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39 questions about the war in Ukraine
From Russia's Angry Patriots Club. For your consideration.
Igor Strelkov’s Angry Patriots Club (КРП) has published a list of questions about Russia’s “special military operation” in Ukraine.
Most of their questions are highly pertinent; some of them are a bit superfluous; a few—in your correspondent’s humble opinion—are misguided and a bit silly.
But we decided to publish them all in hopes of starting a dialogue, and (this is really too hopeful) widening the abysmally narrow Overton Window that is asphyxiating “alternative media” coverage of this increasingly bizarre and precarious conflict.
As you read through these questions, keep in mind that many of them were being asked in the earliest weeks of the war by patriotic, pro-SMO voices in Russia.
We would also advise our readers not to dismiss the Angry Patriots Club as an irrelevant fringe group, even if you strongly disagree with them. The Russian government is not worried about Navalny supporters; it fears “turbo-patriots”— Russian officials have openly admitted it.
NOTE: This is not a perfect word-for-word translation (some of the questions were incurably convoluted so we had to rewrite them), but we did our best to honor the original meaning of each question. Also: Strelkov always puts Ukraine in “scare quotes” or prefaces it with “so-called”, to signify that he thinks Ukraine is not a separate country and is part of Russia. We removed all of this because it got way too repetitive and damaged the “flow” of the text. But, just so we aren’t accused of misrepresenting КРП’s position: they hold the belief that “the so-called Ukraine” is part of Russia.)
I. “Historical” questions:
1) In 2014, the power of the Ukrainian junta hung in the balance, and all of Novorossiya, looking at the Crimea, was waiting for Russia with hope. But the Kremlin initially refused to send peacekeeping forces to the Donbass, and then was the first in the world to recognize the legitimacy of Poroshenko’s election. As a result of the eight-year pause under the Minsk agreements, Ukrainians created a combat-ready army, suppressed the protest movement, brainwashed a significant part of the population, and by 2022 were able to resist the Russian Armed Forces on the battlefield. WHO is responsible for the strategically failed decisions, for which Russia is now paying with thousands of lives and tens of thousands of cripples? Who has suffered or should be punished for this cretinism and/or direct sabotage?
2) Why were outright swindlers put at the head of the People’s Republics of Donbass, who discredited the ideas of the Russian Spring by the very fact of their presence in power? How and in what way were the most famous heroes of 2014, commanders of the militia, physically eliminated? Who bore or will bear responsibility for the fact that instead of a “showcase of the Russian World” in the LDNR, for 8 years there was a swamp in which people lived much worse than in the Russian Federation and worse than in Ukraine?
3) How did it happen that the President of the Russian Federation (by his own personal admission) “was led by the nose by respected Kiev and dear Western partners” for eight years within the framework of the “Minsk agreements” and the “Normandy Format”? Where were the principled and professionally qualified advisers and officials who were responsible for warning the president about what was obvious to many outside observers who did not receive state pay? Have these officials been punished in any way, or at least suspended from further performance of their duties?
4) What was the role of a number of high-ranking Russian officials (former deputy prime minister and assistant to the president, Vladislav Surkov, for example) when DPR and LPR militias were unable to reach the borders of the Donbass republics in 2014, even as they were pursuing the already disorderly retreating Armed Forces of Ukraine? Why was the front “fixed” on the outskirts of Donetsk? Why was Mariupol, abandoned by the Ukrainian Armed Forces, not liberated? What role did the behind-the-scenes negotiations between Surkov (and other representatives of the Kremlin’s VIP officials) play in this with the Ukrainian oligarchs—in particular, with Rinat Akhmetov? Why, after the liberation of Debaltsevo in the spring of 2015, the hostilities were again “frozen” and the Armed Forces of Ukraine were given the chance to restore their newly lost combat capability?
5) Why for 8 years—while the Armed Forces of Ukraine were feverishly arming and preparing for a big war—the formations and units of the People’s Militia of the LDNR eked out a miserable existence, received extremely meager supplies and were armed with outdated weapons systems? Why did they practically not undergo normal combat training? Who was responsible for these issues in the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation, and who should be responsible for the criminal mismanagement of the combat capability of the People’s Militia Corps?
