Shoigu’s New Anti-PMC Declaration Is Yet Another Deliberate Sabotage of the Not-War Effort

What will happen to all these PMCs in Russia

13 JUN 2023

Look, I am “biased” against the MoD. By that I mean that I have been thoroughly disappointed by their performance and adjusted my opinion of them accordingly. Snakes on Twitter use this to accuse me of treason and disrespect of Russian soldiers. This is such a standard Kremlin and approved state media talking point that I am doubling down on my assumption that someone is literally getting paid to repeat these narratives. Probably by the West, even. Because all such narratives do is cover up treachery and failure and allow the status quo to remain in place in Russia, which only benefits the West.

Using the “who benefits” method the conclusion logically follows.

Now, biases aside, the proliferation of PMCs and the conflict around them within Russia is indeed a worrying trend. As I reported yesterday, Shoigu has delivered an ultimatum to all PMCs demanding their subordination to the MoD … or else.

This photo does not appear to be photoshopped.

Prigozhin has dug his heels in so far, rejected a governorship/ministry bribe and continues to resist. As usual, Prigozhin stole the spotlight, but there are actually many PMCs working in Russia and the MoD proclamation applies to all of them as well. Needless to say, they are not happy about the prospect of being subordinated to a Tuvan don.

Katyusha reports:

The Ministry of Defense, for an unknown reason, and against the backdrop of attempts at a Ukrainian breakthrough and the battle in the south of the DPR, announced an order to transfer all volunteer formations under its control. All fighters are required to sign a contract with the ministry before July 1. Moreover, it is not at all clear under what conditions – no one has seen the text of the order. But there are already a lot of rumors going around – the volunteers do not understand with whom they will have to fight side by side. Who will command them and where they will be transferred. “Wagner” has already staged a “revolt”, declaring their refusal to sign papers with the department, the rest do not rebel yet, but do not know if they are ready to go along under the wing of Shoigu and Gerasimov. Why the Defense Ministry had to start a “war” with the volunteers and how they will force them so that they do not leave and bring down the front is still completely incomprehensible.

The news that the Minister of Defense unexpectedly, after a year and a half of the SMO, signed an order instructing the volunteer detachments, which have already counted more than forty, to sign contracts with the Ministry of Defense by July 1, blew up the Russian network. Moreover, it came at the most inopportune moment, when the enemy reached the “finish line” of his offensive and a uniform meat grinder was going on in the southern direction.

Trying to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, it looks like. A classic MoD maneuver.

The actual text:

” In order to increase the effectiveness of the use of volunteer formations as part of the Joint Group of Forces, the Minister of Defense of the Russian Federation signed an order that determines the procedure for organizing the service activities of volunteer organizations.

 The document defines the signing by volunteer detachments of contracts with the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation before July 1 of this year, this will give volunteer formations the necessary legal status, create common approaches to organizing comprehensive support and fulfilling their tasks.

“The order gives the right to all volunteers to enter into individual contracts with either volunteer detachments or with the Ministry of Defense as contracted military personnel. The conclusion by citizens of contracts with the state is, first of all, the extension of social protection and support measures established by the state to them, as well as to their family members.

Thus, the order expands the possibilities for recruiting units of the Joint Group of Forces with both military personnel and volunteers, the joint use of military units and volunteer organizations,” said the Deputy Minister of Defense of the Russian Federation.

He added that “these measures will increase the combat capabilities and effectiveness of the use of the Armed Forces and volunteer detachments in them ,” the official TV channel of the Russian Defense Ministry reports.

Nothing but fluff as expected.

Tsiganov again:

True, apart from this statement, nothing more is known. At the moment, the text of the order is not available on the official website of the Ministry of Defense and elsewhere. However, for a military department with a high degree of secrecy, this is normal.

What is abnormal here is that having said “A”, they again forgot about “B” and did not give any further explanations regarding the statement of the Deputy Minister of Defense of the Russian Federation Nikolai Pankov. As a result, it is not clear what is in the text of this order, who falls under it, under what conditions and whether it exists at all in nature or only at the stage of preparation and discussion. And worst of all, this statement was made during the enemy offensive in the south and the shelling of the Belgorod region, when a considerable share of the front is supported by volunteers and the last thing they need to do now is discuss innovations and ask themselves the question: “What will happen tomorrow.” And this question, taking into account the discussions that have already erupted and the refusal to sign agreements on the part of Wagner, one way or another, will appear.

