Putin, arse, elbow

15 Nov 2005
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Cook Islands
It's often noted that Putin's inner circle is composed of a few super-rich ex-KGB buddies, with no generals, and that he treats the army and his Minister of Defence with contempt.

But is it possible that he doesn't have his own parallel "intelligence" sources to check when he is being misinformed?

The FT says:

"Russia’s defence ministry on Wednesday insisted it was withdrawing from population centres in Ukraine’s north and west, including Kyiv. Igor Konashenkov, the ministry’s spokesperson, said Russia was conducting a “planned rotation” out of Kyiv and Chernihiv, a city further north, after “achieving all the main tasks” in that part of the country.

Russia’s latest claims came as US officials said there was mounting evidence that Russian president Vladimir Putin felt “misled” by his military commanders about how the war in Ukraine was playing out.

Declassified intelligence showed Putin had been unaware the Russian military was using conscripts in Ukraine, a sign there was a “clear breakdown” in the flow of accurate information to the Kremlin, one US official said. “We would concur with the conclusion that Mr Putin has not been fully informed by his ministry of defence at every turn over the last month,” said John Kirby, Pentagon press secretary, on Wednesday.

Putin initially denied conscripts were fighting in Ukraine — only for his own defence ministry to admit a day later that they were.

Dmitry Peskov, Kremlin spokesperson, then told reporters the president ordered Russia’s military prosecutors to find and punish officials responsible for conscripts being deployed, supposedly in contravention of his orders.

“We believe that Putin is being misinformed by his advisers about how badly the Russian military is performing and how the Russian economy is being crippled by sanctions, because his senior advisers are too afraid to tell him the truth,” the US official said. Antony Blinken, US secretary of state, said: “One of the Achilles heels of autocracies is that you don’t have people in those systems who speak truth to power or who have the ability to speak truth to power. And I think that is something that we’re seeing in Russia.”
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I'm reminded of something I once heard about the collapse of horrible places to work, under awful bosses like Phillip Green and Fred Goodwin.

"You can bully people into promising the impossible, but you can't bully them into achieving it."
Or maybe Putin is (and was) fully aware of the situation, but this allows any failures or shortcomings to be blamed on others rather than Putin himself?
Very likely

But does his reputation depend on knowing all and controlling all?
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Unlike the British govt, where the leader is fully aware of the lies he tells - yesterday he was grilled about the lies he has been telling in the commons.
Very likely

But does his reputation depend on knowing all and controlling all?

His reputation in who's eyes?

I think his power derives from his ability to maintain the current government and business institutions in place and under his direct or indirect control.

While everyone around him is getting very rich and has a healthy fear of being sent to the gulags or getting novicocked if the get out of line, Putin is safe.
I'm reminded of something I once heard about the collapse of horrible places to work, under awful bosses like Phillip Green and Fred Goodwin.

"You can bully people into promising the impossible, but you can't bully them into achieving it."

The GF just left such a place. She was the top seller 10 years running, new management, new policies and methods and she was on a PIP within 3 months. Those at the top had hired leaders who promised the earth with no means to deliver. When the margins got squeezed and the numbers didn't stack up, the new management attacked the employees. There was a mass exodus of talent and finally, those at the top realise where the problem was.

I suspect however, that these briefings are carefully designed to cast doubt in Putin's mind and help him come to his own conclusion that he needs to pull back. Soon the Russian people will count the bodies, realise they can't buy anything with their currency and that the McDonalds doesn't taste the same.
The populace would have to fall off the cliff. At the moment they are arrested for demonstrating; fined for speaking out; can be imprisoned for repeating "lies" (i.e. truth)
"Putin ‘massively misjudged’ Ukraine war, says UK spy chief.

GCHQ head says Russian soldiers are sabotaging their equipment and have accidentally shot down their own aircraft

Jeremy Fleming: ‘We’ve seen Putin lie to his own people in an attempt to hide military incompetence’

"Vladimir Putin “massively misjudged” the invasion of Ukraine, according to a British spy chief who said that Russian soldiers were refusing to carry out orders, were sabotaging their own equipment and had mistakenly shot down their own aircraft.

Jeremy Fleming, head of Britain’s signals intelligence agency GCHQ, said Putin had “overestimated the abilities of his military to secure a rapid victory” and that his advisers were “afraid to tell him the truth” about a campaign that was “beset by problems”. “We’re now seeing Putin trying to follow through on his plan. But it is failing. And his plan B has been more barbarity against civilians and cities,” Fleming said in a speech to the Australian National University. “We’ve seen Putin lie to his own people in an attempt to hide military incompetence.”

The British intelligence chief said that Russian soldiers who were rejecting orders and damaging their own equipment were “short of weapons and morale”, adding: “It increasingly looks like Putin has massively misjudged the situation. “It’s clear he misjudged the resistance of the Ukrainian people. He underestimated the strength of the coalition his actions would galvanise. He underplayed the economic consequences of the sanctions regime.”

US officials concurred that Putin aides were withholding information from the president. “We believe that Putin is being misinformed by his advisers about how badly the Russian military is performing and how the Russian economy is being crippled by sanctions,” a US official said."