II. Issues of preparing the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation for combat operations (addressed to the Ministry of Defense, among others):
6) How did it happen that the “World’s Second [Largest/Strongest] Army”, which continuously won all the “tank biathlons” and rebuilt the chic “Patriot Park” with a huge cathedral, turned out to be at the start of hostilities:
without a sufficient satellite reconnaissance network;
almost without unmanned aircraft [drones], both reconnaissance and strike (which the enemy had in significantly superior numbers);
completely without guided bombs;
with an extremely insufficient number of artillery adjustment and anti-battery systems;
with outdated and unreliable systems of military encrypted communication at all levels?
7) How did it turn out that the plan for the Special Military Operation was built on the basis of data completely divorced from reality? How did it happen that [this plan was based on the] unpreparedness of the enemy’s armed forces for decisive resistance, and there was no information about the high level of combat training and even higher morale of [Ukraine’s] regular army? Why did authorities expect complete loyalty at best, and “neutrality” at worst, from the populations of the territories occupied during the SMO, while in reality the situation was exactly the opposite? Who misinformed the President in such a brazen, treacherous way? Who bears criminal responsibility for this, at least according to the laws of peacetime?
8) Why, in the political sphere, were the most outright swindlers and thieves, such as the scumbag [oligarch Viktor] Medvedchuk, chosen as the “favorites” who were to come to power in Ukraine after the victorious outcome of the SMO—people who were completely unpopular among the general population? Who selected these figures and on what basis? Was there a corruption component in this approach to personnel? Have the recommenders incurred any responsibility or will they bear it in the future?
9) What military-political goals—that can be communicated in an understandable way to the people of the Russian Federation and Ukraine—were pursued (and are being pursued) with the SMO? On what basis was the SMO started? What is its legal status? Why is this missing even after more than a year of hostilities?
10) How was the possibility of sanctions from the US and the EU not taken into account when preparing the SMO? How did it happen that over $300 billion in Russian foreign exchange reserves were blocked (in fact, confiscated) abroad? Who has incurred or will bear personal responsibility for this among the competent Russian officials?
11) Already in the first half of the war, it became clear that the domestic military industry (among other sectors) is critically dependent on the supply of components from abroad. Where did the “import substitution programs” loudly praised in the media go? Why are the people responsible for the failure of this program not held accountable?
12) Also, by the summer of 2022, a shortage of ammunition for artillery and some other types of weapons arose. And by the end of the year, the same problem arose with a wide range of military equipment most in demand on the front—from shells and artillery pieces and tanks—to means of communication of the most primitive level. The shortage of bulletproof vests, first aid kits, uniforms and equipment became “the talk of the town” almost from the very beginning of hostilities and became especially aggravated after the “under-mobilization” (I will write about it below). How did the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation, Rostec and other state-owned companies react to this shortage in order to correct the identified failures in time and provide the troops with the necessary weapons and equipment? At the moment, as things stand in the 14th month of the war, there is very little progress for the better, and if you subtract equipment that is donated by volunteers, the picture looks even more depressing. Who is responsible for this situation and what urgent measures are being taken to correct it?
13) Why at the beginning of hostilities (and still to this today!) weren’t the borders of the Russian Federation closed for citizens liable for military service? Why were hundreds of thousands of potential military personnel able to leave the territory of the Russian Federation without hindrance? And why were dozens of people with access to the most sensitive state secrets able to freely leave (in fact, flee) from the Russian Federation—including former members of the government and heads/VIP officials of state corporations? Who is responsible for this inaction?
14) How can one explain the ugliest absurdity, in which many thousands of professional military personnel of the RF Armed Forces and experienced PMC professional fighters “perform official tasks” in Syria, the Central African Republic, Mali, Burkina Faso, and so on, while freshly mobilized civilians, after minimal training, are sent to the front where they participate in heavy battles?
15) Why, in the vast majority, only Russians and representatives of other indigenous peoples of Russia are drafted into the armed forces, while hundreds of thousands of young and healthy “new citizens” from the countries of Central Asia and the Caucasus are completely spared from military service during the war and are engaged in laying tiles and trimming trees in metropolitan areas?