Yes, militias are organizing to defend Crimea and Belgorod despite the best efforts of the MoD to prevent this effort. We’ve covered this before, remember? This occured because the MoD largely abandoned the defense of Belgorod, even though we have known since January when Arestovich began spilling the about Ukraine’s plans to invade Belgorod ahead of negotiations with Russia.

By threatening these fighters with subordinating to Shoigu, they are undermining recruitment and morale.

No one wants to sign up to fight for a PMC or militia only to learn that they will then have to become cannon fodder for Shoigu. Why indeed did the MoD decide to take such an unpopular and controversial unilateral measure at such a critical moment in the Not-War?

However, knowing how “reverently” the Ministry of Defense treats information policy, we were the least surprised by this. It is useless to look for malicious intent here, just no one thought about how the fighters of volunteer units would react, and we have 40 of them, like an entire order. Although it would be worth it. It would be worth thinking about specific people and the motivations for why they went into volunteer units instead, and did not sign a contract with the Ministry.

The first to break, as expected, was Wagner – their conflict with the leadership of the Ministry of Defense has been going on for more than a month with varying success, and after such an approach, all well-known PMC commanders unanimously reposted a post with Prigozhin’s caustic remarks on the internet. Prigozhin himself confirmed that his people are not going to sign any contracts with the current leadership of the department.

Of course, the loss of Wagner’s stormtroopers itself, although not critical, is a serious loss, especially if the Russian leadership intends to go on the attack after repulsing the current offensive. But even worse is the situation with an attempt to put everyone in general “on a contract.” There is a lack of understanding by the leadership of the Ministry of people’s motives.

What will happen if by July 1 they demand that the Cossacks from the Don brigade either sign or leave? The guys not only defended the Kherson direction for a long time, but also went there together with friends, under the command of people they know, who are trusted, and an attempt to “bend” them can lead to, albeit not loud, but painful consequences. Who will plug holes in the Kherson direction if the Cossacks leave?

That appears to be the goal of this new MoD policy: to encourage desertion from the Not-War effort.

The situation is similar with all the others, where long-solid teams fought under the command of their comrades. Are the generals ready not just to issue orders left and right, but to take into account the opinions of these commanders? This is what worries the fighters now – who will send them into battle and with whom. And the wording “these measures will increase the combat capabilities and effectiveness of the use of the Armed Forces and in their composition of volunteer detachments ” rather strains the incredulity of the men.

No one can say what the Ministry of Defense will do when they refuse to sign. They will not be able to force these men at gunpoint – they themselves are armed. Persuade and explain? This is definitely not what our defense department is good at.

Tsiganov is a funny writer. I hope I conveyed some of his sarcasm and veiled mockery of the MoD with my quick and dirty translation.

Russia’s Elites Are Suffering From Extreme Cognitive Dissonance

19 MAY
Russia's Elites Are Suffering From Extreme Cognitive Dissonance

I had a nice call with Andrei Tsiganov, a journalist and popular conservative-patriot in Russia about 10 days ago. Tsiganov’s “Katyusha” news portal is a good source for alternative patriotic viewpoints from within Russia. They did heroic work during the insane COVID lockdowns and forced vaccination rollout in Russia trying to resist these WEF-inspired …

Delusional English-language 5D soothsayers will have you believe that Shoigu is loved and respected by the fighting men of Russia. Again, this is probably because they are being paid to tell you such things. And if they are not, well, they ought to ask for money, because it is bizarre to be lying so shamelessly and NOT be getting paid for it.

The final relevant quote:

Separately, it should be said about the self-defense units or the people’s militia in the front-line regions. The PMC “Konvoy” has already been created in Crimea. There are regiments in the Belgorod and Kursk regions. One of the most talked about news among their fighters is under what conditions will they be offered contracts? Will it not turn out that they will be sent to the LDNR, leaving their families without cover and protection? To whom will they become subordinate?

Yes, that is what happened to the various Donbass militias. They were sent to other areas of the fighting and used as cannon-fodder in many instances, leading to many video-appeals and warnings from the patriotic community to demand that the MoD knock it off. Several of the makers of the videos lambasting the MoD’s treatment of the Donbassians led to arrests … of the people making the videos, naturally.

Note: I am trying to find the semi-famous original video of a Donbass militia man chewing out a Russian officer for lack of supplies, poor treatment and bad leadership, but it is hard to find. The man was subsequently arrested. To my shame, his name eludes me, any help from my readers would be welcome in digging this story back up.

That is what happens when you don’t have a krisha and pick a fight with people in power. Take note.

And this is why these PMCs or, basically gloried militias don’t want to be put under the command of Shoigu and Gerasimov. They know that their lifespans will shorten drastically if this is allowed.

