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02Pilot
02Pilot UberDork
6/4/22 8:00 p.m.

In reply to aircooled :

My trouble with that video is the breezy certainty of the presentation, at least the part I was able to sit through (I find the voiceover grating). There's no attributable evidence that I heard, and the titles of other videos from that source are littered with words like "insane" and "sucks", and "Why X is Y" as if complex geopolitical issues can be comprehensively explained in eight minutes. Without a doubt there are aspects of the energy transportation infrastructure that bear on the decision for war, but I think the case is rather narrowly presented, and again, without evidentiary support.

Any agreement that requires direct cooperation is going to be very difficult to maintain, both bilaterally and domestically, for both countries. As far as population movement, this mirrors the Cold War in Germany; Russia doesn't want free movement, because they know the population flow will be outward.

aircooled
aircooled MegaDork
6/4/22 11:32 p.m.

I don't know.  It seems like there was a fair amount of evidence in there.  The location of the energy deposits, the pipeline logistics, the basic numbers of the Russian economy.  I certainly don't know any of those as a fact personally, but I don't think they would be terribly hard to verify.

Besides, generally, one of the best ways to figure out motivation, is to follow the money, and there is a LOT of that involved here.

In regards to population flow, that was more of "pick where you want to be kind of thing".

How does Russia control the outflow now? I have heard it is happening.  I suspect by not granting visas?

frenchyd
frenchyd MegaDork
6/5/22 8:58 a.m.

Plenty of ways to exit Russia even now.  Working factory fishing boats that sell their catch into the US,  or any kind of marine work.  Crossing borders into Europe or Central Asia ( or even China ).  Much of those borders are like America.  Full of leaks. 
    The advantage of a white skin causes most Russian illegals to go unnoticed. At the height of the pre 2008 building boom a lot of the crews working construction were from Russia or the Ukraine.  
     

02Pilot
02Pilot UberDork
6/5/22 9:13 a.m.

In reply to aircooled :

Maybe I missed some key points in my limited viewing; I'll try to get through it with closed captioning and review. But again, the sensationalistic tone of some of the video titles from that source leaves me skeptical as to the depth of the analysis.

"Pick where you want to be" was the problem in post-war Germany - too many people decided they wanted to be in the West. The Berlin Wall was designed to stop that. I don't know what mechanisms Russia is using to control things now, but I do know that loss of population - especially young people - is increasingly problematic for them.

frenchyd
frenchyd MegaDork
6/5/22 9:18 p.m.

In reply to 02Pilot :

Not only Russia but most of the world has population growth ending or in a lot of cases completely ended. 
  Russia is down to 122 million and with a birth rate that won't even support that. Not only that but AIDS. And other diseases is quickly reducing even that population.  
Alcohol  and drugs are further reducing population.   With grannies selling shots of vodka for the morning commute. 
 Technically qualified are fleeing the country as fast as possible. Along with many with advanced degrees in medicine  or education.  
     On top of that mandatory draft duty has young men trying desperately to escape.   And yes a few of the criminal elements seeking richer pickings in the west.          
 In Japan the population has been steadily going down since the 1980's and young women choosing not to get married and have children.  
   China ended the 1 child rule decades ago. But the damage that did to women has men  required to not only have a good job but also a home preferably in a good section of the city before marriage is considered.  Yes there is a women shortage in China. 

02Pilot
02Pilot UberDork
6/6/22 9:44 a.m.

This is an excellent, no nonsense operational summary of the recent fighting in Ukraine.

 

 

aircooled
aircooled MegaDork
6/6/22 11:45 a.m.

Here is a quick update.  No real sign of a significant Ukrainian offensive yet, but yes... another Russian general may have bit the dust!

 

  • Ukrainian counterattacks in Severodonetsk recaptured large parts of the city and forced Russian troops out of the southern suburbs of the city.
  • Russian forces continued efforts to converge on Slovyansk from the southeast of Izyum and west of Lyman but remain unlikely to make notable advances around Slovyansk due to their continued prioritization of Severodonetsk.
  • Ukrainian troops reportedly conducted limited and localized counterattacks north of Kharkiv City.
  • Russian forces continued to hold their defensive lines and fire at Ukrainian positions along the Southern Axis.
  • Ukrainian forces likely killed Russian Major General Roman Kutuzov near Popasna.

A bit more info on the dead general: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-10886971/Vladimir-Putin-loses-11th-general-Ukraine-war-defenders-ambush-vehicle-Donbas.html

Kreb (Forum Supporter)
Kreb (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
6/6/22 12:26 p.m.

