I don't know anything about Igor Sushko except that he's a Ukrainian-born race car driver who lives in the U.S.and races in Japan. He was born in Kyiv in 1986. There's not much about him online other than that-- or there wasn't until this weekend when he flooded social media with what he says is a translation of a document from a purported Russian FSB analyst. (It could be disinformation from any number of sources or it could be exactly what it claims to be. I found a crazy YouTube of him auditioning-- NOT from Kyiv-- to be a Weather Channel reporter a decade ago and, to me at least, this analysis looks like it could be as phony as the video.) This is the version from his Facebook post. Good news, the analyst doesn't think Putin plans to incinerate they old with a nuclear war over Ukraine.
My translation of the analysis of the current situation in Russia by an alleged active FSB analyst. Buckle up for a long thread and definitely please share far & wide. The full text is over 2000 words. This is a highly insightful look behind the curtain-- covers many subjects. I will add clarification comments inside parenthesis where necessary. So, let's roll:
I have hardly slept at all these days, at work at almost all times, I have brain-fog. Maybe from overworking, but I feel like I am in a surreal world.
The Pandora’s Box is open-- a real global horror will begin by the summer-- global famine is inevitable. Russia and Ukraine were the main suppliers of grain to the world. This year’s harvest will be smaller and logistical problems will result in a catastrophe. (MY COMMENTARY: I disagree that this will result in global famine.)
I can’t say what guided those in charge to decide to proceed with the execution of this operation, but now they are methodically blaming us (FSB). We are being scolded for our analysis. Recently, we have been increasingly pressured to prepare more reports. All of these political consultants and politicians and that powers-that-be are causing chaos. Most importantly, no one knew that there will be such a war-- it was concealed from everyone. For example-- you are being asked to analyze various outcomes and consequences of a meteorite attack (MY COMMENTARY: Here he most likely means the West’s sanctions)-- you research the mode of attack, and you are being told that it’s just a hypothetical and not to stress on the details, so you understand the report is only intended as a checkbox, and the conclusions of the analysis must be positive for Russia, otherwise you basically get interrogated for not doing good work. So, you have to write that we have all necessary measures available to nullify the effects of a given type of attack. We are completely overworked. But then it turns out that the hypothetical has turned into reality, and the analysis we’ve done on that hypothetical is total trash.
We have no answer to the sanctions because of this.
No one knew there’d be such a war, so no one prepared for these sanctions.
It’s the flipside of the secrecy-- since everyone was kept in the dark, how could we prepare for it?
Kadyrov has gone nuts. We were very close to a conflict with him because the Ukrainians through their disinformation about having received intel from the FSB on his squad in Kyiv. His squad was absolutely demolished before they even began to fight and they got blown to pieces. I do not have any info that it was an FSB leak to Ukraine, so I’d give it a 1-2% chance-- but can’t exclude this possibility completely.
Our Blitzkrieg has totally collapsed. It is impossible to complete the task: If Zelensky and his deputies were captured in the first 3 days, all key buildings also captured, and they were forced to read an address of their surrender to the country, then Ukraine’s resistance would have likely dissolved to a minimal level. Theoretically. But then what? Even in this IDEAL outcome, there remained an unsolvable problem: Who is the counterparty to our negotiations? If we remove Zelensky-- fine-- who is going to sign the agreement? If with Zelensky, then that agreement is worthless after we remove him.
ОПЗЖ (The Opposition Party in Ukraine collaborating with Russia) has refused to cooperate. Medvechuk, the coward, ran away. There is another leader-- Boyko, but he refused too, even his own people won’t understand him. Wanted to bring back Tsaryova, but even our guys are against him here in Russia. Bring back Yanukovich? But how? If we are saying we can’t occupy, then the newly formed government will be overthrown in 10 minutes as soon as we leave.
To occupy? Where would we find that many people? Commandant’s office, military police, counter-intelligence, security-- even at minimum resistance from the Ukrainians, we’d need over 500,000 people, not including supply & logistics. There’s a rule, if you try to cover for bad quality leadership with quantity, you’ll make everything worse. And I repeat this would be the problem in the IDEAL SCENARIO, which does not exist.
And what now? We cannot announce general mobilization for two reasons: 1) Mobilization will implode the situation inside Russia: political, economic, and social.
2) Our logistics are already over-extended today. We can send a much large contingent into Ukraine, and what would we get? Ukraine-- a territorially enormous country, and their hate towards us is astronomical. Our roads simply cannot accommodate the resupply of such convoys, and everything will come to a halt. And we can’t pull it off from the management side because of the current chaos.
These two reasons exist concurrently, although just one of them is enough to break everything.
