Russia’s “Potemkin Army”

Russia’s “Potemkin Army”

Russia’s “Potemkin Army”

[NOTE — The author of this piece is Kaz Dziamka. Kaz came from Poland in 1981, got a PhD in American Studies at the University of New Mexico, and taught college English and American Studies for 20 years.  He has published a couple of books: Adventures in Freedom, and (in Polish), “Moja słowiańska wolność” (My Slavic freedom). For 14 years he was editor of the American Rationalist.]

The new Free Inquiry, the flagship magazine of American secular humanists, arrived today (September 27), and I read, with growing intellectual pleasure, the first Op-Ed, “Is War with China Inevitable,” by Shadia B. Drury, professor emerita at Regina University.

It is informative and scholarly; it is good, very good and so important that it should be republished in, for example, Consortium News, one of the most respectable independent journals, “the first investigative news magazine based on the Internet.” Perhaps Max Blumenthal of The Grayzone will promote it as well.

And then I read the second Op-Ed, “The Devil’s Bargain” by S.T. Joshi. I was stunned when I read that according to Joshi, “[Putin’s] Potemkin army can’t win battles except with the aid of ruthless mercenaries.” [sic]

I stopped reading. I put the FI aside.

Joshi’s statement is a shocking example of rabid, mindless russophobia—even in a Russia-hating country like the United States, the second most russophobic country in the world (the first one being Poland). The fact is that Putin’s “Potemkin army” has accomplished relatively more than what the US army, the “mightiest in the world,” has accomplished since the end of the Second World War.

In Vietnam, for instance, the US army was kicked out by Communist guerrillas in a most ignoble way, even though the Americans had slaughtered about 2-3 million Vietnamese people, including innocent peasants, both men and women and children. In Afghanistan, the US army fought for about 20 years only to be eventually defeated by Afghani peasants and goat herders. The US army may have won battles but lost the wars and has done nothing good either in Afghanistan or Vietnam. Likewise in hundreds of other military interventions all over the world. (Yes, hundreds.) One no longer needs to even mention the brutal destruction by the US/NATO armies of Iraq, Serbia, and Libya, for example. Everyone knows, or should know, what happened.

Military analyses and comparisons must always be made in a relevant context. To say that Putin’s “Potemkin army cannot win battles” assumes that Russia lost its military interventions in Syria, for example. Or Abhkazia. Or South Ossetia. But she did not.

In the current war in Ukraine, Putin’s “Potemkin army”, after a year and a half, has taken control of over 20 percent of Ukrainian territory. Not just any Ukrainian land, but the best, the most valuable Ukrainian real estate, that is, the Crimea and the Donbas area because these regions are inhabited mostly by ethnic Russians. And Putin’s “Potemkin army” isn’t fighting “guerrillas or peasants”; it is fighting a regular Ukrainian army illegally armed to the teeth by NATO during the 8 years after the US-sponsored coup in Kiev in 2014, which ousted the legally elected Ukraine’s President Victor Yanukovych.  Before launching its military operation in 2022, Russia repeatedly urged a peaceful solution to the problem of ethnic Russians in Donbas being threatened and killed by the Ukrainian army. But neither Ukraine nor NATO/USA were ever going to abide by the Minsk agreements. And they did not.

At least 14 European countries (mainly Germany, England, and Poland) and the US have been sending their advanced weapons to Ukraine in its war against Russia. The US has already spent over $100 billion on aid to Ukraine, which is now economically and financially bankrupt and is kept afloat only by American money. Had Russia been forced to wage war only against Ukraine, the war would have been over in a week or so.

During the current war in Ukraine, Putin’s “Potemkin army” has killed over 400,000 Ukrainian soldiers and disabled another several hundred thousand. About 10 million Ukrainians have fled their country in panic, dispersed all over Europe and elsewhere, also in Russia. Now that the Russian army has stopped and thwarted another Ukrainian counteroffensive, another 70,000 Ukrainians are dead.  Of the about 12,000 foreign mercenaries who have fought illegally in Ukraine, mostly Britons and Poles, only about 2000 remain. The rest have either deserted or been injured or killed. More and more Ukrainians are realizing that they cannot—nobody can—win a war against Russia, and recently thousands of Ukrainian troops have surrendered. (According to Redacted on September 28, about 10,000 Ukrainian soldiers have recently called Russian commanders in Ukraine to offer to surrender.)

Some failure to win battles, indeed!