A friend of mine wrote this. He's well versed on military history (as well as a bunch of other things. A true Renaissance man) . It's on his facebook page where you'll also see some fairly mind-blowing fabrication: 

"Henry Chang

Ukraine - Day 102

Someone pinch me!

The Ukrainian military may be in the process of having pulled off a rare tactical masterstroke. They seem to have staged a feigned retreat through most of Sievierodonetsk, the city in the Donbas. This is the very eastern edge of the conflict where the Russian military has concentrated almost all of its available reserves in an attempt to salvage some sort of military 'victory' Putin can present to the Russian people before annexing the Luhansk and Donetsk Oblasts.

The last week has been troubling for any pro-Ukrainian observer. Russian artillery has been able to inflict nonstop barrages on Sievierodonetsk and the surrounding environs, degrading the Ukrainian units unfortunate enough to be placed in those positions. Reports have been filtering out of Ukrainian troops losing morale to the point of mutiny as they were given a mission which cannot be fulfilled with their current weapons system disparities (the artillery). Russian Wagner Group mercenaries flanked the Ukrainian trenches in Poposna, overrunning them as the Ukrainians fled a system designed to handle a frontal assault, but not an attack from the side or the rear. Russian lines were moving forward in the very eastern edges of the Donbas cauldron, it seemed as if the Ukrainians were on the point of collapse. the Ukrainian military brass warned of the possibility of having to withdraw from the cauldron on May 28. Russia poured in all available reserves into Sievierodonetsk the last few days, meeting very little resistance as they advanced against a demoralized, routing adversary.

Bloggers despaired, retired American generals were fooled, one even stated a few days ago on a podcast with on the youtube Council of Foreign Relations channel that it was impossible for Ukraine to evict Russia from Ukrainian territory.

Turns out it was all a ruse! (although that may not be true of Poposna)

The Russian Chechen forces (who are almost a parody of themselves) made celebratory videos of themselves in residential areas of Sievierodonetsk. There are no Ukrainians in sight, no soldiers, no civilians. It should have been a very loud warning sign to the Chechens, but this is a military which has not been trained in such subtleties. There is no one around because everyone (except the Russians) have been warned that all hell is going to break loose.

Today, the Ukrainians, holding the last bit of Sievierodonetsk with their backs to the river, wheeled and counterattacked the Russians. It is a classic feigned retreat, executed on a scale which hasn't been seen (to the best of my knowledge) in a long time. The Ukrainian military leadership played into it with press releases that they might have to retreat from the Sievierodonetsk cauldron, that's feigning retreat on a global level as both Eastern European bloggers as well as observers half a world away (me included) bought into the feint.

The city of Sievierodonetsk is situated on the eastern bank of the Siverskyi Donetsk River. On the other side of the river occupying the western bank is the city of Lysychansk. Lysychansk is built upon ridge which has a birds eye view of the river and the flat territory beyond. Lysychansk's ridgetop averages 190 meters above sea level. Sievierodonetsk, on the flat ground on the other side, averages about 60 meters above sea level. Given the proximity of the front line and the elevation advantage, it means that Ukrainian artillery on the ridge can point its howitzers directly into the front Russian lines and aim using the human eye. They can sight down the barrel. This is a deadly advantage because dumb munitions suddenly are very accurate. Normally, artillery fires from many miles away, the shells are fired into the sky and they spend a minute or two in the air on a long parabolic arc on the way to the target. If the target is close and the artillery can't see it, the barrel will point almost straight up into the air.. The dumb (unguided) munitions are typically not particularly accurate when firing in this (intended) manner, there needs to be an entire artillery battery utilized to take out a specific target by raining lots of shells. Having the high ground and being able to sight in directly is clearly a massive advantage. Moreover, the Ukrainians drawing the Russians into urban fighting reduces the distance between the forces to near zero where the Ukrainians have the upper hand in close combat fighting. It also means that the Russians aren't able to launch artillery barrages without the risk of taking out their own troops along with the adversary. To top it off, the Ukrainian high ground advantage gives its artillery greater range relative to the Russians. The Russian artillery has to go through a no man's land where they are within range of Ukrainian artillery, but the Ukrainian batteries are not yet within range of the Russian guns.

Initial unconfirmed reports are that the Chechens, along with other Russians engaging in their cavalier cellphone camera video selfies took heavy losses. Not surprising. When the barrage starts and you're out in the open in newly conquered territory, you're not gonna know where the cover is. They likely immediately hit the ground, but that's not really good cover, they needed to be in a trench or a basement.

