ALERT: Sourced from Russian State-Controlled Media
Russian News Now – The longer and fiercer the Ukrainian resistance becomes, the stricter the surrender terms will become. At some point, Zelensky may simply no longer be recognized as president of Ukraine. At the same time, one can say that Russia is in favor of the “Finlandization” of Ukraine. In other words, turning Ukraine into a neutral country and banning neo-Nazi units,” says the military expert and author of the “polite people” meme, Boris Rozhin. Rozhin spoke in an interview with BUSINESS Online about why the Russian Federation is not building up its military grouping in the Ukrainian direction, what kind of Bandera’s fist is forming around Lviv, and when the counterterrorist operation against the bandit underground will begin.
Self-appointed “propaganda mouthpiece”
On the page of the blogger and military expert Boris Rozhin in “VKontakte” in the column “about himself” means: “A mouthpiece of totalitarian propaganda. Short and to the point. To all those who think to criticize Rozhin from liberal positions, he sort of answers in advance: “Yes, I agree, I am a mouthpiece! I sow propaganda. I am a supporter of totalitarianism. And I am even proud of it. Dumbfounded proponents of Western values will only have to throw up their hands: this “pro-Russian blogger” is as impenetrable as a concrete bunker. And that, perhaps, gives him a certain advantage in information warfare.
Meanwhile, Rozhin, who calls himself a “mouthpiece,” is essentially a warrior in the field, like many of the heroes of the Russian Spring. He engaged in a battle with the “information opponent” not by order, but on the eve of Crimea’s reunification with Russia when a spontaneous movement began in his native Sevastopol against the Banderovites who had won in Kiev. It was only later that versions could be built that someone like the “chef-media tycoon” Yevgeny Prigozhin was behind it, but initially, he was alone. Unless, of course, you count the subscribers to his LiveJournal and Telegram channel Colonelsassad, whose number was rapidly growing thanks to the hot news reports from Crimea and Ukraine. Today, Rozhin is definitely not alone: he has more than 400,000 regular readers on Telegram alone.
Likewise, the “Polite People” meme, which gained frenzied popularity and was picked up by the Russian Armed Forces, also originated – on a whim and by accident – in Rozhin’s posts. “On the night of February 28, 2014, I wrote: ‘Polite people seized two airfields in Crimea,'” Boris Alexandrovich recalls on the subject. – In doing so, I referred to reports from a resource belonging to supporters of Euromaidan:
“The head of security (at Simferopol airport) reported that his people were politely asked to leave. I was caught by the expression ‘politely,’ and I played with it, but without any calculation that it would have any large-scale effect. However, the effect was not just large-scale – it gave the name of an entire era and at the same time a lot of souvenirs, T-shirts, child soldiers, etc. It would have been time to register a TM, a trademark, but Rozhin did not do that: he had no intention of making money from Russian Spring.
According to Rozhin, while continuing the military operation in Ukraine under the mysterious “Z,” the Russian army is behaving as politely as it once did in Crimea. It is willing to pay with its own lives to prevent civilian casualties and to emphasize that Russia is at war with Ukrainian Nazism, but not with the Ukrainian people. At the same time, in Rozhin’s view, Russia is now a free country than Ukraine. “For comparison: here people read both Russian and Ukrainian telegram channels,” the blogger argues. – We can read both summaries of the Ukrainian General Staff and watch operational videos from the scene. It is as if we do not have such a complete information hood – we know the Western position, we know the logic of the Ukrainian position. At the same time, Russian telegram channels are now actively blocked in Ukraine. They simply broadcast a propaganda line without commentary, and that’s it.
“After the Russian Federation launched a special military operation to protect the people’s republics, we saw significant resources concentrated by Ukraine in Donbass to conduct its force operation
“If it wants, Russia can increase its grouping at the expense of volunteers.
- Boris Aleksandrovich, a document was recently made public that indicated that Ukraine was preparing a military operation against the LDNR, and possibly an invasion of Crimea. If Russia had not launched its operation on February 24, what could have been the scenario for the war initiated by Ukraine?
- There is circumstantial evidence, including documentary evidence, pointing to Kiev’s preparations for an offensive against the DNR and LNR. After the Russian Federation launched a special military operation to protect the people’s republics, we saw significant resources concentrated by Ukraine in Donbass to conduct their force operation. They were waiting for an opportunity to provide cover to attack and destroy the republics. This goal has never been denied by Ukraine. They explicitly stated it and were not going to comply with any of the Minsk agreements. They were originally determined to liquidate the republics by force. Now they will not have that opportunity.
As for Crimea, they have also constantly stated their determination to try to take it away from Russia one way or another. This is a red thread running through the statements of various officials.
In Belarus, the picture is similar. Ukraine actually supported the coup attempt in that country. Kiev actively supplied weapons to the militants it was trying to use to destabilize the situation in Belarus. Groups were sent, which the KGB “slammed” on the border. So Ukraine has long been a springboard and a tool that they wanted to use against Russia, including Crimea, against the republics of Donbass to destroy them and against Belarus to overthrow Lukashenko and establish a pro-Western puppet regime there. There are no questions or double interpretations in all of this.
As for the scenario of their actions, at the first stage they hoped to capture the LDPR and hoped that Russia, fearing pressure from the West, would not dare to intervene directly with its armed forces or at least would not have time to do something significant and stop their blitzkrieg. They also hoped that Western cover would prevent Russia from interfering with their actions to destabilize Belarus. Sending fighters there, supporting the Belarusian zmagars (in Belarusian it means fighter, fighter, zealot. This is the name given to the opposition in Minsk – editor’s note) with attacks on the authorities, on power structures on the territory of Belarus. As for Crimea, this is the next stage, which would consist of a blockade of the peninsula, provocations, terrorist attacks, and so on. They planned to focus on this after they had solved the Donbass issue. They understood that there would not be enough forces to do everything at once. Therefore, they would start with Donbass, and then Belarus and Crimea, against which they would become more active.