In general, regarding this order, there are much more questions than answers. More precisely, there are no answers at all. It is clear that sooner or later it is necessary to introduce unity of command. But the trouble is that at the moment, especially with the confrontation between the leadership of the Moscow Region and the Wagners, and, to put it mildly, the top of the ministry, which is not popular among volunteers, such a direct approach at the level of a blow with a crowbar may not increase efficiency, but add problems that the army is not enough.

Yes, it will generate a sense of solidarity around Prigozhin and give a second wind to his mutiny.

The MoD just keeps pushing Wagner and pushing them.

It is as if they want them and others to rebel.

More importantly, the Ministry of Defense started their “reforms” at the decisive moment of the war, when the last thing needed was to find out who was more important, cooler and the authority. But now is a time where we have t endure together and stand all together. And then later it’s worth thinking about how the army will look like in the future and what roles will be in its structures for volunteer detachments and territorial defense fighters. And will they exist?

I agree with Tsiganov. This is a bad time to stoke in-fighting by demanding that all these PMCs and militias bend the knee. It only makes sense to do something like that if the war is over. Does this mean that the MoD is under the impression that negotiations will begin soon? Are they afraid that the situation within Russia will become more volatile now with the existence of all these armed groups???

The PMC saga indicates an erosion in the power of the state and, if it the situation is not controlled, it will lead to an inexorable slide into warlordism.

The Worst Case Scenario

15 APR
The Worst Case Scenario

I wanted to start this post by linking to an interview that I watched recently of a very prominent doomer blogger on the Russian side named Andrei Morozov.

There are so many PMCs operating in Russia or for Russia now that I can’t even keep count. Usually, they work for individual oligarchs or for large companies. Also, the relationship of the Russian government to these PMCs is complex and ever-changing. Formally, according to Russian law, these PMCs are all illegal. But as everyone knows, the oligarchs operate above the law in Russia. Or rather, the law is only ever applied selectively on those who fall out of favor or who stand in the way of the ambitions of someone more powerful than them. Generally, in most countries, the law eventually becomes a cudgel in the hands of those with power against those without. The same can be said about morality as well, as I often like to remind my readers.

All this is to say that if the Russian government wanted to, they could suddenly remember that PMCs are illegal and that they routinely lambast the West for using mercenaries themselves. Naturally, this begs the question why they don’t.

Well, either they can’t or they feel that the rewards outweigh the risks.

The second possibility is probably closer to the truth. As I have written about before, the Russian Federation is a country attached to a business, not a country with businesses that work for it. The Kremlin has stated time and time again that they will not take any serious steps to moving the economy onto a war-footing. The most obvious reason for why they are so recalcitrant to do so is because a war economy would require some degree of nationalization. To allow such a measure to be taken would undermine the entire basis of the post-Soviet political and economic order that was started by Yeltsin and built upon by his political and ideological successor, Putin. The entire point of politics in the RF as we currently know it is to prevent a return of state control over key industries. The largest and most profitable resource and manufacturing monopolies are controlled by the loyal or somewhat loyal oligarchs who are represented by the United Russia political party and the Presidential Administration, the chinovniks, and pretty much everyone with any power.

So, when Putin launched his ill-fated expedition based on faulty intelligence provided to him by his closest allies and friends, he went to great pains to stress that this wasn’t a real war and that business would continue as usual at home. And he has largely kept his promise to the oligarchs who rule Russia and who support his government.

However, Russia quickly ran into serious problems and had to figure out ways to raise military capability. Instead of nationalizing big businesses, the Kremlin went to their oligarch friends and offered a compromise. They were asked to contribute to the Not-War effort in their own way. This led to the spread and proliferation of PMCs. Also, the process had already begun before the SMO. Russian oligarchs who wanted to get in. on the action in resource-rich Africa had already formed PMCs years ago. Shoigu’s deliberate gutting of the Russian army was merely building on the work of the predecessor minister, Serdyukov.

You see, when Putin put Serdyukov in charge of the military, he knew that he was putting in a Western-style businessman (and a crook) in charge.

And the idea was to copy the Americans and downsize the military with the goal of eventually incorporating for-profit mercenary outfits into the larger structure. The oligarchs stood a lot to gain by being able to wage war for a profit on the government’s dime. Also, it opened up the possibility of being able to do business in dangerous parts of the world that were off-limits like Africa. So, Serdukov and then Shoigu deliberately tried to “financialize” the military and we are simply seeing the results of this policy now.

Simple as.

I hope to be able to provide a far more detailed in-depth look at the world of PMCs in Russia in the coming days and weeks. Stay tuned


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