Doomsday Merchants

Thursday, 10 November 2022 — The van says…

Too many people think that a step back is a step over the edge


Yesterday a pivotal decision by the Russian High Command polarized opinion on the internet. This article published yesterday cover the ins and outs of why Shiogu and Surovikin made the move that they did, yet today’s post will concentrate on the reactions shown across cyberspace as bloggers and boneheads alike commented on the day’s news. Before we look at reactions, we have to examine the actions and realize how one has led to the other.

Forget the Ukraine

The current conflict is being fought in the Ukraine, yet this is merely the epicenter of much more important happenings. Many on the interweb have it in their heads that Russian forces are fighting a bunch of savages armed with little more than AK-47s and a bottle of vodka. Nothing could be further from the truth.

The last year has seen countless arms shipments from the West, and with them have come experts who know this kit backwards. Communications have also proved to be a critical part of the Western effort, military satellites as well as Starlink enabling accurate intelligence to be used as a weapon against Moscow. Moreover, despite Washington and its allies refuting the allegations, there are thousands of Western personnel in-theater, and not all of them are half-assed mercenaries looking for likes on Instagram. In short, the West is waging its war in someone else’s back garden, and the only real Ukrainian involvement is Kiev’s troops getting cut down like grass by a lawnmower. This is a proxy war, Russia fighting the collective West.

General Decisions

When an event such as Russia’s withdrawal from Kherson occurs, it is natural that there be criticism for a number of reasons. What is far more challenging to understand is why so many doomers suddenly crawl out of the woodwork without looking at the bigger picture. Just as soccer pundits have done for decades, they spend a huge part of their lives trawling cyberspace and the media for information and rumors and then make comments. In doing so, they should be better qualified than most to see the real picture, yet in spite of all that, their statements fit viewpoints better than the facts. With that, it is very difficult to fathom why they publish what they do. Every case differs slightly, but regarding the scenario in the Ukraine, the general chain of events goes something like this:

Generals in-theater know what they know and think what they think, this leading them to make their decisions.

The media picks up only on certain facets, it thinking it knows more than the generals. Then someone who is less qualified than a blogger tells the public what went wrong.

The public then read this and thinks that by repeating many of the media stories, they know more than the generals.

The public then thinks that by looking at opinions rather than facts, they are qualified to fill chatrooms with inane comments, and in doing so, prove that through blindness or bias they know so little.

Put bluntly, when commenting on the plusses and minuses of a situation, many posters are only as good as either their own research or the opinions that are written by pundits; in the face of a setback, the posters claim anything from total defeat to the need for an immediate Blitzkrieg.

Doom and Gloom

At the slightest hint of a hitch, the pessimists come out in their droves. A setback is obviously nothing to be pleased about, yet yesterday was a perfect demonstration of how some people regard anything except the perfect victory to be absolute defeat. A dynamic war has in some senses proved some earlier operations to be unsuitable, yet in order to put your foot forward in the future, sometimes it’s necessary to take a step back. Whether the naysayers will take their words back when Russia again moves forward is highly improbable indeed.

General Armageddon

Sergei Surovikin might have been called General Armageddon, yet in light of yesterday’s news, it appears that a goodly part of the public wishes general armageddon upon most of the conflict zone. After the US and NATO have been lambasted by these very individuals for years through their laying entire countries to waste, a horde of internet hotheads now demand Russia do the same. Quite how Moscow is supposed to liberate millions of people who have been blown to pieces does not figure in too many responses.


For all the information and posters out there, there seems to be in so many cases very little correlation between intelligence gleaned off the net and intelligent comments coming of it. Today’s turbulent current affairs will obviously have an effect on what comes tomorrow, yet many would to well to comment on present events with an eye on the future…

2 thoughts on “Doomsday Merchants

  1. WillD says:

    The withdrawal is obviously controversial when one looks at it in terms of loss of captured territory – but taking that point of view is to misunderstand how Russia is handling this conflict. The primary objectives were never to take territory, only to hold the Donbas and de-militarise and denazify Ukraine.

    Putin and his government are clearly confident enough to weather the domestic political storm, and just as importantly not too worried about the media spin and lies abroad. Many will see this as demonstrable proof of the Russian concern with preserving the lives of its citizens and soldiers – contrasting against the Ukrainians lack of similar concern. Not that the western media will report either point.

    In military terms it is a wise move, to save civilians from a high risk of shelling and possibly flooding, and soldiers to the west of Kherson whose supply lines over the river are not very secure. This is something that Ukraine would probably not do, as it appears not to value the lives of soldiers or civilians – or even preserving its limited supply of weapons and equipment nearly as much as the Russians.

    But just like the western mainstream media will frame this as a defeat for Russia and victory for Ukraine – both untrue, of course – the armchair soldiers rooting for one side or the other will do the same.

    Personally I think this is just a part of a bigger strategy that will start to unfold as a) the extra 300,000 mobilised troops become available and b) the ground hardens in winter. After all, why go to the trouble to reinforce the front line to the west of Kherson with pillboxes and other defences if not in preparation for a move of some sort later on. The Russians have done this type of strategic withdrawal as a prelude to a successful move later on before.

    Liked by 1 person

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