One Vladimir Turovskoy published an op-ed on Topwar.ru (aka Voyennoye obozreniye) on April 8.
Topwar often has useful information on military issues. Sometimes not. It’s a mixed bag.
Turovskoy’s article is a right-wing critique of Putin’s “special military operation” against Ukraine.
While anti-war protesters are arrested and fined for “discrediting” the army, this sharp criticism of Putin’s campaign and his regime is not banned.
The piece makes various points about the military’s operational failures to date and the West’s economic war to “destroy” Russia.
Turovskoy directs his main criticism at Russia’s oligarchs. He identifies them with Putin’s “fifth column of national traitors” who “make money here in our country but live over there” (i.e. in the West) and who are “not here with our people and with Russia.” He suggests the oligarchs could try to make some kind of deal to end the war in the Ukraine.
But he fires on Putin too, saying he should have struck Ukraine sooner. He blames Putin’s closest cronies, like FM Lavrov, for falling down on the job.
Turovskoy does all but urge stripping oligarchs of their assets to support the war and he calls for full military and economic mobilization.
But the commentator doesn’t say Putin himself is the top oligarch sitting astride the Russian economy. Maybe he doesn’t have to. Putin is obviously part and parcel of all oligarchs in thrall to him.
But Turovskoy still seems to hope Putin might free himself from the oligarchs and prosecute a full-scale war.
Lastly, he seems to suggest, however obliquely, that Russia prepare to use nuclear weapons to protect its interests if it continues losing the war on Ukraine.
There has been plenty of debate whether Moscow would go nuclear if its security were threatened by defeat in a conventional conflict. The so-called “escalate to de-escalate” strategy. To Turovskoy and certainly others, losing in Ukraine is worse than nuclear war. But he is afraid to state it plainly.
This kind of essay, from the right, from a more nationalist stance, underscores the war is not just Putin’s. It’s Russia’s war and may last until Russia is defeated or exhausted.
Here’s a translation.
Special Military Operation in Ukraine: A View from the Sticks
Developing political and military events in Ukraine call forth a lot of questions, primarily about achieving aims announced by Russia’s president, which he said were de-Nazification and demilitarization. The Russian people understood what Putin told them, that these declared goals and missions applied to the entire territory of Ukraine wholly and fully, including its western part.
This is completely logical because to leave a hotbed of evil, hatred, Banderovites and nationalism in its lair is to subscribe in advance to future problems on this very plane, if not even worse. Probably there are few now who doubt that our generals, along with the FSB (where would we be without it), and even Putin himself, believing in the power of the Russian Army exalted to the heavens by our glorious TV and other media, figured on one-two weeks to solve the problem by military means.
But it didn’t go this way.
First. Clear successes of the Russian Army in the first days of the offensive and a number of air strikes with precision weapons on airfields, headquarters and reconnoitered positions of the VSU1, the advantage in weapons quality, including aviation, made it possible to feel quite confident we would easily solve the assigned missions. However, as we moved deeper into the territory of Ukraine, VSU resistance grew in proportion to the inflated in Western media image of Russia as a terrible aggressor who started a war against the freedom-loving Ukrainian people. And taking into account the fact that all this mess in the heads of Europeans and Ukrainians was cooked up long ago, we got an explosion of hatred for Russia with all the ensuing consequences.
Second. Ukraine, pumped up with Western weapons, trained by competent military specialists and using the intelligence of American satellites, having the most advanced U.S. iPhones, iPads and notebooks, in real time, day and night, at a speed of 250 mb/s, has the ability to track any movement of RF troops, down to a matchbox in the pocket of some Russian warrant officer in the latrine. As soon as the effect of surprise and the shock of the initial strike passed, the VSU with the help of Western sponsors and teachers began to organize a well thought-out and furious resistance. Does it turn out we didn’t suppose this would be the case?
Third. Some “analysts” (from the phrase “does everyone have a drink?”2) supposed at the sight of RF tanks the deceived people of Ukraine would run to meet them with flowers. In 2014 it’s possible this might have been the case. But in 2022, even those Ukrainians who went to visit Putin and swore an oath of eternal love to him took machine guns and signed up for territorial defense. Thus, the Russian army began to deal with global resistance on all sectors of the front, in every house, in every city. Of course, you can use the American tactics of carpet bombing, but this is “not our method.”
Fourth. The huge expenditure of high-precision and expensive missiles raises a legitimate question, do we have enough of a stock created for a long conflict? What are the losses of aviation, which also costs a lot of money and its losses cannot be easily compensated, especially flight crew? Judging by the periodically decreasing and increasing intensity of missile strikes, there is an insufficient quantity of high-precision weapons produced by industry. It seems there are simply not enough. They take them hot as pies from the factory to the front, shoot them and wait for the next batch. And then still more will be needed. The alternative is soldiers’ lives…
Putin’s words that “you need to hit first,” which his very ardent and not very smart admirers are fond of quoting, led to a decision that put Russia in front of the whole world in the pose of a woman, as they say, “of low social responsibility.” The world has never seen such unbridled anti-Russian propaganda and outright, undisguised lies about Russia. The goal is to destroy us, primarily economically, to finish off the remnants by military means, to break it up into small principalities, where local princelings will fiercely gnaw at each other’s throats, like Russia and Ukraine now, for the amusement of transoceanic and European publics.
