That’s why I don’t wear a beard anymore. I’m not Evangelical. I can’t “Pray the gray away”    Murfster35

Hard to believe a full year has already passed. Doesn’t time fly when you’re having fun? Just don’t ask Ukraine or Russia that. But next year will mark one year since Putin stepped on his crank, and demolished not only his legacy,  but his country as well. But as Russia finally undertakes its long feared Winter Offensive, it seems to be a good time to take a look back, see what has changed, and what is still the same.

What Remains The Same – Well, for starters, Vladimir Putin is still in charge, and he’s as delusional as ever. For anybody who thought that Trump and Putin weren’t brothers under the skin, I offer the following. After a year of calamitous military defeats, as well as personal humiliation, Putin is just as delusional, driven, and self contained as he was a year ago. Hmmm. Sound like the failed presidency of anybody else you know?

Also, a year later, the Russians are still burning through manpower like a drunken sailor on shore leave. A year ago, the Russians sent more than 300,000 soldiers over the border on multiple fronts. And in the first two months of the war, Russia had already lost more men than the United States did in Vietnam. And in the last month, a year later, military estimates are that the Russians are losing 800 soldiers a day. For the math deficient, that’s about 24,000 a month.

Last, the Russian military is every bit as top heavy, unwieldy and brain dead stupid as it was a year ago. I opined a year ago, when the assault started that the Russian generals were imbeciles. They launched their offensive right at the end of winter, across soft, open ground. The ground was frozen, but in a couple of weeks the spring thaw would come, and the open ground would turn into a soft bog, unable to maintain the weight of Russian armor and artillery. I was right, and weeks later Russians were running from bogged down equipment, which the Ukrainians gleefully took over, including their cargo.

This time around, the Russians began their offensive one week earlier, allegedly buying themselves another weeks advantage. But no. Because the Ukrainian winter was unusually mild. That doesn’t mean that the ground didn’t freeze, and that doesn’t mean that it didn’t snow. What it does mean is that without the ground being hard frozen, it will take less time when the spring thaw arrives to turn the open ground into a bog again.

Finally, motivation. A year ago, the Russian front line troops didn’t even realize that they were invading, they were told it was just another military exercise. They were for the most part poorly trained conscripts, serving out their two years military service. They had no dog in the fight, no belly for the fight, and worst of all, no motivation. The Ukrainians were battle tested, and fighting for their homeland, their families, and national pride. And with every victory they only became more confident.

What Is Different – Everything! The Ukrainians went into combat undermanned and under equipped, but they were battle hardened by eight years of constant insurgent war on the Crimean border, as well as the Dombas. They knew the terrain, and suckered the Russians into spots from which they would be unable to extricate themselves.

A year ago the Russians invaded Ukraine with the best equipment they had in their arsenal. And burned through it like a kid with a bag of M&M’s. With the sanctions, Russians couldn’t get the materials to replace the stuff they lost. As a result, the Russians are now reduced to using Cold War era Soviet tanks, and scrounging around for North Korean charity missiles, and Iranian slow moving drones to replace their precision guided missiles. Also they’re reduced to using Soviet era artillery to replace the modern stuff the Ukrainians have knocked out.

The Ukrainians are living high on the hog. If they aren’t already, they’ll soon be in complete control of the battlefield, and the skies above it. They have benefitted from the supplies from the US, the EU, and NATO. They have shiny new armored personnel carriers, tanks on the way, surface-to-surface tank killing missiles, surface-to-air missiles to shoot down aircraft, helicopters, and Russian missiles to protect their cities from assault.

They have advanced  long range artillery that is capable of tracking an incoming shell back to its source, locking on, and firing precision rounds to knock the cannon out.They’re getting ammunition as fast as the US and NATO can supply it, and are just getting a Patriot Missile battery to better protect their skies and cities.

The Russians are having a population crisis. According to military and independent analyses, since the start of the war, somewhere between 600,000-1,000,000 Russians have fled across Russian borders into other countries, largely military age males. This is creating a manpower and brain drain that will take Russia at least two generations to replace. And other military age males are purposely injuring themselves to avoid conscription.

The Russian military is a mess. A year ago, the Russians fielded an army of at least semi trained conscript troops, and a senior corps of generals. But due to the Russians top heavy officer structure, generals go to the front line tyo supervise, and they’ve taken horrendous losses at Ukrainian hands. Putin hasn’t been able to replace his losses, so his new winter offensive army is a motley crew of Russian conscripts, Syrian and other Middle East mercenaries, and armies created by his oligarchs. Forget about tactics and cohesion.

Finally, the Russian economy is in the shitter. The Ukrainians are getting government and humanitarian aid from the US and NATO are keeping the Ukrainian government functioning, and replacing infrastructure like power generators. The humanitarian aid is keeping food and clothing flowing.

