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23 February 2018


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So you'd prefer that Ukraine continues to wage war and kill Donbass civilians?

Because that "war on terrorists" is the only thing keeping the Ukraine government afloat right now.

Remove their ability to do that and western Ukraine sinks beneath the waves.

David Habakkuk

rkka, Tom,

In response to #52 and earlier comments.

A few random remarks about collectivisation and related matters.

The idea of a ‘complete militarization’ of the national economy, which underpinned collectivisation, did not originate with Stalin. On this, the 1988 paper ‘Mass, Mobility, And The Red Army's Road To Operational Art 1918-1936’ by Jacob W. Kipp, of what was then the U.S. Army’s Soviet Army Studies Office, and is now the Foreign Military Studies Office, is critical (together with other of his writings.)

(See http://www.au.af.mil/au/awc/awcgate/fmso/kipp.htm .)

What Kipp demonstrated is how in the ‘Twenties the arguments about the ‘New Economic Policy’, and the ‘smychka’, or alliance with the peasantry, ran in parallel with an argument about the appropriate military strategy for the new Soviet state.

On the one side, Tukhachevsky saw the new technologies whose potentialities had become apparent towards the end of the First World War as validating a renewed emphasis on the ‘Napoleonic’ strand in Clausewitz – the idea that one could win by decisive offensive operations at the outset of a war: which was the basis of ‘blitzkrieg.’

(Possibilities which the machine gun had taken away, or at least severely compromised, although enormously more on the Western Front than further east, could be restored by aircraft and tanks.)

And the conclusion Tukhachevsky drew was quite precisely that a ‘complete militarization’ of the national economy was necessary, in order to provide the instruments for this kind of warfare.

Against this, the sometime Tsarist ‘genstabist’ Aleksandr Svechin developed the two-sidedness of Clausewitz – the way that the ‘Napoleonic’ strand is counterbalanced by the emphasis on defence as the stronger form of war. Following a great German Clausewitzian, the pioneer military historian Hans Delbrück, Svechin distinguished between strategies, and wars of ‘destruction’ – as in ‘blitzkrieg’ – and strategies, and wars, of ‘attrition.’

And Svechin was no more convinced in the ‘Twenties than he had been before 1914 that it was wise to gamble on the possibility that initial successes with strategies of ‘destruction’ could obviate the need to plan for a prolonged war of ‘attrition.’ A key to success in war was the ability to decide which approach was appropriate in a given situation, and when to switch between them. And at the outset of a conflict, the appropriate strategy for Russia was likely to be defensive.

In a protracted war, of course, the need for maintaining social cohesion becomes far more salient, a fact of which Svechin had very concrete reasons to be well aware, not simply because of the experience of the First World War, but because his initial experience of military operations was in the disastrous 1904-5 war against Japan, which had precipitated the initial attempt at revolution.

Accordingly, it was hardly surprising that the corollary of Svechin’s strategy was an emphasis on the need to maintain the ‘smychka.’

In relation to the peasantry Bukharin, who was a leading champion of maintaining the alliance with the peasantry, became what one might call a ‘capitalist roader’ – arguing in 1925 that we need to say to the entire peasantry, to all its different strata: enrich yourselves, accumulate, develop your farms.’ A natural corollary, obviously, was an industrial strategy geared to satisfying peasant demand.

In the 1922 Testament which I think most historians still think Lenin actually wrote, it was suggested that the cost of abandoning the ‘smychka’ would be a split in the party which was likely to be fatal. In the event, it did precipitate just such a split, out of which came the Terror – which involved, among other things, cataclysmic damage to the officer corps of the Red Army and, not least important, military intelligence. In turn, these facts encouraged Hitler to believe that a rapid ‘blitzkrieg’ could destroy the Soviet system.

As Kipp brings out, the adoption by Stalin of Tukhachevsky’s approach came when, in 1930, in the wake of the economic crisis, he abandoned Bukharin’s thesis about the ‘stabilisation of capitalism.’

The ideas of Svechin had been developed at a time before war with Germany became a central concern. Whether a strategy based on those ideas could have coped with that threat as well as that which Stalin actually adopted must remain an open question. There is obviously a very powerful argument that a kind of Bukharin/Svechin strategy simply could not have created the necessary military-industrial base.

But then, there are counter-arguments. So other problems, as well as those created by collectivisation and the Terror, might have been avoided. For one thing, key military-industrial facilities would not have been located in vulnerable areas such as Ukraine.

