The problem of interpreting the war from the Russian point of view is that the Russian military does not signal its punches, make idle threats, believe its own propaganda, or make money on click bait. The Stavka never leaks.
By contrast, Russian open-source commentators are driven, as is normal in a functioning democracy, by domestic politics. This requires them to disguise or camouflage their support for or opposition to the political and oligarch factions in Moscow with a variety of ploys — attacks on named generals; analyses of the Army’s mistakes; speculation about the negotiations initiated by US officials with their Russian counterparts; warnings of Fifth Columns, stabs in the back, and a shameful peace.
The outcome in Moscow doesn’t exist in any European or North American capital — noisy debate with sharp dividing lines drawn between the factions of patriots (Tsargrad, Vladimir Soloviev); the left (Sergei Glazyev, Mikhail Khazin); the fakes (Yevgeny Prigozhin); the right (Elvira Nabiullina, Alexei Khudrin); the oligarchs (Oleg Deripaska); the puppets (Margarita Simonyan); and so on, not counting the oppositionists in hiding, exile or jail.
Easy to misread Russian military analysis then, because there is so much of it; because the Stavka doesn’t talk to any of them; and because for Russian commentators this is an opportunity for waging their contests for the usual things — power, money, celebrity. You will see criticism of President Vladimir Putin (lead image, 2nd left, rear), therefore, but always under cover of something or somebody else.
The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.....Martin Luther King '63
It takes all the technical proficiency our system can provide to make up for the woeful lack of popular support and political savvy of most of the regimes that the West has thus far sought to prop up.........Bernard Fall