On the other hand, the Russian economy is in the shitter. Since the start of the war, more than 1000 foreign companies have severed ties with Russia and baled. Sanctions are making it almost impossible for Russia to get anything for their people that they can’t produce on their own. Shortages are becoming severe. After all, how long can Russians survive on vodka?

But here’s the kill shot, and I mean that literally. Up until last year, most economists, pundits, and military advisors snidely referred to Russia as A gas station with nukes. And they were right. Russia’s only reliable cash generating resources were oil and natural gas. But thanks to US and NATO sanctions, along with a mild winter, Russia has now been officially reduced by economists as a 2nd rate economic power. And here’s why this is so critical to the future of the Russian economy, and Russia as a whole.

When Traitor Tot got into his imbecilic trade sanctions pissing contest with China, I was apoplectic. Because he was ignorantly fucking with years, if not decades of carefully laid agreements. When China announced sanctions on American beef, soy beans, and seafood, it killed us. American farmers, ranchers, and fishermen had literally spent a decade negotiating and nurturing contracts with Chinese buyers.

But when the sanctions hit, the Chinese buyers went to Mexico, Argentina, Vietnam and Thailand to replace the higher priced American products. And they’re never coming back! And now that most of europe has managed to jury rig together alternate supplies of oil and natural gas, they’re never coming back to Russia either. And as a result, Russia will never again reclaim world dominance as an economic power. Putin wanted to restore some of the luster of the grand USSR days, and instead he has economically set Russia back to the days of the Romanovs.

US military analysts are already conclusively stated that Russia has already lost the war. They lost it tactically, they lost it strategically, and they lost it militarily. And as a lifelong tactical simulation gamer, I agree. The only question left now is how many more lives will be uselessly lost to Putin’s petulance.

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  1. Had NATO and the EU shown sufficient brains and balls to supply Ukraine with proper modern military equipment either before the Russian invasionof immediately after, the war would be over by now, with Putin’s ragtag armies thrown back into Mother Russia and its vaunted Balck Sea fleet sunk along with the Moskva.

    • It’s not as simple as that. You have to go back to even before Trump, when Ukrainians rose up and sent Putin’s puppet President of Ukraine fleeing back to Russia. Alas, he left behind an awful lot of other Putin minions who infested Ukraine, both in business and government with the corruption for which that country had become so well known. There will be a reckoning I’m sure when this war is over to root out the rest of these people, some of whom are still there in Ukraine but there’s a good chance that Zelensky can in fact clean up that country of the formerly if not rampant then systemic corruption. Life is likely to be pretty fucking uncomfortable for Russians or close Russian ties in Ukraine when this war is over.

      But we have to also look at the Trump years, when he was so clearly in Putin’s pocket and it’s not exactly a secret that Putin wanted to restore a new version of the Soviet Union and acquiring complete and total control over Ukraine, in effect making it a province of Russia as it was during the Cold War (and even before WWII) was the linchpin of that. And THAT dovetailed nicely with another cherished goal of Putin’s – to if not destroy the NATO alliance then reduce it to a paper tiger. That my friend was what he was expecting, even counting on Trump to do for him. The fact is Trump did a fair amount of damage to NATO and while it wasn’t as close to falling apart as Putin had counted on Trump making it there were multiple wounds that were openly bleeding.

      Perhaps Putin really thought Trump would get a second term. Perhaps his people lied to him about how unlikely that would be, and/or right after the election about Trump’s chances of staying in power via his Big Lie strategy. He was also probably lied to about the capability and readiness of his armed forces – both the morale of the troops and their level of training, not to mention the serviceability of their equipment. Of course, even many NATO/western experts feared Ukraine couldn’t stand up to a massive Russian attack, especially with Belarus being a Russian ally and Kiev being so close to the border. Add in the assumption that the new, young and inexperienced politician who’d become President of Ukraine would flee and a quick Russian victory seemed if not certain then likely.

      One key thing, a lesson of history really that everyone overlooked was how hard people fight for their homes and homeland against foreign invaders. And, despite the better part of a hundred years of Russia/the USSR trying to “Russianize” Ukraine Russia remained and now of course remains hated by masses of ethnic Ukrainians. Toss in the fact that Russia’s use of proxy forces to take over some parts of Ukraine by force meant Ukraine had a cadre of battle hardened troops, and that they’d begun building a western style military that is much more agile and the Russian victory wasn’t so inevitable after all. If Putin was to have any chance he should have launched his invasion before Christmas, or at least in early January. Hell, with our and the world’s (our allies in particular) rocked by Jan. 6 it would have been the perfect time BUT Pootie wanted to play big shot at the Olympics so he delayed things.

      The point however is that for four years prior to the invasion the same issues that had hurt Ukraine’s ability to become part of NATO and the European Union, the corruption (fueled by Russia) that had long plagued the country prevented the kind of buildup you suggest should have happened. And Trump threw as much sand as he could into the gears to keep what you suggest from happening, just as Putin instructed (ordered?) him to do.



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