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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Russian Scenarios: Ukraine Starts the War

From Russia with love: a collection of Russian military fiction:

War 2010
The Ukrainian Front

by Fiodor Berezin (left)
The Epoch of the Stillborn

by Gleb Bobrov (right)

After the Battle — Ukraine
The Crushed Trident

by Georgiy Savitskiy (left)
Independent Ukraine
The Undoing of the Project (right)
by Maxim Kalashnikov, Sergei Buntovskiy

As Obama stimulates Putin’s reset button, the Kremlin’s propaganda machine is laying the groundwork for Operation Barbierossa (with Tymoshenko/Yanukovych as Barbie).

Who draws the first blood? Ukraine does. Any problems with that?

Remember: From the Soviet point of view, Finland started the Winter War; from the Nazi point of view, Poland started WW II.

Below are two fact-meets-fantasy scenarios outlined in a Russian television program, in which Ukraine gets repeatedly called “republic”— Soviet-style. (Since independence, Ukraine has no republic in its official name.)

Scenario 1

Anti-Russian western Ukrainian troops surge into Crimea like Nazis to terrorize the local Russian population. Kyiv cracks down on the Russian Black Sea Fleet in Crimea, cutting off communications. Moscow sends in reinforcements from the neighboring Russian region of Kuban. Kyiv sends in reinforcements from neighboring Ukrainian oblasts.

Troop Strength

Russia: Black Sea Fleet troops, 14,000 + Novorossiysk marines, 4,000 + Kuban infantry, 5,000

Ukraine: Kerch Mechanized and Simferopol Artillery Brigade, 5,000 + two brigades from Dnipropetrovsk and Mykolayiv, 10,000 + special forces, 4,000

Russia leads in troops and warships; Ukraine leads in air defense: more than 100 SAM systems + more than 200 interceptor aircraft (“It’s a lot for the not-so-large territory of the republic.”)

Romania, Poland and Hungary step in “to support Yushchenko.” A NATO task force (10 warships) based in Poti and Batumi prepares to engage the Russian Black Sea Fleet.
Turkey foments Crimean Tatar irredentism. (Kyiv supports Crimean Tatars in land conflicts and squatting against the Russian population of Crimea.)

Bottom Line

If Russia loses, Crimea will follow in Kosovo's footsteps, with the establishment of a pro-Ukrainian puppet regime supported by U.S. Navy bases. Turkey will like it. Projected war outbreak: Early 2010 (“to retain power, Viktor Yushchenko may opt for such provocations”).

Scenario 2

“Another scenario of developments is connected with another former Soviet republic: Georgia. If military conflict flares up on its territory again, it will mark the beginning of a war between Russia and Ukraine.”

Background: regular Ukraine-NATO military exercises + Ukraine’s arms supplies to Georgia

Bottom Line

If Ukraine loses, the country will fall apart. Russia will claim Crimea, along with the right to keep its Black Sea Fleet after the rental agreement expires in 2017. (The victory will be offset by international isolation and domestic crisis).

If Russia loses, the Russian Black Sea Fleet will leave Sevastopol and there will be no more Russian influence in Crimea.

The news anchor's caveat: Make no mistake, according to international norms, Crimea is an integral part of Ukraine and I’m convinced that Russia will never fight for this territory. But Ukrainian politics of the last few years suggests that there are still some who are eager to provoke a conflict in the hope of the international community’s intervention, forgetful of the fact that managed conflicts are always fraught with heavy bloodshed. And there are always those willing to do the fighting. In fact, some Ukrainians, for years, have been fighting Russia, literally, and they’re not shy about it.
Background: UNA-UNSO’s involvement in Abkhazia, Chechnya and South Ossetia; Yushchenko’s decree celebrating “the centennial of Roman Shukhevych [1907-1950],” an officer of the SS, which killed “about 250,000 Jews, 1,000,000 Ukrainians, 500,000 Poles, 100,000 people of other ethnicities.”