But the dismal record of the hundreds of US military interventions all over the globe is only part of the moral decline of the West. Early last year, US President officially and publicly threatened to destroy a 20-billion-dollar Russian energy infrastructure, which was a critical part of the European gas supply system. He did threaten, and he did keep his word: on September 26, 2022, the Nord Stream natural gas pipelines in the Baltic Sea were blown up, the worst case of economic terrorism in history and a huge environmental disaster. This appalling act of American-European economic terrorism was carried out with the help of some local Norwegian, Polish and other russophobic simpletons, who did not hesitate to obey the orders of their Criminal-in-Chief. A senior European politician, former Polish Foreign Minister, publicly praised the US for this horror. “Thank you, USA,” he said on twitter.

At the same time, Russian culture is being systematically erased, particularly in Europe. Concerts offering Russian music, for instance, are being cancelled, while Russian financial assets are either frozen or stolen and Russian tourists banned or restricted from visiting NATO countries. Some Ukrainian propagandists—Sarah Ashton-Cirillo, for example—now “claim” that Russians derive from Mongol barbarians and that, as a result, they are Asians, not Europeans, and that Russian land should be carved up into several provinces and run by American/Western corporations.

What we call “Western civilization” has become over the past decade hardly more than well-organized, legalized russophobic banditry.

Anyhow, it’s too late now to wage war on Russia, and nobody sensible should, as Dimitry Orlov, an American-Russian engineer and writer, recently argued on “Dialogue Works.” Russia is too powerful and entirely self-sufficient in her natural wealth and advanced military know-how.

If you remain skeptical, understand this: It may be that when Russia is sufficiently provoked and threatened by NATO and USA, she will decide to send “Mr. Kinzhal” (as Pepe Escobar would say) to Brussels, London, Warsaw or even Washington. And you know what that means: once a Russian hypersonic missile is programed to hit a certain target and is then released on its mission, nobody and nothing in the US or anywhere else on the planet can stop it. The only option for the Kinzhal is to hit the target. With some devastating consequences, all according to the laws of the physics of hypersonic speed.

And “Mr. Kinzhal” is only one of Russia’s six new superweapons, it is only one of a family of Russian new hypersonic missiles. The Zircon is another. So is the Avangard.  There is nothing comparable to these missiles in the arsenals of all western countries. Russia is ahead of the US at least several years in the development of hypersonic missile technology. The only country that comes close is China, and China is now a close military and economic partner of Russia.

If Joshi and millions of other American russophobes are still unimpressed by Russia’s unstoppable hypersonic missiles, then they should remember that Russia also happens to have developed the most destructive, the apocalyptic, super heavy ICBM on the planet. If a visit by “Mr. Kinzhal” does not force the American political and military establishment to consider reason and common sense in its suicidally reckless russophobic policy, then certainly a visit by “Mr. Satan” (the RS-28 Sarmat) will at last knock some sense into the heads of American russophobes … that is, those who survive.

It will take only one “Satan” (or perhaps two) to put everything out of existence on most of the US northern-east cost and convert it into a pile of smoldering radioactive waste. Everything out of existence means of course, among other things, the editorial office of Free Inquiry and its contributing editor called S.T. Joshi.

Editorials and op-eds like the one by Joshi are irresponsible russophobic rantings of an uninformed, deluded person who doesn’t realize that he is courting his own—and his nation’s—disaster and death. Joshi is so blinded by his russophobia that he doesn’t even realize that he makes an embarrassing logical mistake when he claims that the only way for Putin to win a battle is to engage “merciless Wagner mercenaries.” Well, who are Wagner fighters? They are Russians, of course, and Wagner is a Russian military formation entirely under the control of the Russian military government, which funds Wagner and assigns its military operations. What is Joshi’s point? That Russians cannot win a battle … but that they can?

To wrap up, let me repeat: “Satans,” like Kinzhals, are unstoppable. The RS-28 Sarmat, by the way, can carry 24 Avangard hypersonic missiles and is “claimed to be completely immune to any current or prospective missile defense systems.” It so happens that it has officially entered Russian combat service this month.

It is then the highest time to take Russia seriously and to negotiate with her respectfully. It is the highest time to realize that we cannot, none of us, afford to risk facing another 1962-type-nuclear crisis. We were just lucky that time. We may not be this time. And it will be all over.

In the incomprehensibly vast universe, “nobody” will care. “Nobody” will even notice.

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Author: Larry Johnson