Kamil Galeev Profile picture
Jun 24 35 tweets 10 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
What is happening in Russia?

The mutiny is real. It is also unlikely to succeed. Most probable outcome is:

1. The mutiny fails
2. The regime stands (for a few months)
3. Upon its suppression, regime becomes increasingly dysfunctional -> falls

In other words, Kornilov putsch🧵
Let's start with the "real" part. A sizeable force of Wagner troops have left their positions in East Ukraine and entered the Russian region of Rostov Oblast. This is a real mutiny
It is also likely to fail. Not because there is few of them, but rather because they are far away

Russia is a hypercentralised country. Control over Moscow is the only thing that matters. And it is unlikely these fellows will be able to reach it, let alone occupy it
Moscow is just too far away. Even if you leave all the heavy equipment behind, successfully transporting thousands of troops over >1000 km will be almost impossible

What you most probably gonna get is a mammoth traffic jam = a target for the airforce
Unless something radical happens in the next 12 hours, I bet on the regime surviving through this incident. Control over Moscow is the only thing that matters, and it is unlikely the mutineers will be able to assume it by this point. Too far

Again, if nothing radical happens
Still, even if this mutiny fails (as it probably will), it is likely to have the most detrimental effect on the Russian war efforts and thus on the regime's viability. If I were to find a metaphor to describe it, I would frame Prigozhin's mutiny as a modern Kornilov Rebellion
Now who is Prigozhin? He is first and foremost a junior member of the St Petersburg gang. With the rise of Putin, the gang members rose very high. Still, the initial status in the gang matters

Prigozhin wasn't a Putin's man. He was a Rotenberg's man. The vassal of a vassal
I can neither confirm, nor deny that in the late Soviet era Rotenberg brothers had a side hustle of burgling the Leningrad antiquaries houses. Obviously, such a business could not prosper other then under the KGB patronage

You snitch + do the dirty job -> they let you to hustle
I can also neither confirm nor deny that such a hustle involved sacrificing some of the gang members from time to time. Some gang members have to be given to justice. But the Rotenbergs had a saying in who will be sacrificed

At some point they may have chosen Prigozhin
After being sentenced to 13 years and having spent 7 in jail, Prigozhin was released. Still, he got compensated. I can neither confirm nor deny his patrons helped him with launching a restaurant business

He was a junior, invaluable member of the gang, but a member nonetheless
In 1996, a patron of Prigozhin's patron got a job in Kremlin and started his meteoric rise. Once Putin succeeded into power in 2000, the membership in a gang became priceless. It gave a direct access to The First One, the Access to the Body as we say in Russia

Invaluable asset
That's what you should know on Prigozhin's personal profile

1. A junior member of the gang
2. Not a valuable member. Worthless enough to be sacrificed as a scapegoat
3. But a member nonetheless

So once the boss of his boss becomes the Tsar, Prigozhin becomes a courtier
Now on the Wagner group. An important thing about the Wagner group is its somewhat outcast-ish character. You obviously heard about the recruitment of prisoners

Its rank and file may indeed largely consist of criminal/semi-criminal folk or just rando folk who got in by accident
But Wagner commanders are *not* randos. They are most typically the army/special forces/much more rarely intelligence officers who have been kicked out, usually for crimes or gross misbehaviour. And then had to start their career anew
Consider this guy to the right of Putin. A special forces officer. In 2008 convicted for robbery & kidnapping. In 2013 released to joined Wagner

Many others were kicked out for minor offences But the pattern is typical. Wagner is your second chance, after you lost the first one
A typical Wagner commander's profile is:

- Trained officer with relevant military experience
- Selected out from the regular forces, for crimes, misbehaviour or just not fitting in
- But given a second chance in Wagner

You are supposed to be grateful to the system. Are you?
If you consider that the Wagner leadership consists of the former officers selected out by the system, the constant dick measuring contest with the regular army becomes a bit more understandable

It is very important to prove we are better, an not only for pragmatic purposes
The peculiar Wagner iconography with a focus on unhinged lawlessness makes more sense, too. I don't think it is all optimised for pragmatic purposes, like propaganda. Like, why would you choose this type of propaganda in the first place?
I think that the exaggerated and sometimes counterproductive focus on being far, far superior than the regular army may have something to with most of the Wagner leadership being selected out from the latter
Now on the consequences. Should the mutiny fail (as it probably will, unless some radical development follows today), it will have the most detrimental consequences for the Russian war efforts
Observers describe Wagner as a mercenary army. But the truth is: all of the Russian army is a mercenary army. Some of the file and rank were mobilised, some enlisted voluntarily. But the overwhelming majority has no positive motivation to stay in the trenches except for salary
Foreign observers who ascribe the tolerance of the Russian society to the war to the "propaganda" are clueless. The preaching ("propaganda") is not worth much. Incentives are worth everything. Putin is smarter than foreign observers, so he is paying soldiers exorbitant salaries
"Beliefs move actions" causality is overrated

More often than not, it's the other way around. Incentives move actions and actions move beliefs. You do as you are incentivised to and then you rationalise why it was amazing thing to do in the first place

That's how it should be
Putin knows that and pays soldiers exorbitant salaries they would never ever earn as civilians


The more you earn, the less incentive you have to stay in the trenches. It's like playing with casino. At some point you better collect your winnings and leave
190 000 rubles a month may sound as a great deal at first. Which they probably are. But the longer you stay in trenches, the less likely you are to have a chance to spend what you have already earned

