STRATEGIC ASSESSMENT-It’s been a month into Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the country’s people and armed forces continue to mount a staunch — and undeniably brave — resistance against Russian forces.
By accounts from western observers, the Russian invasion of Ukraine has stalled in more than one direction. Certainly, Vladimir Putin lost the information war within a week, and the Russian economy—meaning ordinary Russian citizens—will be absolutely battered by the sweeping sanctions regime imposed by nearly the entire world. In his quest to reclaim the Russian empire, Putin may well have turned his country into a hermit kingdom.
One explanation for this spectacular mistake—a mistake that will cost many Ukrainian and Russian lives—is the one offered by former State Department Regional Medical Officer/Psychiatrist Kenneth Dekleva, who suggested to me that much of this is the result of a profound intelligence failure within Putin’s security apparatus. Contrary to the growing conventional wisdom that Putin has gone off the rails in terms of his mental state, Dekleva holds that he’s the same sicko he always was, he’s just operating on particularly bad information.
We may have some new evidence pointing towards that conclusion. In a video posted to YouTube on April 11, 2021, journalist and former member of the Russian parliament Aleksandr Nevzorov appears to predict the consequences of a Russian invasion of Ukraine with an eerie prescience—at least if a version with English subtitles, reposted this month, is accurate. A rudimentary auto-translation of the original video suggests it is.
Nevzorov predicts the Russian military will be far less effective in practice than its reputation would suggest. He predicts Putin’s military analysts will feed him fantasies about how the invasion will play out based on war games that do not reflect reality. He predicts fierce Ukrainian resistance, even fiercer than what Russia ran into in Chechnya. (His interpretation of the Chechen conflicts is also interesting: he sees the Chechens as victors.) He predicts huge troop losses for the Russians, who will make heavy use of undertrained conscripts.
He predicts many of these men will have no idea why they’re even fighting this war. He predicts massive external reaction, but also a growing internal opposition that will eventually unite the anti-Putin factions in an antiwar movement. He predicts the conflict will end in tragedy and humiliation for Russia, in part because he thinks both military victory and military defeat will yield an overall defeat. He even predicts Japan will grow emboldened in their dispute with Russia over the Kuril Islands.Ukraine Back in April 2021