The Ukrainians took back 20% of the city, but didn't press on. It's brilliant. They need to maintain that zero line of contact. They are much more motivated than the Russians so Ukrainians will have the upper hand in close quarters urban combat. In close combat, the prime mover isn't weapons, it's motivation. The Ukrainians also need to keep the Russians within direct fire range of their howitzers across the river and hope that the Russians are too dumb (ie. Putin being too dumb) to retreat into more defensible positions.

Probably the most extreme and famous example of a feigned retreat is the Battle of the Kalka River which featured the Mongols (under Jebe and Subutai) against the Cumans (a nomadic adversary of the Mongols) and their allies, a host of Kievan Rus city states. It's a bit ironic since the Kievan Rus are the ancestors of both Ukraine and Russia.

The Mongols were on a long range reconaissance mission across thousands of miles. They had defeated the Khwarezmian Empire (in modern day Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Iran). Subutai and Jebe requested permission from Genghis Khan to take 30,000 soldiers and conduct a long range reconaissance mission through the Caucuses Mountains, around the Caspian Sea, to see what lay beyond the Mongol sphere of contact/knowledge. The Mongols fought some epic battles (which of course they won) on their way to chasing the fleeing Cumans who persuaded the Kievan Rus princes to fight the Mongols, despite Mongol envoys asking them to be neutral as their disagreement lay with the Cumans. The Kievan Rus principalities raised an army of 100,000 to confront the by then 20,000 Mongol force (they had lost many men in the winter crossing of the Caucasus Range). The Mongols panicked, left behind many valuable plunder items in their haste to retreat and for 9(!) days they retreated, leaving behind valuable and heavy treasures to give the impression they were attempting to unweight themselves of such burdens to increase their rate of retreat.

The enthusiasm and greed of the Cumans and Kievan Rus princes played into the Mongol ploy as the princes (and the Cumans) each marched with their own column rather than a single unified force. All were eager to be the first to stumble upon abandoned bits of plunder. By day 9, they were extremely stretched out over many miles. Then the fleeing, seemingly disorganized Mongols turned, assumed battle formation and charged into the first column, the Cumans. Of course they fled and the routing Cuman cavalry caused chaos in the following columns. One of them managed to maintain cohesion and barricade themselves inside a temporary fort of wagons atop a hill. That defense had no chance and in the end, the Mongols took the Kievan Rus princes prisoner, wrapped them in carpets, threw boards atop the carpets and held a victory feast atop the suffocating Kievan Rus nobility. According to Kievan Rus accounts, less than 1 in 10 of the Kievan Rus soldiers returned home from the battle, a battle in which they initially outnumbered the Mongols 5 to 1.

The feigned retreat was the tactic of first resort for the Mongols, but they were only able to utilize it effectively because they had created perhaps the most disciplined army in history. The tactic will not work with an undisciplined force because it's too easy for the feigned retreat to turn into a rout, from a fake retreat into a real retreat. A rout is the least desirable of all military actions because there's zero cohesion and it's comparatively easy to kill an adversary whose back is turned and they're running away.

In WW2 in the very region where the current battles are being fought, the German Field Marshall Erich von Manstein was able to conduct several major "backhand" counteroffensives after losing ground, but from what I recall those weren't feigned retreats, they were real ones. von Manstein had an ability to recognize overstretched Soviet lines and quickly organize the routed forces to take advantage of the enemy's temporary weakness. I mention those operations because those are the only actions in the last century (which I can recall) that even vaguely resemble a feigned retreat. Despite the Eastern Front in WW2 being the largest conflict in human history, it was largely bereft of such tactics due to the "not one step back" and "fortress city" orders of Stalin and Adolph H. respectively. Egotistical and short-sighted bastards, both of them.

I'd like to thank the Ukrainian military for doing such a thing. It wasn't something I figured would ever be seen in my lifetime, it was something which lived only in military actions of long ago legends, the actions of the Mongols, of Belisarius, of Hannibal Barca. Modern military tactics have comparatively lacked that level of imagination and execution, WW1 featured incompetent generals (entitled members of nobility) who literally purchased their commands, then subsequently sent millions of men to charge enemy trenches through no man's land and throw themselves needlessly into sure death against machine guns. Modern weapons had advanced to the point where their lethality had exceeded the scope of those ignorant, ossified generals' imaginations to achieve anything against these new technologies.

