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Civil War in Russia, 24 June 2023: Special Anti-Terrorist Mutiny
Time to ‘recapitulate’ the last 24 hours of developments in Russia….
Yes, no doubt: after all of their attrocities in Ukraine, it’s ‘fun’ fun to watch Russians ripping Russia apart; to monitor this ‘Russian invasion of Russia in reaction to Russian invasion of Ukraine to save Russia’. And it was just minutes after getting up and checking related reports this morning, that I’ve lost a count of all the ‘told you so’, I’ve told to myself and plenty of other people over the years. Because, ‘arguably’, the System Putin is ripping Russia apart for years already, but it’s ‘only now’ this reached ‘more than obvious levels’….
Anyway….in a typically Russian irony, this is a show-down between two groups of war criminals:
- the System Putin, including Shoygu, Gerasimov, and oligarchy supporting them, versus
- system Wagner, led by Prigozhin.
To make one thing clear: everybody seems to be certain that Prigozhin has no ‘political’ support. Read: no support from the oligarchy keeping Pudding in power. Precisely this is why everybody watching his social media appearances and ever more aggressive critique of the Keystone Cops in Moscow of the last few months, was expecting him to, essentially, ‘disappear’, ‘fall down the stairs, and then the window at the end of the stairs’, and similar…
However, the System Putin nourished Prigozhin with the best-equipped and most combat experienced private army in all of Russia. Prigozhin says, he’s got 25,000 troops under arms.
And, meanwhile, Prigozhin and his troops seem to be receiving ever more support from within ranks of the dissatisfied Russian public, and parts of the armed forces. At least in the Rostov area.
That’s meanwhile something like the ‘starting- and focal point’ of this crisis.
Alone what Prigozin’s troops have done the last 24 hours is clearly shown just how well-planned and -skilled their operations are: available information is almost leaving no doubt that what the Wagner is doing is a part of a ‘plot’. A plot for a coup.
Interestingly: it’s easy to conclude that the System Putin entirely missed their preparations. The GRU and FSB obviously failed, miserably, in finding out and warning about their preparations. Yes, preparations, because the operation exercised by the Wagner over the last 24 hours was anything else than ‘spontaneous reaction to an attack by the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation’ (VSRF) – as claimed by Prigozhin.
As first: as mentioned in my ‘summary’ from this morning, members of Wagner PMC began fare-welling from their relatives already yesterday. Perhaps this happened after the ‘attack’ Prigozhin is claiming to have provoked his action, perhaps not. That must be firmly established yet. However, nobody can tell me they then ‘spontaneously’ acted the following way….
Just like something like 90% of the VSRF, so also the mass of Wagner PMC was deployed inside Ukraine. Yesterday afternoon and the last night, they moved out of Ukraine and into south-western Russia – and that in two big groups, organised into multiple assault groups, moving in long convoys of military vehicles.
The southern group entered and secured Rostov-na-Donu, early this morning. Then moved from there on Novocherkassk, to Taganrog, and to Millerovo Air Base. Underway, it shot down two Mi-8MTRP-1 electronic warfare helicopters and a Mi-35 attack helicopter of the VKS: reportedly, ‘because they were shooting at civilians’ (the video in question is shown an air strike on a ‘standard’ civilian 13,60m tilt-trailer, hit by Ka-52s of the VKS while on the M4 highway from Rostov in northern direction, early this morning).
Few hours later (because the distance from Ukraine was much longer), the northern group entered Voronezh and secured the huge Buturlinovka AB. From there, it launched an advance in direction of Moscow – and that despite air strikes by Su-34 fighter-bombers and Ka-52 attack helicopters of the VKS: these were either shot down or forced away (though only after the Ka-52s set on fire the POL-depot in Voronezh).
It was in the same area the Wagner shot down an An-24 or An-26 of the VKS, too:
Latest reports are having it that either the same column, or one of its elements – and, reportedly, that’s a huge column including up to 400 military vehicles (including tank-trailers hauling T-72s, T-80s and BMPs), heavily protected by Pantsyr mobile air defence systems – has reached the Lipetsk area.
That’s about 300km south of Moscow. Indeed, around the noon, one of Wagner columns should’ve reached the Borisoglebsk area (east of Voronezh), where there is the warehouse 375 Objekt C, controlled by the 12th Department of the Russian Ministry of Deference: that’s a storage facility for nuclear weapons.
Around 18.00hrs local time, the leading Wagner column should’ve passed Tula…
Check the maps and then pay attention about distances. This simply cannot be done without enough fuel. Without LOTS OF fuel. And lots of fuel means they are well prepared. Indeed: that they were preparing this ‘for days’, at least.
Something of this kind cannot be done without lots of weapons, either, but: Wagner PMC is well-equipped in this regards. That shouldn’t be a secret. If at all, the only element ‘surprising’ for me is just how many heavy transport vehicles they’ve got to haul their T-72s and BMPs around.
One way or the other: another element of evidence that this was prepared since some time.
Now, Putin with his Rosgvardia might have ‘600,000’ troops under arms, but: the Rosgvardia is scattered all over Russia (literally: ‘from Kaliningrad to Vladivostok’), and mass of these are poorly armed ‘guards’. Even the (reportedly) ’40,000-strong’ Spetsnaz and OMON elements of the Rosgvardia are not all in one place. And even if: they are unlikely to be capable of outmatching the Wagner. Which is why they’re meanwhile in the process of constructing roadblocks along the M4 highway, on southern approaches to Moscow.
WOULD PRIGOZHIN ‘STRANGULATE’ THE VSRF?
Historical experience is teaching us that even a ‘handful’ of ‘crack’, combat-seasoned troops can quickly wrestle control of any country, no matter how large. Obviously, Prigozhin and his Wagner-Dirlewangers are not yet where ‘it matters to be in Russia’: they’re not in Moscow, and they’re not in St Petersburg. This is why it might appear as if their ‘mission’ is hopeless…
However, mind that the Wagner is now operating in the deep rear of the VSRF, VDV, FSB, and Rosgvardia formations deployed inside Ukraine (the Rosgvardia inside Ukraine, but also in the Belgorod oblast, is including Kadyrov’s Chechens). It’s in control of two out of its three of VSRF’s major supply hubs (Rostov and Voronezh): only the Crimea is still under Pudding’s control. Means: IF (a big if….) Pudding, Shoygu and Gerasimov want to react by re-deploying sizeable troop contingents of the VDV and Spetsnaz (as I guess they’ll have to do, because Rosgvardia, SSO, and VKS are unlikely to prove ‘enough’ to stop Prigozhin’s rampage), they have to weaken their troops inside Ukraine, while Wagner should have no problem in cutting off their supply links. Indeed, they might be capable of even cutting off their communication links to Moscow…
An important – but also hugely uncertain – factor in the case of all coups like this one, is the time: it could be that the time is working for Prigozhin, it could it that it’s working against him. This depends on the free flow of information, first and foremost - which is why the Russian authorities are already seeking ways to cut off his and Wagner’s approach to the social media.
The time is important for Prigozhin to convince as much of the VSRF, VDV, and different Spetsnaz formations as possible to join him. In turn, the more time Pudding and consorts have to ‘prove’ they are ‘in control’, the better for them….
One way or the other, if Wagner combatants are as determined as Prigozhin is stressing they are (and reports from within the social media circles around Wagner seem to indicate), then this is not going to be over in a few hours, but is a start of a civil war in Russia.
This is so because by now it’s sure that Prigozhin is out for nothing less than for ousting Putin.