Moreover, at no risk to themselves, since by then Russia’s nuclear weapons will be rendered inoperative, partly by forceful military means, partly by the bribery and betrayal of the highest officials of the RF. Don’t doubt such ones will be found! The state raised them, nurtured them, enriched them, endowed them with appropriate powers, and they are secretly waiting for their finest hour to ensure finally and forever their comfortable and luxurious existence in countries with a high standard of living.
And thirty years of inactivity by the entire state apparatus, including our MFA with its frantic number of highly paid diplomats, its chief and his lover travel about on Deripaska’s private jets3, what do we need to do? This is how it’s necessary to “work” for thirty years to bring the country close to a nuclear war? Maybe, after all, we should have thought earlier, at least a decade sooner, that this Ukraine, which is “not Russia” in the words of the old chatterbox Kravchuk4, could make us hiccup in the future?
No matter what anyone says, this is a complete failure of Russia’s foreign policy, when instead of at least some long–term forecast and analysis of the situation in Ukraine, in the Baltic States, the “Ozero” cooperative5 “made bank,” enriching itself and its children, relatives and lovers. And now they’re throwing up their hands, how so? And that’s it! It was necessary not to steal, but to invest money in the country, in ordinary people, to deal with the economy and security of the state, and not to “express concern,” while actually living on enemy territory with their children and grandchildren who’ve already forgotten Russian. But it’s so, just saying…
Here’s just one question: how long can we hold out? As long as you want! We have everything, all Mendeleyev’s table6, forests, water, the desire and ability to fight, even with the devil. So why are we, in a pathetic state, still selling the USA and Europe gas, oil, uranium, other rare earth metals? Is it simply charity? Why are supporting countries which see us destroyed in their dreams? After all those dollars and euros, even converted into rubles, will settle in the banks of countries which bought minerals from us. It’s even hard to call that money – they are simply virtual mythical little figures in bank accounts which we can’t spend because they won’t sell us anything we need.
And the treasure chest opens simply! Our oligarchs close to the emperor can’t be without income. Even stones from the sky, there has to be profit. And not to the people, not to you and me, not for the country’s security goes this money. Only into the bottomless pockets of Deripaskas, Usmanovs, Abramoviches, Millers and Sechins, Rotenbergs and Kovalchuks, to secret offshores somewhere on the Cayman Islands. It’s not for nothing that Ukraine received oil, diesel, gas up to the last day, from whom do you think? From Russia! Well and from Belarus, of course…
A question naturally arises: can we possibly allow all this?
Just don’t think I’ll urge stopping the military operation. In Russian there’s a good saying: Having said “a,” you have to say “b.” Considering NATO’s readiness to enter the conflict, especially since, having “felt” Russia’s chest with the help of Ukraine, their fears have diminished, and the “European hyena” is already eager for battle, wishing, as always, to bite off its piece, Russia will have to stiffen up powerfully.
Only full military mobilization and transferring the economy to a military footing can guarantee our victory over this genuine, evil enemy. Across the ocean they are watching how we’ll cope with this mission. Will they get their backs up? I don’t know, anything’s possible. I hope Russia’s SYaS7 will be ready for this.
But inside the country it’s necessary to eliminate any possibilities for the fulfillment of secret plans of oligarchs, eliminate our own mistakes, both political and military. Here one can quote the correct words of well-known VO8 author A. Timokhin9:
“This is a very important moment – our system can’t recognize its mistakes, even in private, and without acknowledging mistakes, you can never begin to correct them. This political factor must be duly accounted for in any military planning – large-scale changes in the military-technical policy of Russia are almost impossible, even with the country facing ruin, but those changes which impinge on the interests of ‘respected persons,’ are generally impossible in principle, because the interests of respected persons now stand comparatively higher than the survival of the Russian Federation sometime later.”
That’s the main task today. And if we won’t fulfill it – we will be worthless. One of Hitler’s famous Nazis said that victors write the history.10 Therefore we should do everything so tomorrow the Nazis of Ukraine don’t write this history.
1Armed Forces of Ukraine.
2Lousy pun on аналитики and налито.
3Sergey Lavrov and his wealthy longtime mistress Svetlana Polyakova.
4First post-Soviet president of Ukraine.
5Property association formed in 1996 by Putin and his close associates all of whom became fabulously wealthy through his patronage. Ozero has a common bank account reportedly for them to funnel money to Putin.
6Periodic table of the elements.
7Strategic nuclear forces.
9Aleksandr Timokhin is a not particularly well-known military commentator who writes about navies, strategic issues, defense industries, and U.S. military policy for VO, Vzglyad, VPK, etc.
10Apparently a muffed quotation of Hermann Goering’s Nuremberg trial statement that, “The victor will always be the judge, and the vanquished the accused.”