Of course this war is far from over. There's still a lot of weapons to be delivered before the Ukrainians reach artillery parity. I wonder though:

Will the Russians stay in their trap? They've committed all available reserves to the effort to take Sievierodonetsk. Will they stay in the city, at a zero contact line, where Ukrainian will gives Ukraine a large advantage in close quarters fighting, or will the Russians withdraw to open ground where their standoff weapons negate that Ukrainian advantage? Withdrawing won't be something that Putin will be enthusiastic about doing, but he probably wasn't enthusiastic about extracting his forces from their suicidal positions around Kyiv either.

I wrote this because 1) I'm excited about it and 2) the US mainstream media has almost abandoned coverage of this conflict. They get more clicks/views about domestic mass shootings at the moment, flawed analysis by some retired generals (it's not always that way, sometimes it's been good) has been largely abandoned and even clickbait stories about Russian atrocities upon civilians are no longer on American channels.

As always, my information is incomplete and my conclusions could be completely wrong."

eastsideTim
eastsideTim PowerDork
6/6/22 12:38 p.m.

In reply to Kreb (Forum Supporter) :

I hope it is true, and I hope they are successful.

aircooled
aircooled MegaDork
6/6/22 12:53 p.m.

As noted von Manstein was known for making the Russians pay very heavily by using strategic retreats in WWII. That basically called for an immediate counter attack on the now exposed attacking forces.  Also as noted, he had no expectation of actually taking back ground though just punishing the Russians

frenchyd
frenchyd MegaDork
6/6/22 12:56 p.m.

In reply to Kreb (Forum Supporter) :

Tactics such as that should prevail.  With the corruption present  in Russian  military  and the loss of so many senior officers. The conscripts  the Russians are using won't recognize such traps.  

Mr_Asa
Mr_Asa GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
6/6/22 1:30 p.m.
trigun7469
trigun7469 UltraDork
6/7/22 9:34 a.m.
AClockworkGarage
AClockworkGarage Dork
6/7/22 11:39 p.m.

The important thing to remember is that Ukraine doesn't need to win. They just need to not lose.

02Pilot
02Pilot UberDork
6/8/22 7:11 a.m.

In reply to AClockworkGarage :

Indeed, however the definitions are very murky here. What does a "not loss" look like? Regaining territory lost this year? Since 2014? Some of it? None at all? What about the economic viability of what's left? Given reliance on Western support, certainly Ukraine is not the only party to establishing this definition. There is bound to be disagreement, especially as time passes. Ukraine has already indicated a maximalist definition in many ways, whereas some Western countries are already pushing a very different endstate as not only acceptable but desirable.

volvoclearinghouse
volvoclearinghouse PowerDork
6/8/22 7:32 a.m.

In reply to 02Pilot :

Exactly. We seem to be sort of a "whack-a-mole" phase of this situation; One side advances, takes some territory, then gives it up.  It may not be really clear for a long time, if ever, what the outcome is going to be. 

stroker
stroker UberDork
6/8/22 9:59 a.m.

It's beginning to remind me of Iraq/Iran...

aircooled
aircooled MegaDork
6/8/22 10:23 a.m.

In reply to volvoclearinghouse :

I would not be that pessimistic, yet.

One way to look at it (maybe), is Ukraine resisting Russia's main effort in the east as it prepares for a big punch in the west.

Ukraine has made very good progress pushing Russia out of the Kharkiv (north east) area and some progress in the Kherson (south west) area, where they may make a bigger attempt(?).  You can say they are only doing OK in the West, but it sounds like they are grinding up the Russians reasonably well.

As Russia runs low on equipment, Ukraine gains new (and better) equipment... while the western money train lasts...

stroker
stroker UberDork
6/8/22 10:29 a.m.
aircooled said:

In reply to volvoclearinghouse :

As Russia runs low on equipment, Ukraine gains new (and better) equipment... while the western money train lasts...

And the counterbalance to that is how long it will take for the Russian citizenry to realize how many lives they're losing.

NOHOME
NOHOME MegaDork
6/8/22 10:31 a.m.

How does this end with russia not joining North Korea in the Pariah division of humanity? Even worse than korea in that who wants to adopt a dog that is not just a growler, but proven to bite your friends for no reason? 

 

With technology moving at the speed it does nowadays, dropping out for the time it takes to wage a war will make it very hard to play catch-up.  That is not even factoring in the rumored brain-drain where young tech savvy people are leaving the country. Who will lease them their next airplane if russian commercial planes should ever be welcome at a foreign airport again?

