter. Pretty good analysis there. That photo of Surovikin is rather stark. He is definitely not a good-looking man, no movie-star looks there. But there is something in his face which conveys determination.


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