Dmitry Medvedev, former President of Russia and Putin stooge of long standing, made an odd admission yesterday.
Dimi said that Russia would use nukes if they were to lose the war in Ukraine.
It is hard to read this any other way than an admission of future defeat for Russia.
Medvedev, who used to be a “liberal” interested in bringing Russia kicking and screaming into the modern world and developing healthy relations with Europe and the US, has become the designated spokesman for Russia’s persistent threats of nuclear obliteration.
It was Dimi who threatened Finland and Sweden there would be huuuuuuge consequences if they joined NATO. Yawn.
He is Putin’s best boy, so the message has to be seriously considered, but the words say something entirely different. The Russians are preparing themselves for defeat.
What’s odd about this, Big Red Car?
Baked into that cake is the admission that Russia could lose the war in Ukraine and that it is not a “special military operation” as the Putin catechism requires one to refer to it, but a war.
Good God, y’all!
So what, Big Red Car?
There was another bit of news: Russia is increasing the size of its military from 1,100,000 to 1,500,000 and will move certain command structures closer to the NATO border, specifically including Finland.
This super sizing will be used to support the next major mobilization of forces (conscripts) who will actually be diverted to Ukraine. This is a head fake.
Russia will also create a separate command for the war in Ukraine rather than using one of its existing command structures.
Is there more, Big Red Car?
Yes, dear reader, there is.
Putin also has assigned the fourth new commander to oversee his invasion of his peaceful neighbor.
This new leader, Valery Gerasimov, replaces the Butcher of Syria (Sergei Surovikin) who himself has been in command for only three months.
This makes the fourth change of supreme command in Ukraine for the Russian Army in one year.
It is important to understand exactly who General Valery Gerasimov is – he’s the bloody #1 officer in the whole Russian army which would be the equivalent of our General Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
What does this mean, Big Red Car?
Ahhh, dear reader, therein lies the challenge – what do the chicken entrails tell us?
1. Right now, the Russians are admitting to themselves they could lose and lose big in Ukraine.
One has to believe the Russians can see an outcome in which they lose Donbas and Crimea.
If this is what Medvedev is saying in public, WTF do you imagine they are saying behind closed doors?
2. Putin has shifted the responsibility for the failure to overwhelm and defeat the Ukrainians directly to the Russian army and has sent its top dog to the fray to run the show.
Bonus info: Putin has gone through four commanders of the whole shooting match, but he has also relieved the commanders of four “military districts” and the commander of all Russian paratroopers, Putin’s favorite henchpersons.
The Ukrainians destroyed two airborne regiments that tried to execute a coup d’ main by seizing airports just north of Kyiv in the initial hours of the war. The Ukrainians knocked out more than 50% of the manpower of these two regiments. Boom!
BTW, this particular battle was where the world faced the notion that the Ukrainians could and would fight and fight well. This was an eye opener when the Ukrainians destroyed these two airborne regiments in close quarters fighting. Slava Ukraini!
On the ground, Putin sacked the two commanders in charge of the “siege of Kyiv” that did not go according to the “three days to victory” game plan.
3. Russia is betting the whole campaign – and perhaps the future of the country and the Putin regime – on their ability to raise a level of manpower that can overwhelm the Ukrainians — the first 300,000 mobilization hasn’t gone well.
Look for Russia to “mobilize” another 500,000 – 1,000,000 men. They have already skinned it back with their announcement of these commands and the pertinent manpower levels.
4. The Russians hope to stand up a massive amount of manpower by the spring — 2-3 months from today – in order to overwhelm the Ukrainians. They cannot do it.
There is zero evidence even suggesting the Russian training infrastructure can process those numbers and they have no answer as to NCOs and junior officers.
This while combat losses mount up. In one year, Russia has endured more than 120,000 KIAs and likely 2X WIA in one year. That is 2X American losses in Vietnam over 20 years.
5. This operation – the three day invasion and subsequent regime change, the special special special operation in which the Ukrainians would welcome the invading Russians with open arms, bouquets of freshly picked flowers, and honey, the de-Nazification of Ukraine – was planned by the FSB (successor to the KGB).
The Russian army was woefully unprepared with some units learning for the first time they were invading Ukraine the day of the invasion and blames the problem on Putin and the FSB.
Putin is, of course, a former KGB operative, so he is behind the shift of responsibility to the Russian army.
But there’s more!
OK, there is one more wrinkle worth your consideration and it is the Wagner Group.
The Wagner Group is owned and run by a chap who used to cater for the Kremlin and Putin. Chap’s name is Yevgeny Prigozhin or Putin’s Chef.
Wagner PMC (private military company) is reported to have 50,000 men in Ukraine composed of 10,000 professional, contracted mercenaries and 40,000 convicts working on the basis of receiving freedom from prison and a paycheck in return for six months combat service.
In the field, they are known to be particularly brutal – this in the eyes of an army that kills civilians, uses rape as a battlefield tactic, and commits war crimes hourly.
Wagner PMC is also seen as infinitely more effective than the regular Russian army.
Wagner and Yevgeny are not a new device. They have been Putin’s private Rough Riders in Syria, Libya, Crimea, and many countries in Africa.
Here’s the rub: Prigozhin and his henchpersons are about 10-20% of the Russian force in Ukraine. Prigozhin has been openly contemptuous of the Russian general officer leadership and has said the Russian army does not give Wagner PMC sufficient credit for its success on the battlefield.
OK, so what, Big Red Car?
Here’s the “so what,” dear reader.
Yevgheny Prigozhin is widely seen as a potential successor to Putin or as the instigator of a coup d’ etat to topple Putin and the son-of-a-bitch has his own army.
Bottom line it, Big Red Car
OK, here it is:
1. Ukraine is not going swimmingly for Putin. Duh. The three day campaign is now a year long slog flavored with a river of blood, and the road ahead looks to be measured in years.
2. It is clear the Russians are coming to grips with the notion they will lose the war.
3. No Russian General has been able to turn the trick for Putin – who has wielded a quick, bloody knife in relieving leadership.
4. The latest iteration is the top of the food chain, the most senior general in the Russian army and, likely, the guy who assisted in planning the three day invasion.
5. Putin and the FSB are throwing this turd into the Russian army’s punchbowl and they have no idea how to dip it out, but they have no choice.
6. There is another massive mobilization in the wings and it likely starts tomorrow.
7. Dimi has trotted out the same old nuclear threat, but this time it might be real.
This is not the time for the West, the US, NATO to go wobbly on Ukraine. Give them what they need — main battle tanks, HIMARS, longer range rockets, Patriot batteries, the best we have — to defeat Russia on the battlefield.
Stand strong and face into the wind. That smell and taste in the air? Dead, rotting Russian corpses and victory. Get it done.
This is the world’s Munich Moment. Don’t flinch.
But, hey, what the Hell do I really know anyway? I’m just a Big Red Car.