Are peace negotiations the right way to go for Russia?

Moscow Will Probably Begin Formal Surrender Negotiations By the End of the Yearroloslavskiy.substack.com

Should Russia Surrender Already?

Spoiler: No.

15 MAR 2023

The war is not going well for anyone except for the people making money off of it.

Ukraine as a political project, is doing quite well though. All of their political objectives are in the process of being fulfilled even though this entails extreme suffering for the Slavs of Ukraine. Russians as a people aren’t bearing the same extreme costs, but Russia as a political project is in dire straits.

Bear these distinction in mind as we continue our discussion.

States/countries/nations are usually conceptualized as basically large people. Just like a person pursues his rational self-interests (in Liberal theory anyways) so too do states pursue their interests on the greater political chessboard. The only problem is that this is a very inaccurate view of what states really are. We do not live in an era of enlightened monarchs who embodied the state, have the final say in state policy and who conceived of themselves as literally simply being the state.

But we live in an era of weak, largely ceremonial heads of state whose job appears to essentially be relegated to mediating internal political conflict within the state. So, to speak of a “state’s interests” is largely an outdated concept. That is not to say that states do not have “natural” interests that are informed by geography, history, demography and so on. But, they rarely ever act rationally in the pursuit of these interests, because of warring internal agendas.

So, for example, the US invaded Iraq and tried to topple the governments of the middle-east because of a small, ethnically cohesive lobby forcing their agenda on the state and using the American people as their tools in pursuit of the Greater Zion agenda. In contrast, a hypothetical American state ruled by American elites and with an American absolute monarch at its head might be inclined to secure its southern border first before thinking about spending trillions of dollars on desert wars.

Russia’s internal situation is not as compromised as America’s, but it is undeniable that there are many warring agendas within the country, and, most importantly, within the ruling class.

Consider: Why were the bridges and key infrastructure in Ukraine not destroyed in the beginning of the conflict or when it became clear that no Russian advance to secure them was possible?

If you see the Russian state as a rational, self-interested monolith, you are left either scratching your head or concocting outlandish 5D theories for why this is unnecessary to explain away this very puzzling behavior. But, if you conceptualize, say, the military and the oligarchy as separate states within states with their own conflicting objectives, a whole range of possible answers suddenly appear as possible answers to the conundrum. On this particular topic, the most convincing explanation that I heard, after months of not being willing emotionally to even consider it, is that Russia’s oligarchs stand to lose quite a bit if the supply of raw materials that they send across Ukraine, to NATO, is interrupted.

Now, if we allow ourselves to consider state policy in this way, and if this is explanation is true, then we also gain valuable insight into the relative political power balance within Russia. In short: the military faction is weak, politically speaking, compared to the oligarch faction. In fact, they appear to be almost totally subordinate to this faction, or, at the very least, subordinate to someone who values the interests of the oligarchs over theirs.

With this shift in thinking, we can arrive at an interesting answer to the question posed in the title of this article. Just a second though before we do.

First, let us state what the major problem facing Russia is.

Internally, clearly, there is a powerful faction of influential people that is sabotaging the war effort. They have a lot of economic and, as demonstrated by the decisions that Russia has already made, or is failing to make now, they have a lot of political pull as well.

In better circumstances, like during a period of peace, this would still be a problem, but it could be explained away by citing Liberal ideology to justify continued rule by the oligarchs. Naive peasants, eager as always to blindly believe in the religious, political, economic and social voodoo theories peddled by the ideological priesthood of their day, are also often easily convinced to support an inherently predatory system that actively works against their own best interests.

But I digress.

With all this in mind, we ought to weigh our decisions based on what helps us solve our principle problem.

Seeing as Russia is now facing an existential crisis in the form of a war on its borders that threatens to spill over into Russia proper, and, possibly have spillover ramifications that could topple the state, it seems just and proper to me and many other far more popular personalities in Russia to prioritize Russia’s safety concerns over the interests of the money-grubbers. Yes, even if it violates the sacred tenants of the Liberalism religion. If the oligarchs are indeed the most pressing internal problem that Russia faces that prevents her from fighting with all her might against her enemies, then these oligarchs need to be dealt with one way or another.

This ties into the question I raised in the beginning of the article that we are now equipped to discuss: should Russia simply throw in the towel at this point?

They aren’t advancing and a hostile anti-Russian “Israel” on their borders is here to stay for the foreseeable future. Why bother continuing to fight then if the strategic objectives of Russia are no longer feasible?

Well, even though the notwar is being fought badly, and people are dying, and Russia’s coffers are bleeding, we ought to consider where our opponents stand on the issue. Russia’s oligarchs want the war to end so that they get to go back to the way things were. There is nothing that they want more than to end the war and quickly.

This should give us pause.

When the SMO started, I was very eager to see long-needed changes to the ruling system in Russia. Now the state would have to clean house and start becoming a serious country again, I thought. But I underestimated just how entrenched the current system was. Things started promisingly though – the Permanent Liberal Opposition fled the country. Oligarchs, media personalities, journalists and other assorted scum ran for the border.

This, however, was only a half-way fix to the problem.

The more entrenched and only marginally less radical Russophobic elites stayed in the country and what’s worse, at their posts. As of this moment, literally nothing has been done to do away with this faction or curtail their influence. The problems that Russia is facing now cannot be blamed (at least directly) on the influence of a malign 5th column working to undermine the government from within the country, but from without the state. The people who are failing Russia now in her time of needed are deeply embedded in the Russian state. And it seems that the SMO was not enough to shake them out.

Now, the assumption that I was working under was that the more pressure brought to bear on Russia from NATO, the more Russia would have to cut back on luxuries that it could no longer afford like tolerating chronic and systemic graft and wayward elites glad-handing with the enemy on the sidelines.

I believe I was at least partially correct, after all, the Liberal Opposition, which was tolerated for three decades, has now collapsed. Perhaps, then, it is only a matter of time and even more pressure being put to bear on Russia before the necessary changes will be made within the Liberal Occupation Government?

Even Strelkov, the most ardent pessimist of the pro-Russia cause, does not believe that Putin is delusional enough to not realize that he has essentially been singled out to be the new sacrificial goat of the 21st century. He, like Milosevic and other toppled leaders before him, largely played ball with the West for most of his career, it’s true. At this point though, it is hard to believe that Putin hasn’t noticed what happened to his previous Amalek predecessors. With the sole exception of Assad, they are all dead. And for him to survive, Russia has to survive. Also, there is nowhere for him and his to run away and hide. Putin’s back, like no one else’s in Russia, is pressed firmly against the wall.

It pains me to see this conflict prolonged and to see thousands of dead slavic peasants that litter the muddy trenches and moonscape fields of Ukraine, or the bodies of proles littering Donbass’ urban hellscapes. But millions died in the unjust peace of the 90s and 00s that left the FSU in chopped pieces. It is an objective, observable fact still fresh in many people’s memories that an unjust peace can be far, far worse than a painful war.

Furthermore, a peace would also allow Ukraine to further integrate with NATO, train up a new army, get time to receive more weapons for the next phase of the conflict. And any peace treaty would not be worth the paper it was written on. We will know that people with power in Russia are mobilizing to end the war when the Russian media starts allowing moralizing and the humanitarian pleas to begin in earnest.

Remember: Everything that the mass media does, anywhere, is done at the beck and call of someone with money and power.

Of all the options, continuing to fight the war strikes me as the least bad of all of them. I would only add a caveat that Russia ought to improve the way that it is fighting the war. However, that would require the internal political situation to change. As far as I can tell, the only thing that can shake things up and force the government to get more serious is a serious outburst of patriotic discontent. The Kremlin needs to start feeling the heat from the peasants. But, seeing as the patriotic Russian masses are largely unorganized and not within metro distance of the Moscow city center (also all political rallies have now been banned, similar to Ukraine) this is never going to happen. Saker and his fans can rest easy, not even Mr. 6th Column himself, Igor Strelkov Girkin, is calling for direct political action. No one is.

Discontent is indeed starting to bubble up though.

That is why the MoD continues to release fake figures of Russia’s minimal casualties in the notwar so far. If Russians continue to believe that less than 20k from their own side have died, then the war can continue at its glacial pace for a while. Should information leak out that, at best, Russia is only killing at 2x the rate that they themselves are losing men, it will become much harder to continue this WWI style war of attrition. In theory anyways.

This war needs to be fought well and the battles that men asked to lay their lives down for ought to be significant. For that to occur, Russia needs larger armies and more weapons and ammo. For that to occur, key sectors of the economy have to be nationalized and repurposed for war. For that to occur, the oligarch hold over the Kremlin has to be shaken. For that to occur, pressure has to be brought to bear from somewhere. And for that to have any chance, however fleeting, of occurring, the war has to continue.

The only other option appears to be a Versailles-style surrender and peace and the disintegration of Russia into warring statelets run by feudal baron-warlords. Is that really more moral? More humanitarian? Another few decades of FSU border skirmishes and economic predation by international capital?

No, we can only hope that something happens to change the internal political situation within Russia in our favor and quickly.

But I know what you are thinking: China.

Well, despite what some optimists will tell you, Russia has not received any help from China so far. In fact, China banned the sale of a popular series of drones to Russia because the West told them to. The Chinese are not assembling Russian tanks in factories. Despite Russia’s severe shortages of high-tech parts, China is not providing them which means Russia’s ability to use their high-tech missiles is drastically curtailed. Not that they have even been using their new tech in this war. This war has been fought mostly with Soviet-era weapons from its beginning right up to now. China is not sending supplies and they are not giving the Russians money. The only way that China is “helping Russia” is by continuing to buy discounted Russian raw resources. Furthermore, China, just like Russia, has a large oligarch caste that is very keen on continuing its profitable relationship with the West. Iran, in contrast, with its far more consolidated anti-Western government, is willing to lend a helping hand. Until China actually does something tangible to help its supposed ally, Russia, they remain, at best, neutral in this whole conflict.

The position of this blog has always been that:

  • Russia needs internal reforms first and foremost to be better able to resist the West.
  • A war is worth the price of effecting said reforms
  • Russia’s only real allies are its army and navy (and Iran, on occasion)

The rest is just fanciful 5D thinking. Like the recent “news” that Putin personally executed Sputnik V’s creators. Or that a hypersonic missile knocked out the entirety of NATO’s command in Western Ukraine. You’ve seen those two stories making their rounds on social media at this point, I would imagine. Just as fake as China’s steadfast support for Russia’s war effort, unfortunately. Or the idea that Russia is fighting this war seriously.

The most realistic scenario going forward is that both NATO and the Kremlin continue to commit enough resources to keep the war going, but try their best to draw it out into a frozen quagmire. For the Kremlin, this keeps Ukraine out of NATO, and keeps the power status quo at home. This is the compromise route – the middle way between surrender and actually going for the win. And for NATO, they get to keep killing Slavs and making a killing looting their own taxpayers and the Ukraine.

Win, win.

Let’s just say this: once the bridges in Ukraine are blown, then, and only then, are we allowed a ray of optimism to penetrate our pessimism and revise our theories on the direction that this war is going. Either that or a Chinese invasion of Taiwan.

But I’m not holding my breath for either.

Should Russia Surrender Already? – by Rolo Slavskiy (substack.com)

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