Well, well, well. Does Shukhevych’s short-lived collaboration with Nazi Germany equal long-standing Soviet-Nazi cooperation? How does the training of Wehrmacht tank crews and Luftwaffe pilots (in Kazan and in Lipetsk respectively) compare to Shukhevych's resume?

What about the mustached blessing of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact? Of course, Ukraine gained in territory — populated mainly by Ukrainians — and lost 7,000,000 lives. Fair enough by the Kremlin's standards, right?

Now, why in the world would Yushchenko want to start a war with Russia? To give Russia the pretext for partitioning Ukraine?

Would Obama drop the reset button and rush to Ukraine’s defense should Russia start the war
much less should Ukraine start the war?



Lingüista said...

Scary thoughts and scenarios in these alternate history books, Taras.

But is there anything other than simnply wishful thinking there? Like all those novels about a Third World War that were written during the Cold War, and yet nothing actually happened--no big Red Army attack on the GDR at the Fulda gap, with a quick run towards Bonn... And the Germans used to live with the feeling that, whatever the outcome, their country would be effed-up if WWIII started.

Still, the "oceans of tanks" never moved, and in the end the third all-out war of the 20th century didn't happen.

Bogdano said...

But beware to march silently during the war:

John Kalitka said...

"So why dont you use it, try not to bruse it, buy time dont lose it... Every little thing the [RESET] does leaves you answered with a question mark."

Taras said...


Yushchenko missed the train on NATO. To Ukraine, NATO stands for No Aid to Offer.

Unless Yushchenko wants Ukraine squashed by the reset button, he should lose his pathetic NATO pitch and embrace renuclearization.


Ukraine needs to convince Russia that war is not the answer to Russia’s problems. This can only be done by speaking softly and carrying a big stick.


Scary indeed! I think the above collection doesn’t exactly fit Cold War or World War III fiction. It’s about a big nuclear country that can’t wait to annex a smaller non-NATO non-nuclear country.

These books depict what the ruling elites in Russia live and breathe.

Sublime Oblivion said...

The video had some damning facts about Ukrainian aggression against Russia.

Taras, are you one of those western ultra-nationalists who'd like to fight in Georgia?

Lingüista said...

Do they really? That would indeed be bad. I'm hoping that Russians getting hard-ons about invading Ukraine would be a small minority...

Tell me--in your experience with Russians (and as a Ukrainian you certainly had a lot), do you really think those people who say there's something wrong with "Russian civilization" or "the Russian soul" have some chance of being right? Or are the Russians just going through their own post-Empire blues--like the English, the French (they even invaded Algeria!), the Dutch, and other ex-colonialists?

Taras said...

Sublime Oblivion,

Ukrainian aggression against Russia? You mean those Ukrainian mercenaries who fought in Abkhazia, Chechnya and South Ossetia? Does their activity amount to a war of aggression, like Bolshevik Russia's war against Ukraine in 1917-1921?

And what about the Russian tourists who fought alongside Serb war criminals in the Yugoslav wars? Has the U.N. charged Russia with aggression?

According to international law, Georgia’s military action against South Ossetia can probably be compared to Russia’s military action against Chechnya. (Except that the latter involved two campaigns and much heavier casualties on both sides.)

For the record, Georgia did not invade Russia — Russia invaded Georgia. If Russia invades Ukraine, I’ll be defending Ukraine.


You’re right! Bluntly put, Russia is suffering from a post-imperial identity crisis, with an emphasis on expansionist and undemocratic aspects.

By contrast, Ukraine is suffering from a post-colonial identity crisis, with an emphasis on economic and cultural aspects.

That said, I know Russians who defy this paradigm.

John Kalitka said...

To complicate matters further, it seems that Russia may encounter additional obstacles in the Russian Far East as it attempts to reassemble and maintain portions of its historical empire.

Taras said...

Thank you for the link, John!

That’s exactly my point! Russia's aggression toward neighbors may fuel separatism among some of its 83 constituent parts and thus may leave Russia worse off than before.

Tara's Shevchenko said...

Reality in action, just in reverse with Russia being the aggressor