15/11/2023 strategic-culture.su  9 min 🇬🇧 #237329

The Limits of Fragmentation. The West Should Beware of Excessive Expectations

Stephen Karganovic

The key component in the collective West's battle plan is cultural and spiritual fragmentation of its perceived Russian adversary.

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As the late Tatiana Gracheva never tired of pointing out, the key component in the collective West's battle plan is cultural and spiritual fragmentation of its perceived Russian adversary. Once the divisive groundwork had been successfully laid, the expectation is that political disintegration, creating opportunities for plunder on an epic scale, would follow as a matter of course. The conflict in Ukraine raises the practical question of how realistic such expectations actually are. That question is very serious. We would contend that more likely than not the indicated expectation is based on a colossal misreading of the target's mentality and on woeful ignorance of its impressive historical record of resilience. The target, of course, is the Russian world as such, in the broad sense of the term, encompassing three pivotal components, Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus, but more than that as well.

Estrangement on all levels of Ukraine from Russia (Brzezinski: " Without Ukraine, Russia ceases to be an empire") is a fundamental objective in the multi-layered conflict engendered by the West between Russia and Ukraine. There are, of course, other parallel goals that the Ukrainian operation is meant to serve. The results are mixed. Some of those goals, such as depopulation in preparation for the possible implantation of another ethnic group to replace Ukrainians, are being accomplished fairly successfully. But contrary to the best laid plans, regime change in Russia is a conspicuous failure. The most fundamental of these objectives, work on which was patiently and assiduously begun long before February 23, 2022, is to lay the foundation for irreversible decoupling of the two large and kindred Slavic groups, Russians and Ukrainians. As the fiendish Brzezinski correctly noted, whether they are together or apart makes a huge and qualitative geopolitical difference.

Hence the aspect of the Ukrainian conflict, as it was deliberately orchestrated by the West, that reaches beyond purely economic or military concerns. Everything about the Ukrainian bedlam is calculated to produce maximum enmity between two kindred and practically indistinguishable Slavic populations and, in terms of the Anglo-Saxon understanding of human nature, to inflame that animosity and make it permanent and incurable. At all cost Russia must be thwarted from ever becoming again what they perceive as an "empire."

At least two characteristics of the Ukrainian conflict feed into the collective West's confident expectation that its morbid calculus might bear the desired fruit.

The first is the aggressive, in-your-face activation of the Nazi element on the Ukrainian side. It Many decades later Russians remain keenly sensitive to the traumatic memory of the Great Patriotic War. Nazi symbols to them have the effect of the red cloth in the Spanish corrida. The purpose of flaunting such symbols in Ukraine is to inflame and enrage.

It is important to bear in mind that the engagement Nazi auxiliaries to fight on the side of the Kiev regime is entirely and purposefully the decision of Ukraine's Western curators. If they had not desired it, if that did not fit into their hybrid warfare master plan, and without their explicit orders, it most likely would not have happened as it did. Given the multi-layered nature of conflict planning, the insertion of the Nazi element had a double purpose. One was to enhance the military efficacy of Kiev regime forces with ideologically motivated units. The more important purpose however was by enraging to affect the deeper layers of the Russian psyche, known to be sensitive to any manifestation of Nazi symbolism, in order to stoke resentment by association and direct it indiscriminately against the population of Ukraine as a whole. On the Russian side, this attempt to create an irreparable rift has been a complete failure. The Russian people, to their credit, have proved sufficiently mature to recognise the distinction between loathsome, swastika tattooed Azov thugs and their own Ukrainian relatives and neighbours.

On the Ukrainian side, the divisive Western strategy arguably has had more success. It was based principally on the expectation of hatred that should have been aroused from the infliction of disproportionate casualties by the vastly superior Russian army. That expectation is not wholly unreasonable given the operational doctrine followed by the Russian high command. It provides for primary reliance on technical assets (artillery, rockets, and bombs) rather than man-on-man combat to attrite the opponent's manpower while preserving Russian human resources to the utmost possible extent. Competent estimates have it that the application of that doctrine has brought frightful losses to the Armed Forces of Ukraine, at least half a million killed in action and up to a million and a half in other types of casualties. The combination of this Russian military doctrine and Ukrainian leadership's and their Western curators' callous disregard for the loss of Ukrainian lives has produced monumental casualties, wiping out entire age categories of Ukrainian manhood. The resulting situation increasingly resembles  Paraguay's catastrophic male population losses in the War of the Triple Alliance in the 1860s. The recently surfaced heart rending video documenting  the capture by a Russian patrol of a pathetic, pregnant Ukrainian female, probably forcibly conscripted and dispatched to the front by the criminal Kiev regime, speaks to this point quite eloquently.