With regards to Russian military losses: I don’t know the reality-- no one does. There was some information the first 2 days, but now no one knows what is happening in Ukraine. We’ve lost contact with major divisions (!!) They may re-establish contact, or may dissipate under an attack, and even the commanders don’t know how many are dead, injured, or captured. Total dead is definitely in the thousands, maybe 10,000, maybe 5,000, or maybe just 2,000. But even at our command no one knows. But probably closer to 10,000. And we are not counting losses at DNR & LNR.
Now even we kill Zelensky or take him prisoner, nothing will change. The level of hate toward us is similar to Chechnya. And now, even those loyal to us in Ukraine are publicly against us.
Because all of this was planned at the top (in Russia), because we were told that such a scenario will not happen except only if we were to be attacked first. Because we were told that we need to maximize our threats in order to negotiate an outcome through peace. Because we were already preparing protests against Zelensky without ever considering invading Ukraine.
Now, civilian losses in Ukraine will follow a geometric pattern progression, and resistance against us will only get stronger. Infantries already tried to enter cities – out of 20 paratrooper groups, only one had “provisional” success. Recall the invasion of Mosul-- it’s a rule-- happens with every country, nothing new.
To hold a siege? Over the last decades in Europe-- Serbia being the best example, cities can remain functional under siege for years.
Humanitarian convoys from Europe to Ukraine is only a matter of time.
Our conditional deadline is June. Conditional because in June there will be no economy left in Russia-- there will be nothing left. By and large, next week there will be a collapse (in Russia) to either of the two sides, simply because the situation cannot remain under current conditions.
We have no analyses, we can’t make any forecasts in this chaos, no one will be able to say anything with any certainty (in Russia).
To act through intuition, especially with high emotions, this is no poker game. But our bets will have to grow in size with hope that some option will succeed.
The tragedy is that we can easily miscalculate, and as a result lose everything.
By and large, Russia does not have an out. There are no options for a possible victory, only of losses-- this is it.
100% we’ve repeated our mistake from last century, when we decided to kick the “weak” Japan in order to achieve a quick victory, and it turned our army was in a state of total calamity. Then, we started a war till the victorious end, then we started conscripting the Bolsheviks for re-education in the army. Then these barely-known Bolsheviks picked up their anti-war slogans.
From the pluses: We did everything to ensure there wasn’t even a hint that we sent penal military units to the front. If you conscript political prisoners and the socially undesirables, the moral spirit of the army will be in the negative.
The enemy is motivated. Monstrously motivated. Knows how to fight, plenty of capable commanders. They have weapons and support. We will simply establish a precedent of human catastrophe in the world.
What we are afraid of the most: The top is trying to mask old problems with new problems. Largely for this reason Donbass happened in 2014-- We needed to distract the West from the Russian Spring in Crimea, so Donbass’ so-called crisis had to pull in all of the attention and become a bargaining chip. But even bigger problems started there. Then we decided to pressure Erdogan to get 4 pipes for the Southern Stream (gas) and entered Syria. This is after Suleimani (Islamic Revolutionary Guard) knowingly provided false info to us to solve his own problems.
As a result, we couldn’t resolve the problem with Crimea, and Donbass’ problems didn’t go away. Southern Stream was reduced to 2 pipes (gas), and Syria is hanging-- we leave and Assad will be toppled and we will look like idiots, and staying there is hard and pointless.
I don’t know who come up with the “Blitzkrieg of Ukraine.” Had received all the real inputs, we would have at minimum pointed out that the initial plan is arguable, and that much has to be reassessed. A lot had to be reassessed.
Now we are in crap (PG language mine) up to our necks, and we don’t know what to do. “Denazification” and “demilitarization” are not analytical categories because they don’t have concretely formulated parameters by which meeting of the objectives can be evaluated.
Now we are stuck waiting until some mentally screwed up advisor convinces the top to start a conflict with Europe, with demands to reduce the sanctions-- they either loosen the sanctions or war. What if the West refuses? In that instance I won’t exclude that we will be pulled into a real international conflict, just like Hitler in 1939. Our “Z” will be equated to the Swastika.
Is there a possibility of a localized nuclear strike? Yes. Not for any military objectives. Such a weapon won’t help with the breach of the defenses. But with a goal of scaring everyone else (The West).
We are plowing to create a scenario in which to blame everything on Ukraine. Naryshkin (Director of Foreign Intelligence Service of Russia) and his SVR is digging the ground to prove that Ukraine was secretly building nuclear weapons. F*&K. They are hammering at what we’ve already analyzed and closed the book on: We can’t just make up any evidence or proof and existence of specialists and Uranium. Ukraine has a ton of depleted isotope 238-- this is nothing. The production cycle is such that you can’t do it in secret.
A dirty bomb can’t be created in secret. Ukraine’s old nuclear power plants can only produce the material as a by-product in minimal amounts. The Americans have such monitoring at these plants with MAGATE that even talking about this is stupid.
