Friday, April 15, 2016

We've Done Nothing! And if You Resist, We'll Nuke You

Russia numbs the West into inaction in Ukraine by denying Russia is waging war and by threatening to escalate to nuclear weapons if the West helps the victim of the war if we believe our lying eyes rather than Moscow.

This is about right:

The Kremlin spread stories about Putin’s readiness to use nuclear weapons, organized large-scale military exercises on its western borders, and behaved, in every forum, like a militant, aggressive, and irrational opponent. This was paired with a global information campaign: “There is no war in Ukraine. Russia is only helping to solve a crisis.”

This campaign, with its aggressive show of arms, was designed to make the West reluctant to intervene militarily or give assistance to Ukraine. By denying the reality of war, Russia allowed the West to hope that the Kremlin was looking for a way out.

I've long been frustrated by Russia's refusal to admit the obvious that they invaded Ukraine in both Crimea and the Donbas.

And I recently wrote about the nuclear angle.

Oh, and in completely unrelated news, Putin has formed an army answerable to him alone:

On April 5, Putin submitted a bill to the Russian parliament that carved out a National Guard from the Interior Ministry's Interior Troops. ...

In addition to the Interior Troops, all of the ministry's elite units, nicknamed "cosmonauts" by opposition activists for their round helmets and "Star Wars"-like gear, will also be included in Putin's army, with the potential for further expansion. Immediately, the number of National Guard personnel will exceed 15 percent of the Russian armed forces that are supposed to deal with external threats.

This powerful, well-trained force will operate outside the ministry under the command of Viktor Zolotov, a long-time Putin associate, whom the president appointed head of his personal bodyguard immediately after moving into the Kremlin in 2000.

Sure, one might think that fear of a coup is the logical reason for such a private army. But perhaps not.

Perhaps the stress of picking out small bits of Russia's ground forces from across Russia to send into Ukraine (or elsewhere) to avoid the fingerprints of an open Russian intervention is straining his military too much.

Now Putin has his own "little green men." Let's hope they don't appear at Narva, Estonia.

Have a super sparkly day.

UPDATE: Strategypage notes the development. As they say, not only is such a personally loyal army useful for regime survival, it can help keep a nation fighting when the regular forces lacking that kind of loyalty might want to call it a day.