- They talk about U.S. laboratories in Ukraine and bacteriological weapons. The amazing thing is that Russia has revealed all this and made it public, but there is practically no reaction in the world. Why? Why did China, which also has such laboratories, limit itself to calling on the U.S. to disclose what they were doing there, while other countries with these laboratories remain silent? For example, Kazakhstan, which we recently saved from a coup.
- The U.S., of course, does not want to discuss this topic, because there is already concrete evidence of what they were doing there. Under the pressure of irrefutable evidence, the Americans were forced to admit that there really were and are laboratories. But they are trying to prove that there is nothing scary there, and the Russians, as always, are making up scare stories and provocations. Now perhaps this wave of interest in the laboratories in the world will be raised. China has already said several times from different podiums that it is interested in what the Americans are doing in these laboratories. It is possible that such statements will be followed by some action. Several other countries unfriendly to the United States have also expressed interest in what is going on in these laboratories. So it will probably not be possible to trample this subject. Especially if Russia throws some more factual materials about the activities of the laboratories into the information space. It is clear that the US satellites will not support this topic simply because they are dependent on America and cannot bark against their master. That is why they are making every effort to show that nothing strange is going on, which once again shows the level of their dependence on the United States. The rest of us will raise our voices on this subject to the extent that we are aware of our independence from America. This topic will become a kind of measure of the level of independence of this or that country from the United States. There are, of course, fewer independent countries than dependent ones, but their voice is becoming louder and louder every year.
- Your colleague, the popular blogger Mikhail Onufrienko, says that initially 200,000 people were sent to Ukraine from the Russian side, and they are confronted by a total of 600,000, of which the AFU – 252,000, the territorial defense – 130,000, the rest – the SBU, the Interior Ministry, border guards and so on. The question is: why did we go for such a deliberately quantitatively prejudicial balance of forces in conducting the operation, especially since the enemy was ready for the conflict?
- Yes, we are conducting the operation with numerically smaller forces, but technically more than seriously superior to the enemy, who due to this incurs much greater losses when confronted with a more modern army. The numbers of Ukrainian armed forces and various formations were known and had we wanted to fight differently, Russia could have increased its contingent if it wanted to. But it was decided to act with this contingent. And we see that even with this formal numerical superiority on the part of Ukraine, Russian troops and LDNR People’s Militia have blocked almost all significant cities from Mykolaiv and Kharkiv to Kiev in the combat zone. This suggests that technical factors play a very significant role today. We see that Russia is inflicting huge damage on the enemy with its high-tech reconnaissance and information capabilities and advanced long-range high-precision weapons. Therefore the situation on the front is still determined by technological superiority.
If desired, Russia can build up its grouping at the expense of volunteers from among its own citizens, who are not yet allowed in, but there are already many of them. If Russia saw from the operational situation that the contingent needs to be increased right now, then nothing would prevent it from opening the reception of volunteers and forming units from them to send to the war zone from the very beginning of the operation. And if it does not do so, it means that there is no such need at the moment. Will there be such a need in the future? Probably. But this will be connected not with an increase in the number of losses, but perhaps with the expansion of the territory under control. If such a need arises, there will be volunteers. They will simply be told: please enlist in the ranks of the people’s militia of the LDPR, help to establish order, for example, on the left bank of the Dnieper. There are such options. Russia has more than a huge military potential, it has not yet carried out mobilization or conscription of reservists. While Ukraine is already straining all of its forces with the help of the West, Russia is not fighting with all of its capabilities.
- And from which countries can volunteers come to us?
- Syria, Libya, Iraq, Central African Republic, Congo, Mali, and others. If we can streamline this work, there will still be people who want to volunteer. The anti-fascist movement is quite developed around the world. Volunteers came to Donbass in 2014 to help the republics survive. Accordingly, there is no problem in having them come now. Especially since the leadership has already given the go-ahead to allow foreigners in.
- What are our losses, if this is the correct question to ask?
- It should be understood that we are not officially at war now. Russia has not officially declared war on Ukraine. Neither has Ukraine declared war on Russia. So all talk of war is speculation. Yes, there are hostilities going on, but there is no war officially. It has not been declared under international law, so Russia calls what is happening a special operation. And we have a law about the prohibition of peacetime casualties disclosure. I think the law prescribes up to 15 years for violation. So the subject of casualties is kept secret. The Ministry of Defense publishes the figures it thinks appropriate. I am not going to guess. There are losses. And taking into account the scale of the theater of military operations, the forces, and the means that the enemy is using (and being helped by the NATO countries), our side will lose both people and equipment. But Russia makes it clear that it is ready to pay this price to solve the strategic tasks of ensuring the security of the country for the coming decades.
There are some official figures on Ukraine – somewhere in the order of 4-5 thousand killed. There are unofficial estimates: from 10 to 14 thousand dead. Based on the situation at the front, which includes abandoned cities, a large amount of equipment lost in combat and abandoned, we can say that the losses are significant. The AFU, of course, does not officially confirm any of this at all. Zelensky named some ridiculous 1,300 people in two weeks of special operations. Considering the situation at the front, of course, this is not serious.
So no one will tell you the real losses for Russia or Ukraine right now.