A key problem which Stalin confronted in the summer of 1941, which recurs in many contexts, might also have been avoided. It is often difficult to judge whether or not war is inevitable, and the courses of action appropriate if one is still trying to avoid it may be diametrically opposed to those it is prudent to adopt if one concludes that this is impossible.

The offensive nature of Soviet contingency planning ended up leaving Stalin with the worst of both worlds. Terrified that anything resembling mobilisation would be provocative, he ended up leaving the Red Army totally exposed to a devastating preemptive strike: and the sheer scale of the destruction the Germans inflicted in the opening period of the war almost beggars belief. Had contingency planning being based upon a defensive posture at the outset of a war, as Svechin thought appropriate, the problem would not have arisen.

In relation to current arguments, however, it is material that an important and neglected strand in the Gorbachev-era ‘new thinking’ was the revival, among a number of ‘General Staff’ people, of Svechin, which had begun in the ‘Seventies, if not indeed earlier, and which always had strong anti-Stalinist undercurrents.

Involved here were arguments not simply about the pre-war and wartime years, but about the immediate post-war period, and the belief that Stalinist strategies, while not intending to, had gratuitously turned the United States from a wartime ally into an enemy. A corollary of this was the belief that liquidating the Stalinist heritage would defuse Western hostility to Russia.

It was precisely in the Institute of the USA and Canada, under Georgy Arbatov’s direction, that General Staff people like Colonel-General Nikolai Lomov and General-Mayor Valentin Larionov, both, like Arbatov himself ‘Old Mohicans’, were collaborating with younger civilians like Andrei Kokoshin in reviving Svechin. It may also I think be material here that quite a lot of Russian military people always had a certain nostalgia for the wartime alliance with the United States.

A rather obvious effect of current Western strategies has been to persuade practically all thinking Russians that the notion that liquidating the Stalinist security posture would eliminate Western hostility was ludicrously naive. A natural enough next logical step – although it does not actually follow – is to conclude that in fact the Western powers would have been quite as hostile, if indeed Stalin had adopted strategies intended to avoid their hostility.

If one wanted to persuade thinking Russians of this, I can think of no better strategy than to align with ‘Banderistas’ in an attempt to bring a united Ukraine, including Sevastopol, into NATO.

There are, however, costs to this. Some are, I think, apparent in an interesting item I encountered some time back on ‘Youtube.’

(See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q1k6c5neUG4 .)

A further irony, perhaps, is that, in relation to Syria, Western policymakers assumed that the Russians would be either become involved in a protracted war of ‘attrition’, or, precisely because of fear of that contingency, and overall weakness, stay out. So, it would be, from the ‘neoconservative’ point of view, an ‘each-way bet.’

What we saw instead strikes me as pure Svechin. A strategy based upon upon seeing technical military and political considerations as an interrelated whole, on calculating when it has been appropriate, as it were, to ‘go for the jugular’, and when to wear down the adversary by ‘attrition’ or indeed to do nothing: if there is a ‘Beyond’ somewhere, the old ‘genstabist’ must be beaming approval and feeling thoroughly vindicated.

Babak Makkinejad

It was not "the communists", it was the prescience of one man who saw the war coming and acted on several initiatives: fostered National Fronts, Collectivized by Force, and attempted an Entente with France and UK to contain Germany.

Generalfeldmarschall von Hindenburg

Any time there is some outrage(and the shooting of black motorists and others in the wind down of th Obama years was tactesly and poorly handled by officialdom), there's a well funded machine to set up a marketing campaign and provide 'leaders' who the angry citizens did not choose (People taking part in the spontaneous protests in Furgeson told Jesse Jackson to @!&$*-off). I can't tell what Soros' end game is supposed to be. He mainly targets foreign governments that insulate themselves from his financial games. SO maybe it's really jut creating a koom ba ya world where eveyone holds hands an sings the praises of JP Morgan-Chase.I see a lot of stuff on the intwerwebs about the "Jooz"- but I bet th average congregant at my local synagogue would not be overly excited about Soros' Ecumenical Eschaton either,.


The roots of Ukrainian animosity towards and distrust of Russia predates the Soviet era. It can be viewed as a natural response by a people subjugated to repeated attempts of eradication of their national and cultural identity. The Soviet era was merely the latest iteration of what appears to have been a core tenet of Russian policy vis-a-vis Ukraine.