With characteristic Schadenfreude, the Neocon cabal and its culturally clueless protégées gloat that the hostility they have inflamed should benefit their cause significantly. Coming from an entirely different perspective, noted analyst and recognised Russian affairs expert Andrei Martyanov appears to favor a variant of such a view, but without the anti-Russian sting of course. In his podcasts, which a large audience watches avidly, he has commented that for the foreseeable future Ukrainian enmity is bound to remain very deep, though perhaps not as eternal as the Russia hating cabal would prefer it to be. He has repeatedly suggested that what remains of Ukraine, including even such traditionally Russian areas as Kharkov and Odessa, the Russians would find ungovernable because of the strong resentment generated by the combination of insidious brainwashing and the conduct of military operations, as noted above.

We may agree that no matter how limited and regardless of how short it falls of the intensity and destructive violence that characterises full-scale war, Russia's military intervention is bound to inflict deep scars on the Ukrainian psyche. It is debatable, however, whether such scars will necessarily have the effect of permanently damaging Russian-Ukrainian relations.

Firstly, historical experience shows that in the medieval period, prior to the  political consolidation of the unitary Russian state, of which the Kievan Rus', or Ukraine, has been an integral part, there was intense internecine warfare between competing Russian principalities and city states. In terms of violence and mayhem, those hostilities were roughly comparable to the impact of current military operations, account being taken of the relative potency of the technological resources available at that time. There is plenty of historical evidence that the scars left by those conflicts were at least as deep as they are today and that they took considerable time to heal. Yet heal they did, grievances were ultimately set aside and a united Rus' was forged. The aggressive interference today of the foreign factor, determined to impose its fragmentation agenda, should not be minimised. But in the past, against similar odds, reconciliation and unity were nevertheless achieved. Historical experience suggests that this can happen again.

Secondly, even in the absence of external machinations, the Slavic commonwealth historically has been susceptible to powerful centrifugal tendencies. The identitarian common core which unites various Slavic communities was always precarious and in a state of permanent tension with local allegiances and micro-identities. Traditionally, for the Slavs that has always been a point of extreme weakness and it remains so today. Foreign conquerors have used that vulnerability to great effect by fabricating artificial identities and allegiances for targeted Slavic groups in order to pit one kindred tribe against another. Such artificial and regional identitarian constructs were always in opposition to the unifying counterweight of the Pan Slavic "collective unconscious," which often would emerge unexpectedly to neutralise them. It is reasonable to expect therefore that deeply embedded and natural commonalities will prevail once again over contrived differences. In the end, culturally, linguistically, and spiritually intermingled Ukrainians and Russians are likely to find that they still have infinitely more in common with each other than with the alien and manipulative West. The subliminal level will militate strongly against the permanency of the fabricated schism.

Thirdly, it is difficult to assess how intractable the hurt and resentment are on the Ukrainian side and whether or not, in the short or perhaps slightly longer term, the massive commonalities will prove sufficient to assuage and overcome them. The part of Ukraine under the control of the Kiev regime is governed by fear and the real mood of the population cannot accurately be gauged. Retaliation for the slightest departure from the officially dictated canons of thinking and expression is known by everyone to be quick and ruthless. Intimidated passivity constitutes proof not of adherence but of paralysing anxiety. In order to sort out their traumas, collective entities, like individuals, require the passage of time. Only when calm is re-established, and the fruit of cultural normalisation and recovery, or perhaps lack of it, is evident will a reassessment of future relations with Russia become possible.

Lastly, the good performance against all odds by the Ukrainian military is not an indication of the intensity of its hatred of the Russian "enemy." It reflects the fact that they are Slavs and that soldiering is built into their genetic code, irrespective of what side they happen to be fighting on. That is another important cultural detail that Western "experts" routinely miss. They are prone to draw unfounded conclusions based on misperceptions.

There is an anecdote going back to the First World War about Bosnian Serb soldiers involuntarily conscripted into the Austro-Hungarian army. They were surrounded by troops from Serbia proper and asked to surrender. Their response to the besiegers, who were fellow Serbs, was apposite to the conduct of many Ukrainian soldiers today: "We are Serbs, and Serbs do not surrender." To the culturally attuned that speaks volumes not just about the martial disposition of that particular unit of Slavic conscripts over a century ago, but also more specifically about the tenaciousness shown by many Ukrainian conscripts in the present conflict. Without the proper culturological context an ordinary Western observer, particularly with a worthless degree (as Andrei Martyanov would wryly put it) in law, journalism, or political science would be at a loss what to make of it. It is conduct that he would necessarily misconstrue, and completely in terms of his own cultural biases.

But passions will subside and induced states of consciousness eventually must dissipate. Kievan Rus', or what in contemporary discourse goes by the name of Ukraine, will safely drift back to its ancient spiritual moorings.