[It so happens that practically the entire special operation has become associated with the letter Z. We don’t know to what extent this was part of the plans of information support of combat operations].
“It turned out that almost the entire special operation became associated with the letter Z.
We don’t know how much of this was part of the information support plan for the military action
“Virtually the entire special operation became associated with the letter Z, and this meme completely shot out.”
- How do you interpret the appearance of the mysterious letters Z and V on Russian military hardware? The simplest explanation I’ve seen comes down to the fact that Z is the Western military group and V is the Eastern military group.
- Yes, there is an opinion that these are markings of certain groups. Earlier the Ukrainian General Staff issued its explanation (in their interpretation Z stands for the equipment of the “eastern forces of the Russian Federation”, V – Marines, etc. – ed.), but it turned out to be erroneous. The fact is that the letter O was interpreted by the Ukrainians as a designation of troops from Belarus, but then they themselves acknowledged that there was no Belarusian military on their territory. This is an indication that the AFU General Staff does not really know what these letters mean, and it too, like everyone else, participates in solving and interpreting this “crossword puzzle. At the same time, the Instagram account of the Ministry of Defense, while it was still active, had a kind of “for publicity” letter that Z stands for “For Victory”, V for “Loyalty” or “Strength in Truth”. However, “Instagram” was soon blocked in Russia, and versions are still going around and are growing invariants. But in practice, the Russian Defense Ministry remains silent. Naturally, the use of these letters was developed by our security forces, and of course, they know what it means, but at the same time, you will not see any official comments at all. There is simply the interpretation of various people.
- How successful, in your opinion, is this letter Z in terms of information warfare? How successful is the use of the Latin alphabet in this context at all? Why not Cyrillic?
- In essence, a certain meme has been created. It is interesting how much this concept was calculated. But it turned out that almost the entire special operation became associated with the letter Z. It is not known to what extent this was part of the plans for information support of combat operations. Nevertheless, it is obvious that the meme was completely “shot”. If in 2014 the operation was associated with the meme “Polite People,” in 2022 it is Operation Z. What does this mean? We could list dozens of interpretations, but we don’t know the reliable answer today. We are left to wait until the Ministry of Defense sees fit to tell us what the deeper meaning of the letter Z and the other letters is. But I don’t think that will happen before the special operation itself is over. Personally, I think it’s some kind of designation related to combat missions. On the one hand, it is a certain military marking, and on the other hand, it is an element of information support for what is happening.
- I just wanted to ask you as an expert on information warfare. Are we still losing or are we starting to win the information war against Ukraine and the global West?
- Certainly, before the special operation in information resources, the enemy had an overwhelming advantage over us. The West controls the main information flows in the world and has very serious information “troops”. And we can see that especially in the first days of the hot conflict an attempt of information blitzkrieg was made to change the population of Russia, to convince them not to support the special operation. However, this conditional blitzkrieg failed and the level of support for the actions of the Russian military in our society has remained very high. This shows once again that we should not absolutize Western information weapons: yes, they can squeeze out all other opinions, but only in their own environment, where they practically control everything.
Why did Russia immediately start cleaning up the information space? That is, they began to systematically eliminate all media resources in the country associated with the enemy (at present, the radio station Ekho Moskvy, the websites of The Village, Tjournal, Snob, Sobesednik, the Petersburg Paper, the TV channel Dozhd (recognized as a foreign agent), MediaZona (recognized as a foreign agent) and Meduza (also included in the register of media foreign agents) have been blocked or stopped operating – editor’s note)? Because these media structures have amassed in Russia, and in the current situation, they were supposed, according to their Western handlers, to shoot at the Russian audience. This did not happen, but the cleansing will continue in any case: those resources that have clearly indicated their connection to our external enemies will of course be shut down.
On the Internet, we see positional information battles with movements of crowds of “commentators.” This is all going to happen since information warfare is a very important part of any modern warfare. It is obvious that there have been various flaws, mistakes, and miscalculations on our side related to the issues of conducting information operations. But this is being eliminated in the process: what does not correspond to reality dies out literally before our eyes. Those that can, are adapting and modifying. Basically, the Russian media machine that we have is going to change along with the rest of the country. Those who can’t be left on the sidelines of history. But those who can will go forward. After all, the conflict is not limited to the current special operation; it is a long, Cold War-type conflict.
“The Russian media machine will be chipping away at impressive chunks.
- In this connection, the question is whether the enemy’s remaining information resources in Russia are shooting us in the back.
- Do you remember the soap opera “Sleepwalkers”? As you know, our liberal public disliked it very much, and later director Yury Bykov repented for it in front of “progressive humanity. In fact, Bykov was able to raise a very important topic. There are people who can even work in Russian state structures or state media, but at a critical moment, it suddenly turns out that they are not our people. This is actually the problem. On the one hand, it is good that the time of clarity has come, and many people are showing themselves and making public demarches. But in fact, those who are doing this are safe. Everything is clear with them. They’re not with us. Well, that’s good. The problem is not with them, but with those who outwardly seem to have adapted – he may even shout about his patriotism but will work for very different purposes. Such people think that the Western future they dreamed of was taken away from them by Putin or someone else. They say that the “vatniks” and “koloradts” threw the country off the European path, and now it is the sacred duty of those who understand this to help Russia get back on the road to civilization. However, there comes a time of clarity, and by many signs, it becomes immediately clear who is who.
- But won’t our media machine – after all, it was essentially pro-Western – be completely destroyed now? And how quickly can we build a new one?