Russification of Ukraine


"In 1720 Tsar Peter I of Russia issued a decree in which he ordered the expurgation of all Ukrainian linguistic elements in theological literature printed in Ukrainian typographical establishments.[1] Later Empress Catherine II of Russia issued a secret order to Count Aleksandr Alekseyevich Vyazemsky (the Prosecutor General of the Russian Empire from 1764 to 1792) in which she instructed him to institute a program of Russification for the provinces of Ukraine ("malorossia"), Livonia and Finland, "using light-handed methods".[2] In the opinion of Vladimir Vernadsky, by the 17th century, Muscovy already had a long-standing policy to absorb Ukraine and liquidate the foundation for local cultural life.[3] .... In 1863, minister of internal affairs Pyotr Valuyev issued the so-called Valuev Circular, in which he stated that the Ukrainian language never existed, doesn't exist, and cannot exist...

Babak Makkinejad

I think these observations are correct but France, Italy, and Germany were implementing analogous policies at the time. Specifically, in France, many Romance languages related to official French became extinct. And did it matter? I mean, does a Corsican today laments the loss of Corsican Culture and language? Or a Breton?


@rkka I have heard this many times: yeah collectivisation was bad, but the millions did die for industrialisation. Well nobody asked them. And certainly that is why the German Army was greeted with bread and salt all over Ukraine and Belorussia. Also why so many red army soldiers surrendered without putting up a fight. They hated Soviet power. About one million Russians served in the Wehrmacht. According to Keegan about 15% of soldiers on the German side at Stalingrad were actually Russians. So called Hiiws.
As to the Baltics and Western Ukraine: my god! You really don´t know what happened when the Soviet Army entered the Baltic States and Western Ukraine (then Eastern Poland) in 1939? You really have never heard of the horrors perpetrated? If you haven´t you probably don´t want to know. So I won´t bother.
As to the Red Army: it is certainly true that the Red Army took the brunt of the fight against Nazi Germany. But no army can fight without food. Nor without fuel. Both came in stupendous amounts from the USA. Plus hundreds of thousand of Studebaker trucks.

Babak Makkinejad

2 items:
The consequence of adoption Bukharin's policy would have been weak towns and cities that starved since they were not producing much that the Muzhik wanted or could use. SR's might have liked it.

Babak Makkinejad

Number 2:
All throughout the war, Stalin remained suspicious of FDR & Churchill intentions, that they might be attempting at concluding a separate peace with Germany and abandon USSR to fight alone.


"But that does not mean we should stop investigating the Russian interference in our 2016 election."
-- Sure. See the amazing product of Mueller's investigating team -- the “Indictment of Trolls“ -- which is an insult to common sense of any intelligent person and a revelation of the FBI/DOJ' arrogance towards the US citizenry, namely the FBI/DOJ reliance on the stupidity of mob.
Whatever "Russian meddling" the FBI\CIA are going to uncover (13 trolls, really?), its effect will fade next to the effects of the proliferation of incompetent opportunists in the security apparatus, zionization of the military, veracious profiteering of weapon manufacturers, and the oligarchic thirst for other nations' mineral resources.
Some of the woes of the US security apparatus:
Exhibit one: “The attorney for an FBI informant who was deeply embedded in the Russian nuclear industry [re Uranium One deal] is demanding that Attorney General Jeff Sessions investigate a coordinated smear campaign against her client, William Douglas Campbell. … As part of the smear, Campbell's name was divulged in a public filing by the DOJ, "making him unemployable in the industry and leaving him to survive on Social Security" after decades of loyal service to both the CIA and the FBI.”
Exhibit 2: “The essential question is whether the Obama Justice Department provided notice of the criminal activity of certain officials before the CFIUS approval of the Uranium One deal and other government decisions that enabled the Russians to trade nuclear materials in the U.S. ... Despite the FBI's knowledge of the money laundering scheme - while Robert Mueller was the Director, the Obama administration approved the related deal for Tenex to purchase Uranium One.”
-- Whatever tears apart the Union, it is not the puny Russian meddling but the blatant massive violations of the US Constitution and the neglect of the needs of the US society at large.


Just because his enemies are unsavory doesn't make Bandera anything other than the fascist and murderous maniac that he was.


Russia won victory on the Eastern Front for a number of reasons:

* Germany was under blockade (ordered by Prime Minister Chamberlain in 1939) thus chronically short of warm clothes and short of liquid fuel... and WWII was the first time a war had been fought primarily by motorized vehicles, so fuel was pivotal. Thanks largely to geography Russia was in a far better position in terms of available fuel reserves.


* Germans massively miscalculated, believing they could rapidly bring Russia to full capitulation like they had done with France, even though in WWI they never managed this. The Nazi war planners gave too much weighting to their own technological advantage and too little weighting to the sheer size of Russia, the extreme winter (which by random chance was worse in 1940 than most years), transport difficulty, etc.

