Things have quieted down a bit from the weekend. Mind you, things are still murky (indeed, murkier than they were on Friday)… the amount of reliable news is miniscule. However, there are important takeaways from the weekend events.
The most important one is that the junta decreed general mobilisation… and no one showed up (at most, 2 percent of those called responded… hardly a patriotic groundswell). This had its analogue in the 2008 South Ossetia conflict (it wasn’t “hot” enough for a fully-fledged war… although the bloodletting was real enough). If you recall, the Georgian forces simply melted away via desertion after Russia sent in elements of two mechanised divisions and two airborne divisions. So many Georgian soldiers deserted that the Saakashvili junta couldn’t put them on trial. The whole army simply melted away… in terrain that favours the defence and where the Russian forces had a relatively long and exposed LOC run over a few roads in mountainous country. In short, the Georgians held all the cards, militarily speaking, but they all took French leave… leaving the road to Tbilisi open (note well that the Russians contented themselves with looting the American-equipped base at Gori and weren’t tempted to expand the conflict any further).
In like manner, the response to the general mobilisation order showed the abject powerlessness of the junta. Not only did their orders fail to stir a response… they couldn’t “make them stick”. No one’s been arrested… no one! The junta called out the country… the country chose to watch the hockey game, instead. This, more than anything else, shows the lack of popular support for the junta. This means that if it orders general mobilisation again, the people’s response could be just as tepid, if not more so. No one wants to die to make the Ukraine safe for Yuliya, her crooked cronies, and the crapitalist oligarchs. I’d also point up that the “reservists” had no refresher training, lacked heavy weapons and equipment, and there were no organised units to draft them into. That is, they’d lack all cohesion as formed military bodies, and would simply break in combat. It was a PR move… a fact not lost on the Russians (nor was it lost on professional military circles in the West, either… they’re not anxious to get involved with such losers).
Furthermore, when the junta called out active units, it had a mixed reaction… the most interesting point is that some units actually went over to the patriotic elements opposing the junta. For instance, the Ukrainian Navy is, actually, dead. It hoisted the St Andrew banner and sits in Russian-controlled ports. The only way that the junta installed governors in some places was to call out Svoboda toughs and oligarch private guards. The druzhinniki held back (on Putin‘s express orders, I’m told). The new oligarch governors will piss off the populace (which is what the Russians expect… and what they’ll get, by the way). When Russian forces do intervene (and they shall, trust me), the people will greet them with open arms.
Why did Russia hold back? Simply put, it checkmated the junta in the Crimea. The popular referendum shall go forward, at an unspecified earlier date. When that happens, the ARK government will call on Russian protection, which Russia will give. The junta will fulminate and order mobilisation again… less than nothing will happen again. The junta failed to exert authority this weekend… that was Strike One. The junta failed to re-establish authority over the Crimea… that was Strike Two. When the junta orders general mobilisation again and fails again… that’s STRIKE THREE… YER OUT!
That’s not the end of it. The disbanding of the Berkut leaves the junta without a reliable anti-coup force. This means that they’d have to rely on Svoboda toughs and oligarch bands. When one realises that the upper leadership of the MVDU and MChSU both underwent a purge, it means that the junta has NO reliable security forces whatsoever, which increases the chances of them calling out the army. If they called out the army, it’d be a farcical replay of August 1991 in Moscow. However, don’t be smug. Remember Roland Freisler and the Volksgerichtshof… just because they’re not long for this world doesn’t mean that they can’t create a great deal of mayhem in the time left to them. The mob won’t go home quietly… it has to be dispersed by force… and the junta won’t do that because it can’t. The junta’s “legitimacy” stems from that mob… if it were to disown it, it’d cut its own throat.
Here’s the cherry on the sundae… the junta hasn’t had any regular revenue collections… the cupboard’s bare. The Ukrainian government needs 20 billion USD (720 billion Roubles. 22.1 CAD. 22.3 billion AUD. 14.6 billion Euros. 12 billion UK Pounds) a year to meet its bills… and the 1 billion USD (36 billion Roubles. 1.1 billion CAD. 1.12 billion AUD. 728 million Euros. 598 million UK Pounds) offered by the USA isn’t even enough for one month’s operations. In short, the junta will have to find the money somewhere… either through increased shaking down of the populace or a Weimar-style inflation. Actually, I think that the worst option will happen… “austerity”, increased tax exactions, and hyperinflation. That’d doom the junta, but it has no other choice… save surrender now, which it isn’t going to do. The junta isn’t going to change its spots. They’re going to remain thieves and boodlers until they go down. The junta isn’t long for this world… but it’ll be remembered. It’ll be one of the nastiest episodes in Russian history. God do watch over the people of Little Russia… they’re going to need it.