I'm Thinking the Kiev Campaign Was the Result of an Intelligence Failure
I’ve written about the so-called “Pro-Russian” faction within Ukraine before.
Even before the first shot was fired, the situation that had developed in Ukraine following the coup d’etat of 2014 can only be characterized as a complete, abject and miserable failure of Russian foreign policy. And it only got worse year after year following the seizure of power and the beginning of the anti-terrorist operation in the Donbass. Here, the failure is inexcusable, but easily explainable. The Kremlin, in its hard-boiled cynicism, thought that they could just bribe politicians and oligarchs in Ukraine to keep the situation from getting too out of control. They never switched strategies and they never really did anything to neutralize the West’s far more effective color revolution + mass propaganda strategy. Incompetent corrupt fools like Victor Medvedchuk were tasked with keeping a Russian toehold in Ukraine.
You must have heard about Medvedchuk, yes? He was paraded around in chains recently by the Ukrainian secret police and plastered all over social media:
When you look at the situation with the cities that Russia surrounded in the first weeks of the war, you really have to wonder what the plan was.
Either it was:
a) the Kiev government will surrender and the civilians will come out and welcome us with flowers
b) we surround the cities and then storm them
c) internal assets get activated and hand the city over to us
I think the plan was clearly a mix of a and c. And Medvedchuk was selling the Kremlin lies about his network of agents lying in wait, ready to hand over key cities to the Russian military.
Now, Victor’s been around for awhile, serving under Leonid Kuchma, who everyone knows was an ardent supporter of Russia and then Victor Yanukovich, another ardent Russian nationalist and die-hard patriot. SARCASM ALERT — SARCASM DETECTED.
I should warn you, I can’t help but slather the sarcasm onto my commentary when it comes to the “pro-Russia” faction in Ukraine, so keep an eye out for it as we move along. But sarcasm aside for now, let me state things plainly: this guy was your typical sleazy Eastern European political apparatchik and a deal-fixer who may or may not have been close to Putin (his daughter was baptized by Putin, making her his goddaughter, but so what). Most importantly, he was paid millions to be of use to Russia in Ukraine.
Fast-forward to today and the internet analysts are starting to ask some hard questions about the planning behind the special military operation. From Open Ukraine, a solid project:
@OpenUkraine writes: By the way, where is all the underground that Medvedchuk and Kiva had been developing [in Kiev]? All I know is that everyone who participated in Kiva's "youth brigade" had "sudden" problems with the SBU. That is, Kiva handed them over to the SBU's "T" Department.
And after the Special Military Operation started, some were even killed because someone leaked the membership lists. That's why I didn't trust Medvedchuk, Muraev, or any other supposed opposition figures who were just "pocket opposition" and played along with the Brits.
None of this is confirmed, but it makes sense if you think about it. Seeing as the Russian military was unwilling to level cities, and even rolled into cities like Kharkiv only to be ambushed after being promised a surrender, it seems clear that something went wrong with the intelligence operation.
Using snakes like Medvedchuk, whose loyalty was obviously for sale to the highest bidder, turned out to be a costly mistake. But, this comes as no surprise to anyone who knows anything about the internal situation in Ukraine. Russia underestimated the ability of the Kiev government and the media to whip up anti-Russian sentiment.
Then, when the military operation got underway, only Kherson was successfully handed over to the Russians without a brutal fight within the city itself.
The SBU clearly penetrated the network of pro-Russian agents who were supposed to move in tandem with the special military operation. If rumors are to be believed, their names were handed over to the SBU by the people in charge of the pro-Russian network in Ukraine. And if this is true, then it is a colossal failure on the part of the intelligence establishment in Russia. I have no confidence in this institution, whatsoever. Remember how Putin dressed down the SVR (external FSB) chief for all the world to see?
What was going on there?
Why is no one talking about this? C’mon people - put your thinking caps on! Is it really easier to assume that Russia had no plan whatsoever and just made it up as they went along? I seriously doubt that.
No, there almost certainly was a plan, and the plan clearly went awry.
In the grand scheme of things, I think that being forced into a serious operation in Ukraine has had obvious positive effects on the internal political situation in Russia. The most obvious anti-Russian agitators have had their positions severely undermined, as I’ve chronicled extensively on this blog. But further hard questions are going to have to be asked about the competence of many people who hold positions in the security apparatus. Furthermore, Russia’s strategy is going to have to be re-examined going forward.
What’s going to be done about Lithuania, for example? What about Kazakhstan?
Are the people in charge of managing these hot spots on top of the ball or is it the same caliber of chinovnik filing reports to the Kremlin that all is well and that there is no need to worry, only to increase the budget?
We will find out soon, I guess.