* Americans supplied a large fraction of the equipment that gave Stalin's troops a chance to win. Trucks and tanks built in American factories, along with food supply, warm clothing, important metals, etc.


* Stalin was absolutely ruthless in driving the people under him, with not the slightest concern about how many lives were consumed in the process. Of course the Tzars had always used compulsion, but not with the same severity. There's a comment from the above review, which I'll quote:

Mr. Parrish's comment that "The victory over Nazi Germany was achieved through the economic power of the United States and the lives of millions of Soviets, who for reasons that defy logic made the ultimate sacrifice to keep in power a regime as brutal as their Nazi enemy" is directly on point - our trucks, their blood. However the mystery of why Ivan fought does not defy logic. The Soviet Regime was far more brutal towards its citizens than the German. First was Order 270 taking away rations from the family of any soldier captured in battle; then came order 227 - Not One Step Back - which was interpreted as allowing Zhukov's (and others') previously existing practice of using blocking detachments of NKVD troops with sub-machine guns just behind the front lines to murder any soldier refusing to attack when ordered or retreating without permission. To refuse to fight was certain death. Joseph Stalin is said to have remarked: "It takes a brave man not to be a hero in the Red Army." Until close to the very end, the Nazi regime did not have to threaten to murder German soldiers to force them to fight.

That's not to deny that the Russian economy had modernized and improved from Tzarist times, but hardly significant, since all economies in the world had improved, including the UK, America and Germany. Technology tends to propagate, once it's understood how to build a machine, pretty soon everyone is doing it. Decisive weapons such as the Spitfire were only just invented as the war got underway.



The reality vs the pundity


"Army was greeted with bread and salt all over Ukraine and Belorussia."

They were also met with the most ferocious military resistance they had encountered in the entire war to that point. They suffered casualties in numbers unprecedented in their experience of the war to that point.

"Also why so many Red army soldiers surrendered without putting up a fight."

Mostly they resisted bitterly and inflicted more casualties on the Germans in a shorter time than anyone else had to that point in the war, but as they were encircled they did surrender by the hundreds of thousands, especially in Pavlov's Western Special Military District, but both Kuznetsov in the Baltic & Kirponos in the Kiev Special Military Districts extricated themselves from the immediate border zones without suffering major encirclements.

"About one million Russians served in the Wehrmacht."

Indeed. Their alternative was death by starvation and exposure in the open-air barbed wire enclosures the Germans put their Soviet POWs in & then left there.

"According to Keegan about 15% of soldiers on the German side at Stalingrad were actually Russians. So called Hiiws."

Yes, doing labor, not fighting. Vlasov's force actually took up arms, but not the Hiwis.


"* Germany was under blockade (ordered by Prime Minister Chamberlain in 1939) thus chronically short of warm clothes and short of liquid fuel... and WWII was the first time a war had been fought primarily by motorized vehicles, so fuel was pivotal. Thanks largely to geography Russia was in a far better position in terms of available fuel reserves."

The Germans captured massive French stockpiles of strategic resources in 1940, including a two-year supply of fuel oil & lubricants.

"That's not to deny that the Russian economy had modernized and improved from Tzarist times, but hardly significant, since all economies in the world had improved, including the UK, America and Germany."

None of those had to recover from a bloody, destructive civil war between the wars, and Russia went from one of the least militarily productive great powers to one of the 3 most militarily productive in essentially a decade.


"* Americans supplied a large fraction of the equipment that gave Stalin's troops a chance to win. Trucks and tanks built in American factories, along with food supply, warm clothing, important metals, etc."

But had that massive industrial drive of the '30s not occurred, Lend-Lease would have utterly failed at keeping the USSR in the war.


Remembering Stalin the way he should be remembered.



"Why should Russia, as an example, take large numbers of hostile population on the balance. EU, especially France and Germany are culpable in this chaos--let them pay for it and deal with it."
-- Agree. Four years after the US-arranged Maidan revolution "Prices for products doubled. ... The incomes of the average Ukrainian, however, did not increase, and even fell. If in November 2013, the average salary in Ukraine was 408.5 dollars, then in September 2017 it amounted to 274 dollars. The cost of utilities has also significantly increased. https://112.international/article/four-after-maidan- "Since the end of the Yanukovych era, the average income has decreased by 50 percent..." http://www.globaltruth.net/maidans-tragic-aftermath-ukraine-slides-into-staggering-poverty/
--- Here is the US response to the ongoing disastrous siuation in Ukrainian: "With military trainers now on the ground and the U.S. budgeting $350 million for security assistance to Ukraine, Washington has also recently started delivering lethal weapons including the Javelin anti-tank missile system free of charge to Kiev." https://consortiumnews.com/2018/01/21/a-coming-russia-ukraine-war/
US taxpayers money in action.