 

 

eastsideTim
eastsideTim PowerDork
6/8/22 10:58 a.m.

In reply to NOHOME :

The difference is Russia has oil, grains, and various minerals to export, so someone is going to be willing to trade with them.  North Korea tended to survive mostly on being a client state of the Soviet Union/Russia or China, and didn't have much to offer the wider world.  They'll still have a E36 M3 economy, but it'll be orders of magnitude better than NK.

02Pilot
02Pilot UberDork
6/8/22 11:36 a.m.
stroker said:
aircooled said:

In reply to volvoclearinghouse :

As Russia runs low on equipment, Ukraine gains new (and better) equipment... while the western money train lasts...

And the counterbalance to that is how long it will take for the Russian citizenry to realize how many lives they're losing.

More importantly, how long will it take - if it ever happens to a meaningful degree - for the Russian populace to attribute those deaths to the policies of their own leadership? Losing lives in war, if the people view the war as just, can be tolerated almost indefinitely. So far, Putin's narrative has remained convincing for a significant segment of the Russian population, and for them, these are noble deaths in service of their country, not lives wasted.

aircooled
aircooled MegaDork
6/8/22 11:51 a.m.
NOHOME said:

How does this end with Russia not joining North Korea in the Pariah division of humanity? ....

With technology moving at the speed it does nowadays, dropping out for the time it takes to wage a war will make it very hard to play catch-up. ...

If nothing else, the west is well aware of that danger.  My (semi-uneducated on the specific subject) guess would be to encourage them in an economic sense, while discouraging them in a military sense(?)  02 might have a better angle on this.

Regarding technology.  I think it has been shown in the conflict that Russia is generally behind the west in a number of ways, and as you note, will only get worse.  Again, I would say, encourage non-military technology, and punish military.  Not sure exactly how the "punish" would manifest.

As an example, apparently the Russian gain ground in the day to loose it at night because they have limited night fighting capability.  E.g. a lot of their tanks / vehicles do not have night vision sights!  Their drone situation is a bit pathetic in comparison also.

02Pilot
02Pilot UberDork
6/8/22 12:42 p.m.

In reply to aircooled :

Again, it comes down to the endstates desired by the various parties. When it comes to the noncombatant participants, how do they select policies to encourage Russia in a particular direction? If the West wants a Russia that is more inclined toward the Western economic world (as opposed to China), it certainly does itself no favors by talking about war crimes trials and endless sanctions. As much as they might be fitting and appropriate, many in the West seem to conveniently forget that in no scenario does Russia surrender unconditionally and lie prostrate before the world, impotently awaiting judgment. If you want Russia to play ball in any sense, you're going to have to offer them something in return; if the West doesn't, you can bet China will, and I don't see how that works in the West's favor. The sooner the US realizes that they are going to have to deal with the Russia government as it is - as opposed to how they would like it to be - the sooner they can start thinking about realistic options.

stroker
stroker UberDork
6/8/22 2:06 p.m.
02Pilot said:

In reply to aircooled :

Again, it comes down to the endstates desired by the various parties. When it comes to the noncombatant participants, how do they select policies to encourage Russia in a particular direction? If the West wants a Russia that is more inclined toward the Western economic world (as opposed to China), it certainly does itself no favors by talking about war crimes trials and endless sanctions. As much as they might be fitting and appropriate, many in the West seem to conveniently forget that in no scenario does Russia surrender unconditionally and lie prostrate before the world, impotently awaiting judgment. If you want Russia to play ball in any sense, you're going to have to offer them something in return; if the West doesn't, you can bet China will, and I don't see how that works in the West's favor. The sooner the US realizes that they are going to have to deal with the Russia government as it is - as opposed to how they would like it to be - the sooner they can start thinking about realistic options.

Okay, 02, I'd like to ask you a serious question.  My impression is Russia (to use a metaphor) as an "organic" entity is being consumed by parasites.  Corruption is clearly eating whatever confidence in government or social fabric they have.  Their demographic situation, between drug and alcohol abuse, brain drain, etc. is awful.  Their overall population of traditional Russians is on the decline and I see no sign or hope of a turnaround.  Given their situation I'd think any fair assessment would conclude they're on the way to "failed state" or something equally catastrophic--there's just too much territory to cover and soon there won't be enough government or oligarchs to police it.  I can see a lot of incentive for China to start trying to flood Siberia with "illegal aliens" and for all of the various "Stan" nations to do the same with western Russia.  Do you agree with that, generally?

 

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