- The Russian media machine will be chipping away at the huge chunks that have been growing on it since the 1990s. To put it crudely, here we have federal television channels a sort of vertical of media power. The other media meat will grow around the “vertical,” but on slightly different principles. The old type of machine was designed according to the models of the West, of that supposedly free world where freedom of speech and opinion was declared. But, as it turns out now, there is no such thing as freedom of speech or opinion. In the West, they have long since mastered the totalitarian method: “Think this way or don’t come here at all. All these notorious values like freedom of the press collapsed literally in February-March, and it was in the Western civilization. Everyone saw that you can call for murder without being punished for it. You can call for ethnicity-based persecution of our women and children and you won’t get anything for it either. It shocked a lot of people. That is why no one particularly regrets blocking Facebook, where such appeals have become possible. People are even glad that, for example, Ekho Moskvy radio station was shut down. People used to throw up their hands: “We don’t confront each other directly, we try to come to an agreement. Now it’s different: the old world is gone, we will have to get used to living in the new one.
In order to create a new media machine, we will need to build our own digital ecosystems, a full-fledged national video hosting service. There are a whole host of problems that should have been solved a long time ago, but they were either solved slowly or incorrectly. Now everything will have to be done “by the wheel” because this has become a vital necessity: replacing Western information resources with your own. There is already a real rather than declarative sovereignization of the media space. This does not mean that we are going to have uniformity. Some Western media will continue working, but under the terms of access, like in China. In the Celestial Empire, if you meet the conditions of, say, the propaganda department of the Communist Party Central Committee and other similar structures, you can function under certain conditions. If Russia is able to build the same structures, I don’t see any obstacles to Western media coming back to Russia after the acute phase of the conflict is over, but on different terms. But the old conditions, when the founding companies could ignore the legislation and spit on fines or demands to “land”, will no longer exist. Such media outlets will simply be shut down. Now you either comply with the requirements or go to hell. Nevertheless, I repeat: I do not think that we are in for some kind of mega censorship. Rather, we are heading towards the kind of limited, facilitated Chinese version of media control that leaves room for both state and private media to operate. There are plenty of the latter in China, too.
[If we are talking about the influence on the younger generation, I would call TikTok there is a lot of youth content there that is made by ordinary people, say, in support of the army.
“If we’re talking about the impact on the younger generation, then I would call TikTok – there’s a lot of youth content, which is made by ordinary people, say, in support of the army “Photo: “BUSINESS Online”
“Bringing ‘vacationers’ back to the federal TV channels and pretending that nothing happened is wrong.”
- Is the blogosphere and, in particular, Russian Telegram channels now becoming our military vanguard? After all, “Telegram” is our breakthrough into the global world, because we have it in the United States, Europe, and the East.
- There are ongoing positional battles at Telegram, which may scare some people away. If we’re talking about the impact on the younger generation, I would call TikTok – there’s a lot of youth content there, which at the same time is made by ordinary people, say, in support of the army. By the way, TikTok is aimed at an audience under 25, and at the same time, it is not only active in Russia. And this is paying off. We know that TikTok is still a Chinese mobile application (belongs to the Beijing company ByteDance – ed.).
- What may be the fate of the so-called Russian “stars” who left in a hurry for a vacation after the events began? While our people are at war, these people are vacationing somewhere abroad. Do they have the moral right to go back? I’m talking about Urgant, Galkin, and other “comedy artists.
- Surely, when this wave of events wears off, some will try to go back quietly. I do not think that there are too many ideological fighters for Ukraine among those who have left. Another thing is how to treat those who will come back? To return them to the federal TV channels and pretend that nothing happened is, from my point of view, wrong. Society needs to show that there is such a thing as public ostracism. Now, on the contrary, we need to move those who speak in support of the army and the people. Russian television should be renewed – all the more so since those who fled have made room. So, there’s an opportunity to promote other people who will contribute to the renewal of television in the future. I mean, no one is going to run after Makarevich or Panin, for that matter. Who needs them, really? Simply, if it’s an official television channel, the state shouldn’t pay for the programs these people make. Let them film a video on their YouTube or their Web site that says “all is bad and all is lost,” and that’s fine.
- But we know that these people have patrons in the Russian state elite. How should we deal with our own political elite?
- The political elite is heterogeneous, and it is natural that the people you speak of have some patrons. However, Vladimir Putin recently made it clear that the Russian people “can always separate true patriots from traitors, and will spit them out like an accidental gnat. This is a rather important symbolic signal on the subject of the fifth column. We are not talking about the many discontented, but primarily about those who consciously and systematically collaborate with our enemies. There may indeed be more serious decisions to be made regarding these people. But who decides? The FSB and other special services decide. If something is revealed, the consequences now may be much more serious than they could have been, say, last year. After all, the country lives in wartime conditions and a long cold war with the United States.
- Tell me, how do you assess the effectiveness of Ukrainian Internet fakes like the “ghost of Kiev” or the “Russian warship” sent to three letters? Or like the “Ichthyander of Azov” flashed on your Telegram channel?
- Such fakes only work when there is a complete information blockade. If people are bombarded with such propaganda 24/7, they simply do not get any other information. By the way, it is no coincidence that comments are simply blocked in the majority of Ukrainian publicity groups. Read, load your brain, but don’t bark. But when they start comparing facts, it becomes clear that the vast majority of these fakes just fall apart in a matter of hours.