Like all Germans you are fundamentally a Nazi, and like all Germans your tone-deafness makes you give the game away with every word that comes out of your mouth.

The Volga Germans were Nazis, as you are, and as all Germans are. They were punished as they deserved, and neither you nor any of your people are missed or mourned in the slightest.


Andrei, agreed. The better analysts (Rostislav Ishchenko especially, among others) have long maintained that the whole Maidan “project” was a cost-effective attempt at getting the Russian Federation involved in a very bloody, very expensive mess in/on the Ukraine.

Absolutely. Fact is, from the get go, from the February of 2014 my position was to be very cautious about any kind of direct involvement in Ukraine, once Crimea has been returned home. Paradoxically, it was Kharkov which prompted me to come to this conclusion. I saw and took part in being "around" with more than half a million people being very agitated ans some of them armed in the city the size (Baku is slightly larger) of 1.5 million such as Kharkov. While I do not condone what was happening--there is no denial that when nation puts its mind to something seriously--it is extremely difficult to contain. Kharkov, often considered as one of the most "Russian" cities in Ukraine went down with a week or so of about 30-35,000 protesters and then fizzled. So much for a "desire". Donetsk and Lugansk took up arms--the difference is really startling. The best in hypothetical scenario of "invading" Ukraine Russia can hope for is majority of silent and very openly or tacitly hateful population which wants only one thing--Russia's standard of living while remaining Ukrainian. As it happened with some Ukrainian military medics "proudly" leaving Sevastopol back to Ukraine, that is until they saw a pay-grade table for Russian Armed Forces medical personnel--they became "Russians" in an instant and were happy to disembark from the bus before it left Crimea.

P.S. Ishenko is in the league of his own since he is a superb military historian, not just geopolitcal analyst and a profi on Ukrainian "elites". Outstanding analyst.


We and the British annexed damn near a whole continent. Don't be a hypocrite.


In the summer of 2014, from a window on Artema St. I was able to watch live the daily shelling and rocket attacks on Donetsk. Ain't You Tube grand.


Have you ever tried to study a real history of Soviet Union's WW II effort? Not some collection of pseudo-historic memes? Try David Glantz and Johnathan House, as a primer--competent men, former senior US Army officers, real scholars. What you presented here is as related to the realities of the Eastern Front and as I am Chinese.


Try this (this is an excerpt from authors I mentioned) for starters, if you need for me to post excerpts from West Point's History Series, WW II--their Department of Military History, just whistle.

then came order 227 - Not One Step Back - which was interpreted as allowing Zhukov's (and others') previously existing practice of using blocking detachments of NKVD troops with sub-machine guns just behind the front lines to murder any soldier refusing to attack when ordered or retreating without permission.

You need to see actual statistics of Prikaz 227 application before spreading here yet another pseudo-historic narrative:

around 1900 deserters were shot in the first phase of Stalingrad Battle in accordance to Pr. 227. In reality, main task of Blocking Unites (Zagradotruady) was capture of deserters, filtering and then return of those back to the front. There is a truck load of literature and archive documents available openly about this whole situation but I am sure the author you presented has difficulty in English reading comprehension, not to speak of knowing anything in Russian. Should it have been otherwise, you and him would find this and I quote: "But by 1943 as the tide of war changed for Nazi Germany, the Feldgendarmerie were given the task to maintain discipline in the Wehrmacht. Many ordinary soldiers deemed to be deserters were summarily executed by Feldgendarmerie units. This earned them the pejorative Kettenhunde (English: chained dogs) after the gorget they wore with their uniforms. The arbitrary and brutal policing of soldiers gave them the other nickname Heldenklauer (English: hero-snatcher) because they screened refugees and hospital transports for potential deserters with orders to kill suspected malingerers. Rear-echelon personnel would also be checked for passes that permitted them to be away from the front."


Wehrmacht executed own soldiers in thousands.IIRC in 1944 alone something around 10,000. For people who have no grasp of realities of Eastern Front it is beyond their intellectual and mental capacity to have real understanding of what it was.

Babak Makkinejad

Unconditional Surrender Grant was known to have said: "I do not count my dead."; tbere is ruthless for you.

Babak Makkinejad

Ukraine, Yugoslavia, and Romania have been countries created by other powers in the 20-th century. No son paises real como Espana o Francia o Iran.

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