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The Russian Distraction

Updated: Jun 25, 2023

When news of the Wagner “coup” against Putin hit the news our first smart aleck reaction was to think, “Gee, the CIA has really done it this time, mounting a coup against Putin to distract from the Hunter Biden laptop revelations.”

But that was not a serious conspiracy theory, it was sent around to some of our friends just for the lulz.

However, it did get us thinking about the implications for the Russia – Ukraine war and the future of Putin and the Russian state.

Our first observation may seem somewhat counterintuitive, but we think the so-called Wagner coup bodes ill for the Ukrainians and the U.S. – NATO management of the war.

If Wagner was central to Russian success in attack and the core of the Russian defense in the presumed Ukrainian summer counter-offensive, why didn’t the Ukrainians act with alacrity and attack when Wagner pulled out and began their march on Moscow?

Surely, Wagner forces capturing Rostov-on-Don, the key Russian supply depot in the region, would be a signal that the enemy was in disorder and a Ukrainian attack, if promptly executed, could meet with success.

Instead, and we have access to good open-source intelligence and commentary from some very capable intelligence analysts and former operators, as far as we can tell, it appears everyone on the Ukraine – NATO – American side just stood around gawking like they were watching a slow-motion car wreck, instead of an opportunity to strike a war-changing blow against the enemy.

So, did they think the so-called Wagner coup wasn’t real, or it was real and was going to overthrow Putin and end the war, or are our current “woke” generals and Pentagon officials so slow, plodding, and unimaginative that they couldn’t organize even a Corporal’s guard to take advantage of the situation and mount an attack on the disorganized Russians?

Unfortunately, it appears the latter is the case and the families of the Ukrainians yet to be slain and the American taxpayers are destined to continue the current war of attrition.

We were also struck by the historical parallels between the rhetoric of Yevgeny Prigozhin, owner and leader (or now-former leader) of the Wagner mercenaries, and the Bolshevik-allied members of the Russian military in the lead-up to the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution and the end of Russian involvement in World War I.

Prigozhin justified pulling his troops off the front lines and marching on Moscow with claims that they were being starved of weapons, ammunition, and supplies, and most importantly, that the justification for the war was a lie.

In a seven-minute audio message on February 20, 2023 Prigozhin accused Russia's top military commanders of "treason" for depriving his fighters of ammunition.

"I'm unable to solve this problem despite all my connections and contacts," he complained, adding that he was required to "apologize and obey" to secure ammunition for his fighters.

The war wasn’t, he claimed, to denazify Ukraine, it was to enrich Russian oligarchs.

“What was the war for? The war was needed for [Russian Minister of Defense, Sergei] Shoigu to receive a hero star… The oligarchic clan that rules Russia needed the war,” he said.

“The mentally ill scumbags decided: ‘It’s OK, we’ll throw in a few thousand more Russian men as cannon fodder. They’ll die under artillery fire, but we’ll get what we want,’” Prigozhin said according to reporting by the UK’s Guardian.

In World War I Russian forces were so under-supplied that second wave and subsequent attackers were often sent into battle unarmed and told to pick up the weapons of their comrades killed in the previous wave – little wonder they rebelled, joined the Bolsheviks, and lynched the officers who ordered them to certain death.

Reading Prigozhin’s remarks and social media posts you could swap-out “capitalists” and the “Tsar” for “oligarchs” and “Shoigu” and have a pretty good approximation of a speech by Lenin or Trotsky in the lead-up to the Bolshevik Revolution.

Although there were reports that Wagner forces were jeered when they entered Rostov-on-Don, there’s no denying Prigozhin’s rhetoric resonated with a lot of Russians.

Which leads us to ask what effect this non-coup coup had on Vladimir Putin and the future of the Russian state.

The usual foreign policy “experts” and Washington DC war hawks weighed-in to predict Putin’s demise.

Alexander Vindman, the treacherous former director for European affairs on the Trump National Security Council whose lies almost single handedly sparked one of Trump’s phony impeachments, pronounced this uprising as having “grown into a full-fledged coup.” “The biggest beneficiary of this distraction is Ukraine, with Russia losing its war in Ukraine and opening up a second front on its own territories,” Vindman said.

Vindman’s words had barely dissipated into the ether before the “coup” was over and the Ukrainians, informed, if not led, by geniuses like Vindman, sat idly by while the opportunity to take advantage of Russian disorganization faded in the rearview mirror.

A group culled from Washington’s foreign policy establishment, Jeffrey A. Sonnenfeld, Jon M. Huntsman Jr., and William F. Browder, posted an op-ed on the Foreign Policy website claiming Prigozhin’s revolt has already revealed Putin’s domestic control to be slipping, and “we are just in the first innings of a new era.”

Prigozhin’s revolt has already revealed Putin’s domestic control to be slipping, and we are just in the first innings of a new era. With Putin no longer able to control the rival armed gangs of his own creation, his armor has been pierced, and his formidable aura is dissipating, they said.

U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, the organizer of the infamous "Hunter Biden's laptop is Russian disinformation” lie and letter went on “Meet the Press,” to say, “So I think we’ve seen more cracks emerge in the Russian facade. It is too soon to tell exactly where they go, and when they get there, but certainly we have all sorts of new questions that Putin is going to have to address in the weeks and months ahead.”

Translation: We have no clue where this is headed, but Putin is still in charge and we were too timid or slow-witted, or both, to make anything of this challenge to his authority.

Which brings us back to the first paragraph of this article: While the entire Washington DC press corps has been consumed by what’s going on in Russia and the airwaves have been taken over by erudite war hawks and clueless “experts,” many of whom were so “expert” they promoted and supported the lies about Trump “colluding” with Russia, Joe and Hunter Biden helicoptered off to Camp David for the weekend to get their stories straight in the face of the latest revelations about Hunter’s influence peddling racket.

Don’t be distracted – the important foreign policy and national security story isn’t whether Russian President Vladimir Putin stays or goes, it’s all the foreign money from Red China, Russia, Ukraine, Romania and elsewhere that flowed into the Biden family coffers to influence our own President.

George Rasley is editor of Richard Viguerie's and is a veteran of over 300 political campaigns. A member of American MENSA, he served on the staff of Vice President Dan Quayle, as Director of Policy and Communication for former Congressman Adam Putnam (FL-12) then Vice Chairman of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee's Subcommittee on National Security and Foreign Affairs, and as spokesman for retired Rep. Mac Thornberry, a member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and former Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee.

  • Russia Ukraine war

  • vladimir putin

  • Volodymyr Zelenskyy

  • Wagner Group

  • Transnational Criminal Organization

  • Russian mercenaries

  • PMC (Private Military Company)

  • headline: Putin’s Wagner

  • Yevgeny Prigozhin

  • Dmitriy Valeryevich Utkin

  • Kinetic actions

  • Yevgeny Prigozhin

  • Wagner coup

  • Rostov-on-Don

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