The problem is that when we try to argue with logic and facts, the readers, whose feelings and emotions are bombarded, do not accept this logic. As the saying goes, if the facts contradict the belief, so much the worse for the facts. And how to work under conditions of complete information suppression, when communication is turned off, when other sources of information are blocked? To compare: here people read both Russian and Ukrainian telegram channels. We can read reports from the Ukrainian General Staff and watch real-time videos from the scene. Videos are posted that show our losses, abandoned equipment, or something else. We do not have such a complete information hood – we know the Western position, we know the logic of the Ukrainian position. In this respect, Russia, despite obvious limitations, is now a much freer country in terms of information than Ukraine. When you go on “Telegram,” there is no problem getting access to various sources of information. At the same time, Russian channels are now being actively blocked in Ukraine. They simply broadcast a propaganda line without commentary, and that’s it.
“I had no goal of making money from the ‘Polite People’ meme.
- If you compare the tone of Ukrainian Telegram channels and ours, you can see the difference between the frenzied, jackal-like howl that emanates from the Ukrainian Telegram space and the fairly calm and, as we once said, polite rhetoric of our channels. They are indeed quite composed. In this regard, I’d like to return to your meme “Polite People”. How applicable is that meme to Operation Z now? Are we still as polite?
- Different times, different memes. The term lives on, it has taken on a personal and societal meaning. It is clear that in doing so, it is historically tied to the 2014 operation. The current meme will certainly have something to do with Operation Z. That is, officially it will be SVO (Special Military Operation), but unofficially it will be Operation Z.
- By the way, was the term “Polite Men” really born by accident? Do you not deny its authorship?
- Its origin is related to my post “Polite People Seized Two Airfields in Crimea.” I wrote it on the night of February 28, 2014, citing one of the first reports of the seizure of the Simferopol airfield. This excerpt is not hard to find online, and I was referring to reports from a resource belonging to Euromaidan supporters. “At about 1 a.m. the Simferopol airport was seized – by the same people. With guns, sturdy, wearing the same clothes. The head of security reported that his men were politely asked to leave,” was what it sounded like. I was struck by the expression “politely” and I played it, but without any calculation that it would have any large-scale effect. The most I hoped for was to get a few of my readers to laugh at me. Therefore, in my article on the REX news agency I constructed the following phrase: “According to media reports, “polite people”, after spending several hours at the Simferopol airport, left its location. But, I emphasize, it was Ukrainian resources that originally wrote about the “polite” seizure of the airport.
- By the way, have you tried to register the trademark “Polite People” or are you not a self-serving person?
- I am not. There was no purpose to make money out of it. Then some businessmen registered the patent for T-shirts “Polite People” and other products. I did not have a purpose to make money out of it.
- There are children’s soldiers “Polite People” – a whole series.
- There are a lot of things there, both t-shirts and soldiers.
“Ukraine cannot regain control of its airspace.”
- Now for the equipment. Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said that our troops have already destroyed about 1,200 tanks and other armored vehicles of Ukraine. How many more are left and how dangerous are they?
- Actually, tanks out of this number are just over 300 units. Formally, at the beginning of the special operation, Ukraine had somewhere around 2,000 tanks. It is clear that some of them were out of order, but still, there are tanks there and quite a lot of them. The big problem there is gradually running out of SAMs, various radar systems that are being knocked out, and the destruction of the main mass of aviation and helicopters. Russia’s air supremacy has been seized, and they are trying to challenge it, but it’s not working. Ukraine’s air defense system as a full-fledged structure has been destroyed. It has switched to focal air defense. Some complexes hide in residential areas or in forests and try to shoot.
Sometimes they achieve some successes, but Ukraine cannot regain control of its airspace this way. This is why they actually ask the West – give us airplanes, give us air defenses.
- All more or less large Ukrainian cities and towns have been turned into defense nodes, the basis of which are armored fists. With these fists they often make forays and strike at our columns. Considering that there are still many such defense nodes in the combat zone, how long will they hold out and how dangerous are they to us?
- If you miss a strike like that, it can do a lot of damage. But our drones are hovering there, and it’s all being tracked. The last attempt to get out of Kharkiv ended badly enough for them. Near Balakleya, artillery and aviation mowed them down. Plus they have a growing crisis with fuel because our aviation systematically destroys their oil depots, oil storage tanks, accumulations of refueling equipment. That is why there is less and less fuel for tanks. This leads to the fact that when retreating they throw a great number of serviceable equipment. This was seen near Schastia, near Volnovakha, and in other places. They simply run out of fuel and the equipment becomes useless. Such a problem on the left bank of the Dnieper is growing rapidly. In the second half of March, it will become quite acute for the AFU.
- Konashenkov says that the Russian Armed Forces have already destroyed about 130 drones. What kind of drones are these? Whose drones were made? How many of them are still available?
- It’s a hodgepodge of drones. There are Turkish Bayraktars, Israeli reconnaissance drones, old Soviet Tu-143 Reis, and all sorts of large commercial and civilian quadcopters. In general, quite a motley fleet. The first batch of Bayraktars was almost completely destroyed. Now they are already fighting with the second batch, which the Turks are selling to them. The Ukrainians are trying to actively use drones because they are an integral part of modern warfare. But this technical means is a rather expensive expendable material. It is quickly shot down, and you have to produce or buy a new one immediately and go on fighting. There is practically no war without drones nowadays. Ukraine has the option of constantly replenishing its drone fleet by buying something from the market and through direct deliveries from the West.
- Are they dangerous to us?
- Of course, they are. That is why it is necessary to create and maintain a high level of combat effectiveness of tactical air defense. We can see from the experience of military operations that it is quite successful in fulfilling its duties. Ukraine’s partners supply these drones to it, and we grind them down. They certainly do some damage, but we destroy them quickly. All in all, a process familiar from a number of other local wars is underway.