The mercenary army is getting tired quickly
Add here very little rotation and no realistic prospect of demobilisation until the war is over and what you get is the extreme tiredness. While being in defensive may be advantageous strategy-wise, it has a horrible effect on the Russian army morale, just as it always did
It is not impossible that the current situation would not even arise, if not for the Ukrainian counteroffensive. With the pressure applied some links of the chain can break (as they did)
Now about the consequences. Should the mutiny fail (as it probably will) what will follow is the decrease in trust and quite plausibly purges against the real and supposed disloyals
Much of the army's rank and file may be of questionable loyalty. They won't uprise, but they may not lift the finger for the regime either. Same goes for much of the warrior cops, etc. Even if they are loyal to the regime, the latter can't be sure
If I were to name one single institution that the regime may rely on the most, I would name not the FSB, but rather the FSO. Not the Federal Security Service but the Federal Protective Service. The outsized service of the bodyguards
We are all used to thinking of the FSB as of the modern Russian nobility. But if you look at the ministerial or gubernatorial appointees of the last decade, you will notice a rapidly rising share of the FSO officers

Putin's personal bodyguards becoming governors basically
Underestimation of the FSO role may have something to do with us always framing Russia in Soviet terms, always looking for the Soviet parallels and allusions

I would argue however, that modern Russia is much more of a cosplay of the Holstein-Gottorp empire than most would admit
Our focus on the FSB and FSB alone may largely result from our refusal to think about Russia otherwise than in Soviet terms. FSB-KGB-NKVD. We focus on the FSB and only because we have a Soviet parallel for it

We don't really have a Soviet parallel for the FSO. So we ignore it
But we do find such a parallel in the Russian Empire. The best way to think about the modern FSO is to frame it as a cosplay of the Transfiguration Regiment. At least that is where it has been evolving through the late Putin's era. The rule by the Imperial Guard
If trusted with guarding the emperor's sacred body, you can be trusted with anything (like ruling a province). And when it comes to putting down the internal revolt, it is probably not the FSB that constitutes the last line of defense. It is probably the FSO regiments

The end

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More from @kamilkazani

Jun 23
No, it's not. Supply chains for the industrial equipment are usually very, very straightforward because THERE IS NO NEED TO HIDE:

Foreign supplier -> Intermediary in Russia* -> Russian military producer

Intermediary = Distributor/"Producer"/Service & maintenance company, etc.
People usually hold delusional ideas about the Russian military supply chains presuming they are highly secretive and use complex unobvious routes

When it comes to production base, this assumption is almost always wrong

They don't hide because THERE'S NO NEED TO HIDE
What makes it even more straightforward is the asymmetry of production base:

Casting/Forming equipment have sizeable non-military consumers, e.g. metallurgy

Cutting tools do not. Even back in 2013, the military counted for 80% of consumption

That was before the militarization
Read 5 tweets
Jun 16
"Only those deserve to be called Communists who understand that it is impossible to build or implement socialism without learning from the [corporate] trust founders"

(Vladimir Lenin. On the Left-Wing Childishness. May 1918) Image
"For socialism is not a figment of the imagination, but the implementation and application of what had been created by the [corporate] trusts by the proletarian vanguard, which has seized power" Image
"We, the party of the proletariat, have no other way of acquiring the ability to organise large-scale production ... except by acquiring it from the first-class capitalist experts" Image
Read 4 tweets
Jun 15
Daily reminder

IF there are unprecedentedly wide sanctions imposed on Russia
BUT Russia is able to increase its production of cruise missiles
THEN the implementation and especially targeting of sanctions are wrong. Like actually, wrong

Military production base is not targeted
@McFaul you are doing it wrong. Your focus is wrong. You are not alone in doing it wrong, but it does not make your work any less wrong
To do it in a correct way, you must be targeting the production base. Not only the components, but the production processes themselves. Disincentivizing the U.S. allies-based companies to supply the metal-cutting, especially machining equipment would be a good start
Read 4 tweets
Jun 12
Very good thread, I actually mostly agree with what is said here. Still, I will outline my own perspective on it:

First, it is of crucial importance to understand that the "popular uprising", generally speaking, is not a category of politics. It is a category of *theology* 🧵
We often see the debates on whether this or that upheaval constituts an "uprising" or a "coup". But the truth is that a successful uprising usually has at least an element of a military coup in it. If the military/paramilitary stands united for the regime, the regime will stand
In the popular perception a revolution is a miracle, a magic, when the impossible happens: the people defeat the regime. Hence, its theological significance. Credo quia absurdum

The element of absurdity is very important. If it is not absurd, it won't make a miracle Image
Read 24 tweets
Jun 8
You unironically have some logical reasoning capabilities. Yes, that is exactly what happened. If in the 1960s the USSR still tried to compete, by the 1970s it essentially gave up. Consequently, Western imports comprised the ever increasing share of its high end consumption Image
By the 1970s Soviets could machine precise parts -> produce sophisticated weaponry either:

a) conventionally = essentially manually
b) on imported NC/CNC tools

That's it basically
And "manually" is not nearly as sexy as it sounds. First, supply of machinists that can do precision machining manually is highly inelastic. There's simply no way to train more in the short term perspective. At any given moment their quantity is given and you can't increase it
Read 5 tweets
Jun 8
Retrospectively, the greatest crime of the Western European governments was not cutting the supplies of the metal-cutting, specifically machining equipment, machine parts and expendables into the Russian Federation. Would this happen, the war would not have lasted that long
It's kinda ironic that the war impoverishing Europe is critically dependent upon the Western European (German, Austrian, Swiss, Italian, etc.) supplies to continue Image
But first and foremost German. Contrary to the popular opinion, the Russian military manufacturing base was not formed by the mainland Chinese import as China was unable to satisfy the demand of the Russian military on the high end equipment

The U.S. allies could Image
Read 5 tweets

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