ZELENSKY: THE UNKNOWINGLY PERFECT RUSSIAN TOOL
The Russian military grinding machine continues to inexorably destroy the multi-faceted, in-depth, thousand kilometre line of defences along the perimeter of the Donbass, created over the past eight years with massive western help. In so doing it is also inexorably decimating the Ukrainian military, one of the primary goals of its ‘special military operation’. Over the past three and a half months since it began it has been assisted in this latter endeavour by the policy decisions of Volodymyr Oleksandrovych Zelensky.
There are several distinct aspects to the above, seemingly incongruous, situation.
While Zelensky’s reputation has soared across the western world it has correspondingly soured within the Ukrainian military. Sound military tactics as advocated by the Ukrainian high command have been consistently countermanded by the Ukrainian president. Tactical retreats to defensible positions from locations wide open to being surrounded and taken by the enemy have been consistently refused with political orders instead to stand and fight. Subsequently, the attrition rate of men and materiel within the Ukrainian ranks has been enormous.
According to official Ukrainian sources up to one thousand Ukrainian troops are taken out of combat each day, either killed or injured. This as a result of far superior Russian fire power and the relatively static nature of the stand and fight policy insisted upon by Zelensky and his political colleagues. Several military debacles have also contributed to the carnage and loss of vital military assets through political insistence.
At Mariupol a series of hopeless attempts to rescue at least one top Azov Battalion commander resulted in the destruction of five helicopters and their crew plus several ships. An attempt was initiated by Ukraine’s political leadership against military advice to retake the notorious Snake Island off the coast of Odessa. This doomed venture was mounted as a PR exercise to overshadow Moscow’s May 9th Victory Parade. Its total failure resulted in massive loss of Ukrainian life and destruction of a great many military assets.
Little of the above garnered much if any attention in the West, its channels of information within the mainstream are blocked regarding such events while in a for now permanent
‘War mode’ where only positive statements about the conflict are permissible. This has greatly encouraged the continuation of this aspect of the Ukrainian leadership, alongside the parallel effect of the lionization process consistently applied to Zelensky in the West.
However, there are deeper and more personal, inherently psychological reasons for Zelensky and his political colleagues to act the way they do besides misguided notions of superiority of insight over their military commanders regarding the conduct of Ukraine’s military campaign. These involve a seeming inability to recognise the inevitability of Russian victory, apparent callous disregard for the masses of Ukrainian lives being lost or shattered forever and for the increasing loss of Ukrainian territory.
Part of the crucial backdrop which ought to be understood regarding western Ukraine is the power of the extreme right, the ultra-nationalist idealogues and their propensity for violence against those who they believe oppose them or their aspirations. The history of Ukraine since the change in power experienced by it in 2014 is massively overshadowed by the de facto veto this group has held regarding governmental policy in regard to the Donbass region of eastern Ukraine.
Zelensky, elected on a platform of bringing peace to Ukraine was soon persuaded by the above minority and by his western allies to change course to one that overwhelmingly emphasised military victory and a continued and heightened war effort. He is now unable to back down from this stance. To do so, to now agree to Russian demands that Ukraine come to terms, essentially capitulate and meet Russian requirements would potentially have fatal consequences for Zelensky and those around him. The rabidly extreme nationalist forces who ever since 2014 have demonstrated their ruthless, at times utterly sadistic and relentless prowess in fighting, at times to the death, would surely act against him if he did so.
It must be understood that little could stand against the so-called ‘voluntary forces’ of the hard right ideologues if Zelensky bowed to the inevitable, recognised that Russia had achieved overwhelming dominance and began negotiating the loss of Ukrainian territory. By one means or another the fanatics of the Azov Battalion or another of the extremist ultra-nationalist militias would find a way to eliminate him and those around him.
Due to the above and the pressure from the West to do so Zelensky urges that the fight go on, the now clearly hopeless fight for a victory by Ukraine that is made up of pure fantasy and a constant flight from reality. No matter how many thousands more Ukrainians die or how much more land is lost the fight must continue to be pursued, mostly it appears, to save the necks of the political crew now in command.
The for-public-consumption message being communicated by Zelensky and his people and by the politicians and mass media of the West is that Ukraine must battle to achieve a stronger bargaining position when peace talks resume. How this is to be done is apparently through the agency of deliveries of ever more heavy weaponry from the West. In tandem and at last, in the last few days, it appears that tactical retreats are now being ordered as the hopelessness of the ‘stand and fight’ policy is now too publicly revealed. Despite this final acknowledgement that simply throwing more cannon fodder at the advancing Russians is not working the general policy is to keep fighting while thousands of Ukrainian troops die, surrender or flee from the battlefield.
Inexorably Russia wins while Zelensky spins the news via the western 24 hour news cycle… and hapless Ukrainians, many of them over-aged, partially trained men mobilised at short notice die or are grievously wounded in massive numbers each day that passes and Ukraine loses ever more land.
In these ways Zelensky acts as the perfect tool for the accomplishment of the goals Russia set out for itself at the outset of its campaign, and increasingly, for so much more.