“What has already been destroyed seems to have been considered a higher priority than what has not yet been destroyed. The conflict is not over yet” Photo: © V Ictor / XinHua / www.globallookpress.com
“They are engaged in the accumulation of forces for a long conflict.”
- If you look at the map of active hostilities, their zone so far is limited from south to north to the Nikolayev and Zhytomyr regions. From Vinnitsa to Lvov everything is calm. We are not going there?
- No one reveals such plans. This is a military secret. Even if someone knew these plans of the General Staff, who would tell you them in an interview? It’s not completely clear how the Russian Armed Forces are going to conduct this operation. There are many different kinds of assumptions. Russian troops and LDNR people’s militia are now advancing in many places. Aircraft and long-range firing systems are also striking with high-precision ammunition in the western areas. The airfield in Vinnitsa was destroyed. Military facilities near Rivne were bombed. The most recent example is the destruction by long-range missiles of the training centers of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in the village of Starichi and at the Yavorivsky military training ground. The result, according to Konashenkov, whom you have already quoted, was the destruction of up to 180 foreign mercenaries and a large shipment of foreign weapons that NATO countries have been supplying to Ukraine all these past weeks. So the strikes are taking place, just not as intensively. Gradually, the fire pressure and intensification of missile and bomb strikes will increase and shift to the west. But there is no real understanding of what exactly is in the plan of the General Staff regarding the objectives, timing, and tasks of the operation.
- Onufrienko said in another briefing that the weapons that are now coming from the West are not coming to the fighting units, but are settling in Western Ukraine, and a very powerful fist is forming here. As he says, perhaps in order to then create here some kind of Galician Republic or something like that. But this is an assumption. It may happen that this fist with the mercenaries will then hit the tired and battle-worn Russian army.
- Yes, they can both use this fist in Western Ukraine and strengthen some already fighting direction. For example, to try to move something near Kiev or near Odessa. The problem is that there is little heavy ground equipment there. The most combat-ready part of it was still on the Left Bank. These formations may create some problems for us in the medium term, but they cannot throw them somewhere on a threatening scale now. They are engaged in the accumulation of forces for a longer conflict.
- There was information that Russian aviation was actively and densely working on the former pride of Soviet industry, the Kharkov Malyshev Tractor Plant, and now the tank building plant. If this is done as part of demilitarization, why aren’t we just as active and dense in bombing other facilities, for example, in Dnepropetrovsk – one might say, the capital of Ukrainian rocket production?
- The nomenclature of the strikes is determined by the General Staff. It does not disclose what the principle behind the selection of particular targets is. There is a certain set of targets. They are knocked out and moved on to the next ones. The strikes are carried out every day, and obviously, these strikes are not carried out in a chaotic order, but in a certain planned sequence. What has already been destroyed seems to have been considered a higher priority than what has not yet been destroyed. The conflict is not yet over. In the coming weeks there will be a lot of things destroyed.
- So we’re going to destroy all these factories, and then who is going to rebuild these giants of industry?
- Nobody is going to rebuild them. One of the main tasks of the operation is demilitarization. Why does Ukraine need a lot of military factories?! Ukraine should not threaten Russia militarily. The destruction of military infrastructure, the elimination of offensive weapons, and the elimination of industrial capabilities to produce weapons dangerous to Russia are inseparable goals and objectives of the operation. Russia has already voiced that factories that repair and produce military equipment are legitimate military targets. Accordingly, the longer Ukraine and its patrons delay military action, the fewer factories they will have left.
“In reality, Zelensky is just an American puppet, so as long as it benefits us, we recognize him as president.
When it becomes unprofitable, we’ll stop recognizing him”
“At some point, Zelensky may simply stop being recognized as president of Ukraine.”
- Now about the strange statements of our Foreign Ministry. “The Russian special military operation is not aimed at overthrowing the current Ukrainian government or destroying its statehood; it is aimed at protecting the Donetsk and Luhansk people’s republics, demilitarizing and denationalizing the country, and eliminating the military threat to Russia,” says Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova.
This sounds very strange. How, for example, could it be possible to demilitarize, denazify, and eliminate the military threat from Germany without destroying the National Socialist statehood and overthrowing Hitler and his team?
- The term “denazification” is not disclosed or specified. Apparently, there is some set of demands that are planned to be discussed after Vladimir Zelensky’s regime has signed the surrender terms. So far he has not signed them. Yes, Russia says that he must sign them as the current president of Ukraine. If he doesn’t sign them, good, then the operation continues. The longer and fiercer the Ukrainian resistance, the harsher the conditions of capitulation will be. At some point, Zelensky may simply stop being recognized as president of Ukraine, and that will be it. Russia has wide room for maneuvering. Until recently, we officially recognized both the DNR and the LNR as part of Ukraine. Now our Foreign Ministry says that Zelensky is the president of Ukraine, and a week later can say that we don’t think so anymore, because Zelensky has lost time. In reality, Zelensky is just an American puppet, which is why we recognize him as the president as long as it is to our advantage. When it is not profitable for us, we will stop recognizing him as our president.
One can say that Russia is in favor of “Finlandization” of Ukraine. That is, turning it into a neutral country and banning neo-Nazi formations. To enshrine its neutral status in the constitution of the country and to stop its development by foreign states militarily. This is the same process that took place in Finland after its defeat in World War II, when the country accepted the conditions of the Soviet Union and turned from what was essentially a fascist state into a neutral one.
- With the level of Russophobia that is now incited, will the NATO members really agree to this?