16) How did it happen that now, for the unauthorized abandonment of military units, the courts pass sentences on mobilized and volunteers, however, NOT ONE OF THE MANY THOUSANDS OF CONTRACTORS (including officers) are punished for desertion after refusing to perform their duties and take part in hostilities?
17) How to explain the situation in which the Russian Federation is at war, but at the same time continues to transport through the territory of Ukraine oil and gas for export to countries (such as Bulgaria) that then, after processing, supply Ukraine with 90% of the fuel it needs? Not to mention the fact that Ukraine regularly receives payments from Russian corporations for these deliveries?
18) What explains the “grain deals”, which (according to the Russian Foreign Minister) “do not benefit our country at all, since our ‘partners’ haven’t fulfilled their part of the agreement”? Considering that as a result of compliance with the terms of the agreements on our part, Ukraine not only receives large incomes from the export of its grain and other cargoes, but also receives a significant part of the supply (the same fuels and lubricants and much more) through the unblocked Odessa seaport?
19) Why hasn’t the representative of the President of the Russian Federation, Roman Abramovich (a subject of Great Britain, which in itself is a scandal), been condemned for showering Azovites with gifts and delicacies after they were released in the Mariupol prisoner exchange? And why were these criminals, who carried out massacres, torture and other serious crimes against citizens of the Russian Federation, released to begin with?
20) What caused the flagship of the Black Sea Fleet, the Moskva, to sink? And if it was sunk by the enemy, how did it end up in the reach of enemy anti-ship systems without escort and cover, as well as with non-working air defense systems, with a crew staffed by largely inexperienced recruits and conscripts? Who is responsible for this and how did it happen?
21) What caused the “de-escalation” with the hasty withdrawal of troops from the Kiev, Chernihiv, Sumy, and Nikolaev regions, and what did the officials who proposed this solution as optimal expect as a result of it? How did it happen that our troops at the beginning of the SMO carried out a deep offensive, without bothering to protect communications that were subjected to enemy attacks? Who is responsible for this or will be held accountable?
22) On which targets did we expend hundreds of ground, sea, and air-based cruise missiles, fired in huge quantities at the start of the SMO, if as a result, Ukraine’s military and political decision centers, as well as communications infrastructure, remain intact?
23) Why, by the end of the 14th month of the war, the enemy’s communications in the near and deep rear have not only not been destroyed, but even somehow not violated? Why are the vast majority of strategic bridges and tunnels intact and not even attacked, through which the main flow of supplies of Western weapons and equipment enter Ukraine? How to explain the “complete untouchability” of Zelensky and top Kiev officials, including those who regularly call for the complete destruction of the Russian Federation?
24) How did the series of missile strikes on the energy facilities of Ukraine end, why were all the strikes on secondary targets and ended before the enemy's energy system was critically damaged? Why was Ukraine able to quickly and completely restore energy supply so much that it again started supplying electricity to neighboring states?
25) When will the President of the Russian Federation deign to assume the functions of the Supreme Commander-in-Chief, provided for by the constitution, and does he plan to do so at all? Who has been leading the fighting for more than a year and is responsible for the conduct of the war? And, in general, is there at least some responsibility for the military decisions taken?
26) Who was punished for the “Successful Regrouping” from the Kharkov region, which ended with the surrender to the enemy with and without a fight of Izyum, Kupyansk, Balakleya, Volchansk, Cossack Lopan, a number of other cities and many settlements? As a result, Belgorod, Kursk and Bryansk regions of the Russian Federation ended up on the front line and feel all the “charms” of the status of front-line regions? Who is specifically to blame for the fact that the offensive of the Armed Forces of Ukraine was “missed”, and that the retreat from the bridgehead south of Izyum turned into a hasty unorganized flight, as a result of which Russian troops suffered huge losses in equipment and ammunition?
27) On what basis was “under-mobilization” carried out if “we do not have a war”, and the so-called SMO does not have any legal status? On what basis, in this case, are citizens who have left their military units brought to criminal responsibility?