Maybe it is time for another purge of the Russian High Command.

Stalin's Great Purge saw one third of the Communist party executed or sentenced to work in labor camps.

After Stalin's death the purges continued but without as many executions. People were banished from the communist party which saw them ejected from management in industry, commerce and government. Employment for them was limited to un-skilled work.
All these reports about how bad the Russian military is performing

Refusing to comply with orders
Damaging there own equipment

may well be correct / true ???

but don’t under estimate the military resources the Russian military can call upon
That Times stuff quoted is a case of Chinese whispers as that is not what Russia said. By watching to much news from the rights sources I heard exactly what was said. It was reiterated during an interview on C4 as well - especially the withdrawing aspect by a Russian ambassador. Declassified intelligence. Where from? The bloke that owns the Times is a very political animal. The Russian army has been run as it is now for many years. National conscription.

So Keiv. They have been defeated or they have done what they want to over all in some respect. What they have said doesn't mean there will be no more attacks in that area. Actually the changes there seemed to start when they mentioned concentrating on Donbas. A large part of which they have occupied. Given initially comments about the feasibility of them gaining control of all of Ukraine I wondered what they wanted with Kiev. Also due to initial announcements as to why they were invading in the first place. The only way they could capture it would be by more or less flattening it. Even then there would be high troop losses much higher if they didn't.

The town that is being bombarded now is not Kiev. It's north of it. If Ukrainians go in what do you think would happen? Russia might have moved out of it. Looks like they have. Ukraine's view of this will be rather different. Renaging on a deal that wasn't actually made in the form they would ideally like - no troops in the north at all.

Mariupol. Recently Ukraine refused to agree an escape route. Prior to that for some reason it was only possible in cars. It involved going through check points from both sides. Some of the war maps have not shown this. Russia has announced the route is open, coaches this time and supplies getting in. Currently working.

The beeb had an ex UK Chief Of Staff on. His view. What a crap way of starting a war. I assume for some reason no shock and awe initially. Outlook. Ukraine can't be expected to defeat a country with Russia's assets. It leaves a situation where one side will need to give up. The west will make it as hard for Russia as they can. When asked about newer weapon supplies a comment was not got there yet, I think the answer is.......... Pass this area but having seen artic loads of weapons I have wondered how they would get them in. It's hard to hide from satellites and drones etc. There is likely to be Russia supporters all over the place as well. Ukraine does have a mix.

War protests in Russia. They have a population of 144m. 1,000's, even 10s k don't figure really. Ok the rest are misguided but Russians are thought to be rather patriotic as well. Another illegal misguided war. USA figures.
A March 2003 Gallup poll conducted during the first few days of the war showed that 5% of the population had protested or made a public opposition against the war compared to 21% who attended a rally or made a public display to support the war.[6] An ABC news poll showed that 2% had attended an anti-war protest and 1% attended a pro-war rally. The protests made 20% more opposed to the war and 7% more supportive.[7] A Fox News poll showed that while 63% had an unfavorable view of the protesters, just 23% had a favorable view.[7] According to Pew Research, 40% said in March 2003 that they had heard "too much" from people opposed to the war against 17% who said "too little".[8]
That war bought out huge numbers elsewhere eventually.

The Nazi aspect. The Azov brigade and more extreme nationalists. probably the Chechens fighting for Ukraine as well. They will be happy with the ones fighting for them. The Azov brigade has been on the terrorist list - suspected atrocities. Taken off when they joined in with Ukraine's army but still separate.

We are being fed a narrative. This will percolate into Russia and may change attitudes there. It started with capturing all of Ukraine. Something as far as I am aware Russia has never said. GCHQ has just been on commentating followed by some one who explained why they had. What was stated may be true but without knowledge of the scope of it doesn't really mean much at all but if it spreads on the Russian side all for the good.

Go back to the start and there were western reports that Ukraine were moving heavier stuff up towards Donbas. That was Putin's excuse for kicking things off. Provoked? Probably but that areas fighting has never really stopped.

Death tolls. Yemen 370,000. Iraq if I remember correctly 180,000 according to USA estimates. Other studies indicate way way more. The Yemen lot is seems has been taken off the terrorist list. Saudi not at all happy about that. More geopolitics.

National conscription and body bags caused Vietnam protests plus can't win ended that war. The same might happen in Russia. Took a rather long time in Vietnam. 58k USA troop losses and about 230k "allies" on top. Russia doesn't have any of those to help other than the Donbas lot. Not that many Russian serving troops involved in that lot.
Before they attacked, there was a video of some sort of conference with Putin and leaders, and one of them said something he didn't like, I think related to Ukraine? Anyway, Putin looked at him, said some, and the guy looked like he'd just shat himself.

People know what happens to those that criticise Putin in any way, maybe most know to keep their mouths shut, say everything is going OK, and if it doesn't, tell Putin the Americans/Brits/NATO/UN/EU etc interfered to ruin things.

What was that video ... no, can't find it.
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