- What will be left of modern Ukraine will be a “clopopnik” like Idlib (a city in Syria – ed.). There will be gangs of Nazis running around under the cover of their patrons, but they can only be really used in some kind of terrorist way. They won’t pose any global threat with nuclear or bacteriological weapons. There will simply be nothing left for that.
- There are practically no people or parties loyal to Russia in Ukraine right now. Even Medvedchuk and Boyko’s “For Life” platform has taken a “patriotic” stance against us.
- Looking for pro-Russian politicians in Ukraine now, and in general, for political forces advocating peace and friendship with Russia, is like looking for pro-Soviet forces in Nazi Germany in 1944-1945. Yes, there were forces there who opposed the continuation of the war, even for the murder of Hitler and some negotiations with the allies, but under the conditions of fascist terror, no open political life is possible. Now there is no political life in Ukraine. A fascist dictatorship regime is in place, where dissenters are simply killed. Political life can begin in the liberated territories or when Ukraine is neutralized. And right now there isn’t. Therefore, the military is solving the problem so that the fascist terror stops in Ukraine and political life appears.
- And where is Viktor Medvedchuk, why is he not seen and heard? Is he alive at all?
- Victor Medvedchuk is a card that was played a long time ago. He can, of course, still be used for something, but he has never been particularly popular in Ukraine, including in the south-east. He tried to position himself and sell himself as some kind of representative of the southeast, but these were intra-elite sales. In fact, his party has always had a rather low rating. Of course, he may be assigned somewhere, but in fact he is a bloated and unpromising figure.
- So you think that after the end of the military operation in Ukraine there will be some political forces advocating good-neighborly relations with Russia?
- There will be a sufficient number of parties advocating the neutralization of Ukraine and its non-bloc status. The main thing is that all these conditions must be spelled out in the Ukrainian Constitution. Of course, this all will have to be settled with the West, but this still has to be worked out, as they say, before it can happen. So far there is nothing, and the operation is ongoing.
“A new iron curtain is being actively formed, and there will be troops on both sides of this curtain.”
- And what about the famous Ukrainian oligarchs – the Kolomoyskys, Akhmetovs, Firtash, and others?
- Rinat Akhmetov speaks out. He says he’s a patriot, that he transfers money for defense and everything in that vein. And he’s not the only one. Others also speak out, because they understand that everything is over for them in Donbass. If there was anything left until now, everything will now be taken away. There is also a risk of losing assets in the other liberated territories. But there is little choice here: if you associate yourself with fascists, you have painted yourself in these colors. Now don’t be surprised at the consequences. We still have some property of Ukrainian oligarchs in Crimea, not fully taken away. Now, in response to the nationalization of Russian property in Ukraine, they may well take everything away. This public is unlikely to cooperate with Russia in any way. And that’s a good thing. These bloodsuckers must be unhooked from both Donbass and Russia, and as soon as possible.
- Where are the former Ukrainian presidents? Six months ago Kravchuk posed with a Goering double-barrel and said that he would shoot “Moskals.”
- They’re alive and they’re performing, too. Both Kravchuk and Kuchma say what mega patriots they are. But this is all the barking of the powerless. We always knew perfectly well that they hate us. Territorially some of them are now entrenched in Western Ukraine, some are already in Europe. It does not matter, because they cannot say anything new. They repeat the same thing, just now there is more hysteria and more cursing. I think there is no point in paying attention to them. It’s historical trash.
- What sentiments reign in the Ukrainian diaspora in Russia? Has anyone from its milieu gone to fight against the nationalists in the current operation of the Russian Federation?
- There are different sentiments. Someone opposes the military operation, comes out to rallies. At the same time, a huge number of people fled to Russia after the Maidan revolution and the civil war unleashed in Ukraine. This is a mass of political immigrants, intellectuals, and people who have not accepted the rabid nationalism and terror against dissenters. These people enthusiastically accept the Russian operation in the hope that their country will become normal and some will even be able to return to their home, where they haven’t been for many years. Now, if that person comes back, they might just get killed. If we look at the sociology of support for Russia’s power operation among its citizens, its level is quite high. According to various estimates, it’s not less than 70 percent. I think that among the Ukrainian diaspora in Russia, the level of support is about the same because it was primarily Russian sympathizers who fled Ukraine, not Westerners.
- And how do you feel about terrorist threats from Ukraine?
- Russia has more than ample experience with such public in the Caucasus and Syria. With the end of active hostilities in the liberated territories, there will still be a counter-terrorist operation to destroy the remaining misfits and neo-Nazi gangs there. It will be handled with adjustments for local features and in the same way as in the Caucasus, Syria, and the interior of Russia, where they identify and eliminate cells of radical Islamists from among the migrants and not only. It’s a long, but understandable process. In the end, they will come to an agreement with someone, and the intransigent will be put in the ground.
- Putin gave the order to strengthen the western direction in connection with the build-up of NATO forces near our borders. What exactly will this buildup consist of?
- A direct war between NATO and the us is unlikely because it would almost immediately become nuclear. Russia now needs to solve the Ukrainian issue, but in parallel, our western borders are already being strengthened. There will be a troop build-up in Kaliningrad and a reinforcement of troops in Belarus. The issue of supplies of new equipment to Belarus has been resolved. Accordingly, we will have more troops and equipment in the west. The new iron curtain is being formed actively, and there will be troops on both sides of it. Only before it was on the territory of Germany, but now it will be on the borders of Belarus, Russia, and Ukraine.
- And what about Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua? Are we going to build up and resist the adversaries, if such a war of nerves is going on?