28) Why is “mobilization” reserved exclusively for reservists in the structures of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation, and all other necessary components of normal mobilization (mobilization of security and law enforcement agencies, mobilization of industry, mobilization of transport, etc.) are not carried out at all? Who determined the criteria for mobilization, which literally everyone who does not want to go to war could avoid? What mechanisms are provided (in the absence of the legal status of the SMO) for draft evaders into the armed forces?
29) Who exactly made the politically “Difficult Decision” to leave the heavily fortified and successfully held Kherson bridgehead without a fight? On what basis was the territory of the Russian Federation surrendered to the enemy? Why have we not heard a single word in any state media that this territory will certainly be liberated? And vice versa: Why are direct calls to "freeze the conflict at existing positions" (Prigozhin, for example) not being pursued by the law enforcement agencies of the Russian Federation as a call to violate the territorial integrity of the Russian Federation? Kherson is now “no longer” Russia? Who decided so? On what basis?
31) Why is the “concern for the preservation of the Russian people and the Russian language” declared by the president and top officials of the Russian Federation not applied to Ukraine, where the indigenous Russian population has been subjected to continuous cultural genocide for many years (and especially now)? [We’re not really sure what КРП is getting at here, as this concern has definitely been voiced before — Edward]
32) What is the reason for and what is the basis of the “strategy” of the RF Armed Forces, in which offensive operations are carried out almost exclusively on the territory of Donbass and result in months-long bloody assaults on the enemy’s most fortified lines, while even the capture of these lines (which has not been achieved in months of fighting) does not lead to the defeat of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and the surrender of the Kiev regime? Why are other strategic directions stubbornly ignored, where the offensive promises much more serious successes that can influence the outcome of the war? Why is the initiative completely given over to the enemy in these directions?
33) Where did all our latest military equipment, which was boasted about so much in the pre-war years, go? Why are the T-54/55 tanks and D-20 guns, which were used in Stalin’s time, put into service at the front in combat units? Who “scattered” in huge quantities (as a rule, free of charge) much more modern but “unnecessary” Soviet weapons and munitions across Syria-Libya-Sudan and other African republics? Who should be responsible for this? Where are the promised “combat robots”? Where are the “tens of thousands of Arab volunteers who are grateful to us for the assistance rendered”, and promised to the President by the Minister of Defense?
34) How did it happen that Kazakhstan, saved by our peacekeeping forces from a civil war literally a month before the start of the SMO, is quickly and openly moving into the camp of our enemies, demonstrating growing Russophobia, and gradually joining all types of sanctions? Who made the decisions to support exactly the group that (being nurtured by the “Soros Foundation”, which was well known) is now in power in Kazakhstan? What served as the basis for supporting this particular group, although there were others who were much more loyal to the Russian Federation? [This is head-scratcher because as far as we can tell, Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev is no fan of Soros; the fact that Kazakhstan is a less-than-reliable “partner” to Moscow is undeniable, however — Edward]
35) Why do our officials blame some “Ukrainian nationalists” for all high-profile sabotage, terrorist acts and simply military strikes on the territory of the Russian Federation, removing responsibility for these acts from the official authorities and the military of Ukraine, even in those cases when they themselves publicly take ownership? Where are the similar actions of the Russian special services on enemy territory? Why hasn’t a capable underground been created in Ukraine in eight years, even in the Russian-speaking regions? Why are there no attempts to create it now, except for purely media (and beneficial only to enemy propaganda) provocations led by the scoundrel Medvedchuk?
36) How is it that while hundreds of thousands of our soldiers (as well as the population of the front-line regions living in the zone of enemy strikes) are experiencing hardships, the rest of the country continues to live as if no war exists, or is it completely irrelevant to them?
37) When will the goals of the SMO and the conditions for the successful completion of the operation be clearly and officially stated?
38) What is the reason for the fact that people who for years defended the Minsk agreements and “Donbass as part of a united Ukraine” are now responsible for military propaganda? And people who always, initially and reasonably, warned about the disastrous nature of such a course and predicted what it would lead to (a big and difficult war) remain marginalized by official propaganda—up to the complete rejection of the opportunity to take part in the defense of Russia?
39) Why are the closest relatives of the highest state and military leaders of the Russian Federation spotted by the Western media in countries openly hostile to the Russian Federation? Will any conclusions about these officials be made by the President?
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