Do you know what will start in a week? Let’s let it be even in 2 weeks. We are going to be so screwed we will start reminiscing about the good ol’ hungry days of the 90s. As the markets are being closed, Nabiullina appears to be taking the right steps, but it’s like plugging holes on a ship with your fingers. The situation will break through anyway and even stronger. Nothing will be solved in 3 or 5 or 7 days any longer.
Kadyrov is kicking his hoofs not without reason. They have their own adventures. He created a name for himself as the invincible-- and if he falls down once his own people will remove him.
Next. Syria. “Guys-- hold on, everything will end in Ukraine and then we will fortify our positions in Syria.” And now at any moment our contingent stationed there may run out of resources, and then ridiculous heat will come…. Turkey is closing the strait, and sending supplies to Syria by air is the same as heating an oven with cash. Please notice-- this is all happening at the same time, and we don’t even have time to throw it all in one pile for analysis.
Our current position is like Germany in 1943-1944-- but that’s our STARTING position in Ukraine.
Sometimes I get lost in this overwork, sometimes feels as if this is just a dream and all is as it was before.
With regards to prisons-- it will be worse. The nuts will start to get tightened till blood. Everywhere. To be frank, purely technically, this is the only way to maintain any control of the situation. We are already in total mobilization mode. But we can’t remain in this mode for long, but our timetables are unknown, and it will only get worse. Governance always goes astray from mobilization. And just imagine: You can sprint 100m-- but try that in a marathon.
And so, with the Ukrainian question we lunged as if going for a 100m sprint, but turned out we’d signed up for a marathon.
And this is a rather brief overview of the current events.
To offer further cynicism, I don’t believe that Putin will press the red button to destroy the entire world.
First, it’s not one person that decides, and someone will refuse. There are lots of people there and there is no single “red” button.
Second, there are certain doubts that it actually functions properly. Experience shows that the more transparent the control procedures, the easier it is to identify problems. And where it’s mirky as to who controls what and how, but always reports full of bravado, is where there are always problems.
I am not sure that the “red button” system functions according to the declared data. Besides, plutonium fuel must be changed every 10 years.
Third, and this is the most disgusting and sad, I personally do not believe in Putin’s will to sacrifice himself when he does not even allow his closest ministers and advisors to be in his vicinity. Whether it’s due to his fear of COVID or a possible assassination is irrelevant. If you are scared for the most trusted people to be near you, then how could you possibly choose to destroy yourself and those dearest to you.
This morning, Noah Smith took a look at the efficacy of the financial sanctions so far (less than one week in-- and already "considerable effects on the Russian economy and way of life.") The goal is to "gum up" Russia’s financial system-- "making it hard for Russian banks to get loans, make loans, process payments, get their hands on foreign currency, and so on. It’s working so far-- the ruble is at a record low, Russian banks are closing foreign branches, and there are plenty of other signs of stress in the system. And let’s also recall that these sanctions have several potential purposes:
to hurt Putin’s rich allies and induce them to pressure Putin to stop the war
to hurt Russia’s ability to sustain its war effort in Ukraine
to increase popular unrest in Russia and thus pressure Putin to stop the war
He shared this translation of a post from Russian economist Maxim Mironov, who now works at IE Business School in Madrid:
Smith's point is that Russia will be hardest hit in two areas: consumer lifestyles (including medicines, one of Russia's top imports from Europe) and defense manufacturing. "In the past 15 years," wrote Smith, "Russians have become used to living a reasonably comfortable life. It’s a nearly-developed consumer society that has become accustomed to deep economic integration with Europe. Now suddenly that is all being yanked away-- Russians are being asked to go back to the economic isolation, shortages, and hardship of the 90s, or even of the USSR, almost overnight. I can’t say I know what political effect that will have. Will Russians rally around the flag and see this as an attack from the West that they need to resist? Or will discontent over Putin’s pointless war of choice rise and rise? Only time will tell."
As for the defense industry, "A weak ruble and bank cutoffs make it harder to buy imported components and machines for defense manufacturing. For example, precision-guided weapons, vehicle electronics, and communications equipment all need computer chips (semiconductors) to function. There was already a global chip shortage before the war, and now there are signs that Russian manufacturers are having trouble getting their hands on what they need... What this all means is that the Russian military hardware that the Ukrainians are destroying is not going to be easy to replace. The website Oryx maintains a meticulously curated list of visually confirmed equipment losses, and the toll so far is pretty stunning-- 845 Russian vehicles lost in the first 11 days of combat, including 130 tanks. And the true numbers are likely to be significantly higher, given that many losses don’t get clear visual confirmation. Already the Russians are starting to supplement their military vehicles with regular old pickup trucks. With the Russian defense industry crippled by sanctions, we might be looking at a severely weakened Russian army for a decade or more."
And a dose of reality: