June 24th 2023 – Russia’s longest day…

Fun in the Belarussian sun 

Among so many cheap thrills, what will be the next role of the main actor in The Longest Day (and even before)? And does it matter? 

Chinese scholars are fond of reminding us that during China’s periods of turmoil – for instance, at the end of the Han and Tang dynasties – the reason was always warlords not following orders from the Emperor.  

The Ottoman Empire’s Janissaries – their Wagner at the time – were meant to protect the Sultan and fight his wars. They ended up deciding who could be Sultan – as much as Roman Empire legionaries ended up deciding who would be Emperor. 

Chinese advice is always prescient: Beware of how you use your soldiers. Make sure they believe in what they’re fighting for. Otherwise, they’ll turn around to bite you.

And that leads us to Prighozin once again changing his story (he’s a specialist on the matter).  

He’s now saying that June 23-24 was just a mere “demonstration” to express his discontent. The main objective was to prove the superiority of Wagner over the Russian Army. 

Well, everybody knew about that: Wagner soldiers have been in combat day in, day out for over 10 years now in Libya, Syria, the Central African Republic, and Ukraine.

And that’s why he could boast that “Wagner advanced for 700 km without meeting any resistance. If Russia had asked them to be in charge of the war from the beginning, that would have been over by the night of February 24, 2022.”

Prighozin is also alluding to a deal with Belarus – laying extra fog of war around a possible transfer of Wagner under Belarus jurisdiction. NATO is already terrified in advance. Expect more ballooning military budgets – to be imposed at the Vilnius summit next month. 

Camps to accommodate at least 8,000 Wagner fighters are already being built in Belarus, in the Mogilev region – according to “Vyorstka” (“Layout”). 

The real story behind it is that Belarus, for quite a while, has been expecting a possible attack from rabid Poland. In parallel, as much as sending NATO into extra freakout mode, Moscow could be contemplating the opening of a new front between Lviv and Kiev.  

Wagner in Belarus makes total sense. The Belarussian Army is not exactly strong. Wagner secures Russia’s western front. That will raise major hell on NATO – even figuratively, and force them to spend even more astronomical sums. And Wagner can merrily use airports in Belarus to pursue its – rebranded – activities in West Asia and Africa.  

Everything that happened since The Longest Day is part of a new dramatic plot twist in a running series – way more gripping than whatever Netflix could offer. 

Yet what the majority of Russian public opinion really seems to expect is not another farcical Ride of the Valkyrie. They expect a serious draining of the Soviet-style bureaucratic swamp, and a real commitment to get this “almost war” to its logical conclusion as quickly as possible.     

The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of The Cradle.

2 Responses to “June 24th 2023 – Russia’s longest day…”

  1. Tapestry says:

    Politics is the art of the possible. Prigozhin has shown some talent in it, and is greatly underestimated by western commentators who see Russia with Republican or Democrat eyes. Prigozhin knows that there is more going on with traitors running Moscow, and he’s shown that not all Russians will tolerate losing a war to please a bunch of bankers and their stooges. The bankers are long accustomed to deciding who wins and who loses by either supplying or cutting off supply, to one side or another. Prigozhin took Bakhmut despite being cut off by capturing enough arms to keep advancing. He has never targeted Putin who no doubt plays a double game to ensure his political survival. The CIA fears the nationalists and is continually murdering them as the war progresses. Russian nationalism will not so easily die.