Мощь и немощь российской армии (English subs) / @Максим Кац
Before we start this video, I’d like to briefly repeat some obvious things we might forget after this war brought us to a new reality. Shock is vanishing, and we realize that there is a war between Russia and Ukraine. Now, Russia defends no one, it attacks. Russia is leading an invasive war on foreign territories.
There are no Nazis or fascists in Ukraine, they are made up by Russian propaganda. They have the same quantity of them in Ukraine as we do in Russia. The Ukrainians chose Vladimir Zelensky as their President, a Russian-speaking man of Jewish origin. His party has the majority in the Parliament, and its head is David Arakhamia who was born in Russia. There are 1 nationalist and 0 Nazis in the Parliament.
And the nationalist parties do not pass the barrier during the elections. There are no Nazis, it’s a fiction. The Russian army is solving no problems in Ukraine, both strategic and tactical. They are hitting the Ukrainian cities for no reason. If Russia manages to seize the city, people don’t greet the Russian troops as liberators but treat them as occupants. Nobody wants Russia there and nobody wants to join it. Russia is not changing any world order. The US and NATO are becoming stronger, and nobody would want to buy gas in rubles. But Russia hits its own economy and citizens who become poorer.
Russia ended up in isolation and became a pariah getting nothing in return and having no perspective to get anything. And what’s more important, Russia brought grief to many people. Millions of people left their homes, lost everything they had and had to live in the camps for refugees.
Thousands if not dozens of thousand were killed. All those people were Russian-speaking – the ones whom the State Duma was going to accept as our citizens. The Ukrainian soldiers were killed, the Russian soldiers were killed, the cities were destroyed. And all this for no reason – without any sense or aim, just for nothing. Let’s remember these facts. At the beginning of the war when the first videos with the Russian hostages were published, when they were fed with meat pies and tea and interrogated as some troublemakers by a kind local police officer, it was very clear that those serene pictures would end soon, and I told you about that. Putin has opened the gates to hell. He started a frontline war, where the first victim is always humanity.
All the humanitarian achievements which were made by generations from both sides of the border will evaporate for the participants during the first weeks of war. Everyone will make his own way to atrocity and mutual hatred. And all the notions of honor and kindness will not be applied to the enemy. We can read and see a lot of evidence of military crimes committed by the Russian army – destroyed residential districts, a blockade of a peaceful city, shootings from artillery and aviation attacks of Kyiv, Kharkiv, Mariupol and other cities.
Unfortunately, in the last few days we’ve seen what it looks like in reality. How the Russian soldiers are being tortured, how the Ukrainian side commits military crimes which, however, are immediately addressed by the Ukrainian management. I’ve officially said several times – both from a rostrum and I’ve done it just now – that we don’t torture the hostages. We are a European army in a European country. Of course, incidents could always happen but those people are from flesh and blood. And when it turns out that the soldier’s family died in Kharkiv, it’s understandable.
But anyway even this… It explains a lot but it’s not an excuse. There will be an investigation in the Armed Forces of Ukraine and the soldiers will get the message that this behavior is completely unacceptable. It’s a military crime. Or rather what is happening there has the signs of a military crime. Only the trial can decide if it’s a crime. New Caption Therefore, all the illusions aside, no matter what emotions are roaring inside you – we just don’t do such things.
Someone who watched the events of the last month doesn't have any reason to sympathize with the Russian army. And it’s understandable. What kind of sympathy should they feel for people who came to a foreign land to attack the theaters, residential buildings, and hospitals with missiles? You could be tempted to feel happy for what is happening with them in captivity – for this “eye for eye” vengeance. My dear friends, it’s very important to stop at this point.
Unlike people who are at war and see death every day, we have no excuse, we must preserve humanity, healthy reactions, and emotions. A hostage is a helpless person, he is no threat, and he is not even a participant anymore. To torture a hostage is as horrible as to torture a prisoner. Yes, perhaps, before all that this person did something bad or even horrible, but he is here now, he got his punishment and his current status – just a helpless man you can’t treat cruelly. Being a hostage is not easy. Always. He is in full power of the enemy. Nobody would defend him. To deliberately worsen this situation, make him suffer not to neutralize him – he has already been neutralized – or for some military purposes but to take it out on him is a crime and it’s inhuman.
To feel happy when someone suffers is a highway to hell. You’ll just poison yourself and break all the moral boundaries you used to have. It’s a place where Putin wants us to go. He seduces the TV audience with war and killings justified by the power of the strong, and his opponents – by hatred in return. In one of my previous videos, I said that this war will cost dearly to the Russian people, we’ll not recover soon. And feeling happy when someone suffers, support of tortures – is the first but a huge step to break yourself down. Nobody has ever made the right choice going to the place where Putin urges us to go. Let’s avoid it.
If you feel this ugly feeling that you like when someone suffers, take a moment, and try to feel how horrible this is. It’s really important. The war Russia is leading against Ukraine brings more and more horrible details. We are experiencing its first military and political consequences. After the Russian peacemakers left Nagorno-Karabakh (they left because Russia has no reserves and has to scrape together everything it can), a very predictable thing happened – the Azerbaijanian army came. It looks like a local event – what does it mean that two questionable places were occupied – but in reality, it shows that Russia has lost its influence in the region during the last month.
To explain what has happened, let’s turn to history. There is a theory, and it could be called well-reasoned. It says that Hitler made the final decision to attack the USSR based on the results of the Winter war with Finland. What was the situation before this war? Let’s have a look. The Red Army seems unbeatable and a real problem.
It outweighs the Wehrmacht several times and almost in every respect – for example, in terms of tanks’ quantity it’s ahead of the whole world. It has an incomparable mobilization reserve and has a huge territory – a prominent strategic depth. But while the Wehrmacht is moving from victory to victory and successfully occupies half of Europe, the Red Army gets stuck in Finland. In a tiny Finland which became a proper state 20 years ago. They don’t have enough armored vehicles, or aviation, or modern weapons, anything. Just some numbers for you to understand the scale – in 1939 Finland with 3.5 million population was attacked by a 500,000 army. By March 1940 the Soviet army was more than 750,000 people (it’s a proportion like Ukraine would have been attacked by an 8 million army).
They had 70 Soviet tanks for 1 Finnish tank, 20 Soviet aircrafts for 1 Finnish aircraft. It looked like that this war could be won just by sheer numbers. But 3 and a half months later they ended up signing a peace agreement where the USSR got just 1/10 of the opponent’s territory but suffered great losses – 5 or 6 times greater than Finland. It turned out somehow that the Red Army was strong on the paper. It was strong if you look at the list of divisions, tanks, weapons, and aircrafts.
It was really strong playing war on the maps, where you could defeat the enemy’s unit with 5 units of your own. But it was more complicated in reality. There were generals terrified by repressions and lacking initiative, officers who suffered from the same repressions, and hungry, poorly clothed, equipped, or trained soldiers. Thefts all over the place, falsification of figures, eye washing. Bad quality of production in pursuit of achievement and overachievement of targets. There are plenty of tanks, but they can’t shoot. Ultimately, the whole world and the German strategists learned something about the Soviet Union which will not change until its end – the factories are working, targets are being achieved, output is growing, the most proliferate workers receive medals, parades are held, but when it comes to business - they have nothing, no tanks, no army, not even a pair of decent underpants.
The only conclusion they could make – what could this poor hungry and terrified army do to the European hegemon which goes through the countries like a knife through butter if they couldn’t even defeat some tiny piece of the Russian Empire? The side effect when you get involved in an unnecessary war – is that you uncover all the problems and defects at once – both in the army and in the government. It uncovers everything you suspected before. Too often it happened in our history. The Crimean war, the Russo-Japanese war – each time everything that had been decaying silently for years appeared on the surface when the crisis came. Did Nicholas I know that his shiny state machine in impeccable uniform sneaked everything they could, and the table of ranks was corrupted through and through? Of course, he did, he even made jokes about it. But then it didn’t look like a catastrophe until the Russian commissariat started reselling equipment and even medical supplies to the Anglo-French coalition during the war.
When corruption reached the direct supplies for the enemy, it became clear that it couldn’t go any further. But much worse that it was not evident just inside the country. The same situation we have on our plate now. We’ll take a short break for the ad. Something interesting is coming. We’ll resume soon. Let’s continue. The current situation is very similar. No doubt, the Russian army was a constraining factor for the former USSR area, especially in the Caucasus and ex-Soviet Central Asia.
