Yesterday was Independence Day in Ukraine, which Russia seems to have celebrated in much the same way it has celebrated every day for months: with a report of 98 towns being fired upon, missiles falling on Ukrainian cities (including a At least 65 civilians were killed at the railway station. Chaplin, 100 Miles from the Front), and with many others, a lot of Unsuccessful attempts to occupy Ukrainian towns and villages. The Russian troops were forced to retreat from nearby attacks Byrak, attacks near Donetsk forced a retreat from the Soledar and Bakhmutske positions, an intensive attack at Kodema gained no ground at all, and continued to take Piski and Navalske while suffering heavy losses. And all this is the eastern part of Donbass on one day.
What Russia has accomplished in Ukraine in six months can be measured in centimeters per day on the ground, but there are more important measures of its achievements. For one thing, Russia has completely destroyed the reputation of its military, respect for its military systems, and the degree to which anyone takes its threats seriously. Sure, people still listen because Vladimir Putin is known to have a basement full of Soviet weapons, which we assume are still operational. But otherwise, any saber from Moscow has started rattling like children playing with silverware. What are you going to do? Really? Going nowhere when 85% of your entire pathetic army is already tied up in Ukraine? Of course you are.
Trying to smuggle Russian military systems to other governments around the world could be on the list of the crappiest jobs of 2022. HIMARS and Javelins may have been sanctified, but does the Russian system come out of this conflict still looking remotely as scary as it did going in? Check out the low, low prices at Farmer Ivan’s Tractor & Tank Emporium.
Russia has also managed to build an unprecedented alliance with the West. Despite predictions that Russian actions would break up NATO and damage the EU’s share of the EU, the opposite happened. Western nations have ratcheted up sanctions against Russia ever upward, to the point that “how can we tighten the screws today?” From Brussels to Washington seems to be a favorite game. Media sources may have sensitive tools to pick up the cries of politicians — mostly out of office — still nervous about confronting Putin. The rest have moved to free Europe from dependence on Russia’s fossil fuel pipelines and corrupt banking system.
Simply put, Russia went to war claiming it was motivated by fear of a NATO member on its border. Now it has two. And it has a hold on Europe endless It is weaker than six months ago.
Many national media organizations have lost interest in the illegal, unprovoked invasion of Ukraine when it seemed that Putin would not be having his parade through Kyiv. They also skipped coverage of the Russian economy to see how well Moscow was weathering the storm. Just look at the price of the ruble!
But last month, a Yale University study looked at the gap between media perception and how things are actually going for Russia on the economic front and how effective sanctions have been.
Doomsday headlines argue that Russia’s economy has bounced back – the facts are that, by any measure and at any rate, the Russian economy is getting back on track, and is now stepping on the brakes. there is no time
The entire report is so satisfying to the people who initiated this bloody war that it is an intimate pleasure to read. But for those not so inclined, here are the high points:
- The Kremlin is “cherry-picking” economic data and pushing it to the global press in an attempt to paper over a collapsing economy. Putin has engaged in “clearly unsustainable, dramatic fiscal and monetary interventions,” draining Russia’s last cash reserves in an attempt to make things seem less dire to casual observers.
- Russia is “pivoting to Asia” on natural gas sales because it has no choice. The countries they are dealing with know they have more than a barrel of Russia and can demand below market price.
- Foreign companies leaving Russia represent 40% of its GDP. In six months, Putin has erased three decades of foreign investment and reforms in Russia.
- Russia is bleeding population; Especially educated and talented individuals who have valuable skills elsewhere, along with people with experience working with international companies.
- The idea that Russia could build a self-sustaining economy is proving ludicrous, and critical components are in increasingly short supply.
- There is lack of imports, loss of skilled population, and backward domestic industry “Hollowing” Russia’s economy and making it impossible for them to innovate their way out of the crisis.
- Russian Domestic financial markets are now the “worst performing markets in the entire world” and a powerful indicator that the Russian economy is contracting at a slightly slower rate than freefall.
- The net result: rising prices of essential goods and growing consumer unrest.
While Putin opened the taps on Russia’s last hoard of foreign capital, allowing him to claim an economic contraction of just 4% in the last report, recently published figures for Russia’s domestic output reveal more. In June, fiber optics cable production in Russia was reported to have fallen by 80%. Automobile production was reduced by 89%. Household goods such as refrigerators and other appliances fell by more than half. Supply chains that have broken down under sanctions no Repairs are underway.
The Russians are facing a winter ahead the likes of which they have not seen since the privatization of World War II. And it’s not coming because they’re fending off an invasion by the world’s largest army, but because the fearless leader has decided to take a completely unnecessary swing at a much smaller neighbor.
Putin hasn’t just messed up, he’s screwed up his country in a way that’s already readily apparent to anyone who hunts down French fries at “Tasty and That’s It” instead of a good cuppa at McDonald’s or Stars Coffee. happening The Russians have a lot of experience with belt tightening. They are tightening now.
However, as Reuters reports, Putin appears to have taken the first steps in what could be considered the ultimate Russian domestic work program. On Wednesday, Putin signed a decree increasing the official size of the Russian military by more than 100,000 members to 2.04 million. Which is about 1.1 million more than this real Headcount in the Russian army.
Like efforts to make the economy look better, the order may be nothing more than Putin’s attempt to make the Russian military bigger by changing numbers on paper. If he really intends to fill 1 million empty slots, eIt’s not really clear who will lace them up bringing your own boots. The recent Russian recruitment drive has produced only a small fraction of the new
cannon fodder Required recruitment, even using some very strong incentives. This has led to speculation that Putin’s signing of the Make Army Bigger decree is a step in the long-awaited general mobilization — a nationwide draft to fill those military ranks.
perhaps. But signing up another million men to fight in a conflict that is already five months and 27 days longer than estimated, and which has already claimed 45,000 Russian lives, may not be the most popular move. Especially for someone who has already taken his nation back Well over On the brink of ruin.
But maybe all those new recruits will get coupons for fries at Tasty and That’s It … when they get some fries.
An interesting thread on the fortunes of Russia’s 4th Guards Tank Division, and how their most advanced tank starred in a parade through Kyiv.