- Well, while the NATOs are not deploying missiles in Eastern Europe, we are not deploying anything in Latin America either. There are such options. Venezuela and Cuba are potential deployment areas for such weapons. This is a trump card in our hands, and no one will just throw it away now. It’s being held in reserve.
- Won’t the sanctions derail our weapons programs?
- I think there will be some technical problems, but in recent years our industry has become more focused on domestic and, shall we say, non-Western suppliers. There are many roundabout maneuvers. Iran, for example, managed to develop new ballistic missiles and one of the most advanced UAV programs in the world under the most severe sanctions. And Russia has many more such capabilities than Iran. That is why these problems are mostly solvable.
“In terms of PR, Kadyrov does a lot. It helps to put information pressure on the Kiev regime.
- Recently, the media and Telegram channels reported on the explosion of the Drama Theater in Mariupol. Initially, they tried to present it as a consequence of a Russian air bombing, even though thousands of civilians were hiding in the theater, and fortunately, they survived. Wasn’t that also an attempt to create an information bomb on the deaths of innocent people?
- That bomb, shall we say, did not explode in full force from the fact that there were many warnings published as early as four days before this provocation. There are testimonies from people who were there. It was reported that the people in the bomb shelter were all alive. Now they are going to interrogate prisoners about the organization of provocations. I think that in a week or so there will be video footage of the detainees and witnesses.
At the moment, fighting is already going on in the city blocks of Mariupol. It is unclear how much strength the nationalists have left, but gradually the city is being mopped up. The day before, 30,000 people were already able to get out of the city limits. Again, this is an indicator that the nationalists do not fully control Mariupol, and people are fleeing from there in the direction of the Russian border.
- Aren’t we being too polite? I understand that we are sparing the civilian population, but it makes it difficult for us to advance.
- That’s right, we pay an extra price, including military lives, to save civilians. Again, this shows that the goal of the operation is not a war with the Ukrainian people, but a war with Ukrainian Nazism. We are separating Ukrainian Nazism from the Ukrainian people. And this is part of the fight for the minds of the people. In this connection, we may recall that when Soviet troops entered German territory, Stalin gave an order not to inflict violence on peaceful civilians under the threat of the death penalty. The slogan “Kill the German!”, which was necessary during the hard years of the war, ceased to be relevant when we had already chased the Nazis off our land and entered German territory. In this respect, the position of Putin and the military leadership in principle copies the approaches that Stalin used with regard to the civilian population of Germany. That is, not to allow rape, looting, and looting in any case. And we see that there are simply no reports of the Russian army killing civilians, well, except for the fake Ukrainian telegram channels. We are willing to pay the extra price of not waging war like butchers. We don’t go as conquerors, we go as people who liberate Ukraine from Nazism.
- By the way, why do you think it was necessary for Ramzan Kadyrov to come to Ukraine directly to the war zone?
- To support his troops at the front, showing that he was not afraid to come and meet with his people. At the same time, this shows that Ukraine is now in a super-tense situation, since even Ramzan Kadyrov, who cannot be called an inconspicuous figure, can go and visit Ukraine and appear somewhere near Kiev and simultaneously poke fun at the Ukrainian leadership. He shows himself: “look, here I am – I was not afraid and came to you near Kiev. I am already there. You are not threatening me somewhere, but I have already come to you and am standing at your doorstep. Again, this is an element of information warfare. In terms of PR, of course, Kadyrov is doing a lot there. He sort of capitalizes himself in the media, and at the same time helps to put pressure on the Kiev regime.
- So we have an international side that fights on our side: Chechens, Russians, Tatars,”combat Buryats”, but they have nationalists on their side. It’s the international against the national!
- Yes, and the Buryats are fighting there. As for the Chechen units, they fight together with the general army units and solve common problems. This helps (at least for a while) to relieve national tensions because Russians and Chechens shed blood together. Ossetians, Armenians, and representatives of other nations go to Ukraine. From the point of view of the international factor, this is quite an important point.
- And what about the foreign legion of Ukraine? It has disintegrated, I take it?
- It suffered serious losses after the precision strike at the Yavoriv test site. Now their tactics are being restructured: mercenaries will no longer be gathered in such crowds and concentrated in one place. Of course, it is a great achievement of Russian intelligence, which has identified such a cluster. The battalion of mercenaries was taken out of action almost immediately. While the composition of the so-called “Foreign Legion of Ukraine” is either just mercenaries fighting for money or various ultra-rightists. Plus a certain percentage of ordinary combat veterans. But now their militant fervor has diminished.
*** Who is Boris Rozhin?
Boris Aleksandrovich Rozhin is a military expert, a Sevastopol blogger, and a popular LiveJournal contributor. Known on the Internet as Colonel Cassad.
He was born July 14, 1981, in Sevastopol.
Graduated from humanitarian-technical lyceum (history, physics) and the South-Ukrainian State Pedagogical University. Ushinsky (SF).
On the platform of “Livejournal” (LiveJournal) on March 28, 2009, he started a blog “Colonel Cassad Rupor Totalitarian Propaganda” (https://colonelcassad.livejournal.com/).
In 2014, the Colonel Cassad Rupor of Totalitarian Propaganda blog ranked second in the Livejournal rankings in terms of views.
Since 2014, Rozhin has headed the editorial board of the “Voice of Sevastopol” information and analytical center.
Multiple champions of Sevastopol in chess.
The owner of a huge library (several thousand books). His grandmother, who took him on excursions to the museum of the Black Sea Fleet, began to collect the library.
Vadim Bondar, Valery Beresnev.
Source: Russian News Now