Just because it was the biggest and the richest. Russia restrained them from sorting old problems out and solving their territory issues by force. And they have a great deal of issues like whose village, district, or clove this is. The Soviet government cut the territories a bit carelessly. There are a lot of ethnic enclaves and tension in the region. When the European part of the USSR survived the death of the regime relatively peacefully, in the south there was a lot of blood.
Nagorno-Karabakh is one of the most well-known example, but not the only one. When the Russian Federation attacked Ukraine, it raised two issues no one should have ever touched. First, the discussion on historical justice, and the territory's true ownership. It could go really far, as soon as every country has its own territorial disagreements. They could decide in Kazakhstan, for example, that if Russia could come and take the territories based on historical justice, no one will mind if we argue Uzbekistan’s authority in Kara-Kalpak. It was under Kazakh ASSR in the early 1930s. In response Uzbekistan will claim back the south of Kazakhstan because in the 19thcentury the cities of Shymkent and Turkestan belonged to the Kokande Khanate.
Kazakhstan will respond with a claim for Tashkent because in the 17th century this city was a residence of the Kazakh khans. This pointless discussion will continue until someone would take Putin as an example and try to win this by force. And we’ll have one more long-term and cruel conflict where many people will die. Second, and it was better not to touch this question either, – now the whole world learned that the Russian army is a colossus with feet of clay – it’s huge and useless.
Ukraine which survived territory alienation 8 years ago, including budgetary significant production territories, which has some serious problems with the economy and was cut off from the arms market since they had this frozen conflict, successfully resists the Russian army for over a month and stopped its advancement inflicting huge losses. Instead of a modernized army from the advertisements and cartoons we’ve seen a Soviet army which is leading a war like a couple of generations ago – bombarding the enemy with the bodies of young boys who have just finished high school. And close by we’ve got Azerbaijan – a very resourceful petro-state with the excess of oil money, a modern army which showed itself in a Karabakh conflict, and a powerful ally and NATO member – Turkey. Of course, it doesn’t mean that Turkey would fight for Azerbaijan and involve the whole Alliance, but it promises access to weapons and modern technologies.
And what’s more important, Azerbaijan is an autocracy. Aliev is not Biden or Scholz – he doesn’t depend on the voters, and he knows the price for Putin and his threats. He understands that Putin will not throw a nuclear bomb at Baku even to defend the whole Armenia. It would be just threatening statements and a veto to import tomatoes. The whole battle-worthy army is concentrated in Ukraine, and it showed how worthy it is.
They showed it so well that nobody would better see it at all. There’s no possibility to open the second frontline with Azerbaijan. Is there any better moment to solve the simmering conflict and to strengthen your own power? What do they say in response to Russian indignation for the seizure of questionable villages? If you translate it clearly, it would be – yes, we seized it, and what will you do? Will you send some prison trucks to Baku? Or will you send conscripts with an expired combat ratio? Everything that Ukraine lacks (like military aviation and air defense systems), there is more than enough of this in Azerbaijan. What kind of a local policeman or a peacemaker would you be if you have such an army? The army seized one village from former barmen and programmers from the territorial defense and is eager to announce a Victory Day and a parade to celebrate it.
We should note that Azerbaijan doesn’t claim any other territory except for Nagorno-Karabakh At least for now and at least publicly. It’s an autocracy but with contractual capacity. Its leader graduated from Moscow State Institute of International Relations and lived in Moscow for many years. His father was in the Soviet establishment elite. So, he is quite close in spirit to the current Russian leadership.
But if we take a bit to the East, somewhere near the border of Russia there is one country. It is called Afghanistan. The Americans have left it recently, and the Taliban seized power once again. Our government doesn’t officially consider the Taliban as terrorists but they are real terrorists.
They have very medieval notions on the world’s order and they are very eager to share those notions with anybody else. They have the former Soviet republics – Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, and a bit farther Kazakhstan – as their neighbors. None of these countries would manage to fight the Taliban on their own. Traditionally they hoped that Russia would help them out.
Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, and Kyrgyzstan didn’t enter the Collective Security Treaty Organization for nothing. It’s a defense alliance set by Moscow – something like a tiny NATO. It was expected that the expansion of the Islamists, if it happens, will be stopped by the Russian army. It was expected by the Taliban as well who are definitely watching what is going on in Ukraine and making conclusions. The current situation creates risks for the whole region to get under the influence of religious fanatics. And we might end up having Islamic state formations right near our border.
