Staunton, July 14 – Anatoly Nesmiyan, who blogs under the screen name “El Murid,” says that historically, whenever the Russian military has faced defeat, its first step is to try to identify traitors within its own ranks and then to turn on the political leaders who have set it on course to fail.
That is what appears to be happening in the case of a dismissed general who has criticized the high command and appealed to his own troops, El Murid said, something that would have been unthinkable a year ago but now represents a bellwether that may threaten the regime as a whole (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=64B02B99D48D3).
Such actions reflect “a collapse of trust,” something that will ultimately cost the army “the main thing that makes it an army – discipline and a readiness to carry out orders. If there are doubts about what we are fighting for and if the leadership doesn’t inspire the least confidence, then a completely logical question arises to which there is only one answer,” he continues.
According to El Murid, “a protracted war and even one that has passed into the phase of a war of attrition, inevitably depletes not only material resources but also such non-material ones as the willingness to follow orders, confidence in the rightness of the cause, and similar issues, especially when the local population treats you without enthusiasm or even hatred.”
Such risks have always existed as a theoretical possibility, the commentator says, “but now they are being discussed openly and directly – and not by soldiers in the trenches but by senior commanders. To be sure, such discussions are carefully cast in words suggesting continuing loyalty, “but a year ago, such things would have been unthinkable.”
Now, they appear “logical and even understandable to all.”