In the early 90s when Russia couldn’t manage the role of a local policeman, the religious radicals took most of Tajikistan under control. Then the Islamists with the Taliban support turned the usual clans’ conflict into a bloody massacre which lasted 5 years. There were dozens of thousand killed, and the unwealthy former Soviet republic found itself on the same level as the poorest countries of Africa. It’s really naïve to believe that the Taliban, seeing how weak the Russian army is, won’t try to create a couple of new states in the North living under Sharia law. Like I said, ex-Soviet Central Asia is a very complicated region. They’ve had a lot of misunderstandings for centuries, and now it’s impossible to solve them without any blood.
In the 80s and 90s when the Soviet Union was collapsing, the hot spots emerged all the time. The Fergana massacre in 1989. The Osh massacre in 1990. The riots in Andijan in Uzbekistan the same year. These are the most well-known conflicts, there were more of them.
All of these and many other trouble spots could emerge again because it became clear that there is no power in the region which could stop them. Well, for now. China is not so far away. They might like the idea of taking the Central Asia part of the former Great Silk Way under control. And, of course, it’s not just ex-Soviet Central Asia.
Except for Nagorno-Karabakh there is Georgia in the South Caucasus. Georgia has an unsolved issue with South Ossetia and Abkhazia. By the way, the Russian contingent has already (partially or completely) left the base in South Ossetia for Ukraine.
Then there is Moldova and Transdniestria. We should also remember about Japan and the Kuril Islands Besides, we have some territory issues inside the country as well – like between Chechnya and Ingushetia. For now, it’s in Kadyrov’s favor who is supported by the federal government. But everything could change momentarily and lead to a bloody conflict. This month has not only shown what the Russian army looks like. It has also told us much about the secret services.
The Russian government received very distorted information about Ukraine – and we share the history, the language, and the culture – and you could make simple assumptions just by reading Facebook. But in the case of Azerbaijan, Armenia, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan – they know nothing about this complex region in the Kremlin. If they could tell Putin such tales about Ukraine, what would happen in the case of Kyrgyzstan, for example, where you can’t learn the truth from Google? During this month everyone who could still have this illusion, found out that the country who would like to be a leader in the whole former Soviet region has no power to provide this leadership but also knows nothing about this region.
Putin has always liked to break the rules and the decorum deliberately. While he is being rude, or attacking, or cutting new borders, the leaders of the countries with much greater economies and military potential are just showing their concern. It’s really easy to create the “new world’s order” when no other decent country is attacking anybody. It’s so pleasing to do a little muscle-flexing when nobody is fighting.
And no one would like to try you. Putin’s foreign policy of the last 10 years is based on the message – what will you do to me? Before this war started propaganda said just like this – they did nothing to us for the Crimea or Donbass. We can because we can, nobody would punish us. The only thing Putin forgot is that the rules of correct behavior are not set for nothing.
They exist so that people wouldn’t kill each other. If you use violence, you should expect greater violence. And there’s always someone ready to learn if your power is real.
If you deliberately break the rules of neighborliness, you should remember that it’s not just you who can play this game. Azerbaijan will come and take away your influence as a peacemaker and ask you – what will you do to me? How will you punish me? With your army? I’ve seen your army, thank you very much. What is starting now is a beginning of long-term consequences initiated by one person who dreamt to “break the world’s order”. In the end you shouldn’t forget that Russia has not only been the center of force, but it has also been the economic and cultural center of the region. Russia has already lost its status for its Western neighbors. Could you appreciate this gloomy paradox? 10 years ago, the Ukrainians came to Russia to get education, work, or career.
Now they don’t want to go here even to hide from the bombs. But Russia is losing this status even in the ex-Soviet Central Asia. The whole community of Russian nationalists can consider their mission almost completed. The labor immigrants would be really rare on the Russian streets.
What is the point of going to a country where the average salary is hardly $500? And it would be even less as there would be budgetary problems or the consumer demand would die. You can’t even transfer money to your family because Russia is cut off from the rest of the world. Starting from 2014 and up to now Russia yet managed to answer the question that Trump failed to answer – how to conquer labor migration? Easy. You need to make your own country really poor and unattractive for everyone. And then the labor migrants won't come to you – they’ll leave you.
Every day of this crazy, unnecessary, and pointless war takes people’s lives – both the civilians and soldiers – and their health. And every day makes our country weaker and our life worse. It must stop. Till tomorrow!