An attempt to decipher them
The Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, Valery Gerasimov, gave the first interview after his appointment to the additional post of commander of the Combined Group of Troops in the SVO zone.
There are interviews that are light, direct, imbued with the individuality of the important figure with whom the conversation is going on. And there are interviews that are emphatically official, with clearly verified formulations, without the slightest attempts to flirt with the audience.
The interview of Army General Valery Gerasimov “Arguments and Facts” definitely belongs to this second category. And this is quite understandable. The owner of two (or rather, three important positions — Gerasimov is also the first deputy Minister of Defense Sergei Shoigu) did not have a task to please someone or impress the audience with the brilliance of his wit. It seems to me that he had the task of sending several important political signals — but not to everyone, but only to those who are sufficiently aware of the topic in order to read and decipher them.
Photo: Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation
In the “preface” to the interview with the Chief of the General Staff, its author, my former colleague at MK, and now a journalist at Aif, Viktor Sokirko, mentioned its brevity. I add to this: most of Valery Gerasimov’s brief interview is devoted not to today, but to the days of yesterday or even the day before yesterday.
Officially, Valery Gerasimov’s dialogue with the journalist was timed to coincide with the 260th anniversary of the General Staff. And that is why the current head of the “brain of the Russian army” looked into history: he mentioned Empress Catherine II, who initiated the creation of the General Staff, Count Zakhar Chernyshev, the first among his predecessors, about the difficult everyday life of the General Staff after the revolution of 1917 and during the Great Patriotic War …
And this excursion into history should not be perceived as a “side dish to the main dish”, but as an indication: the current international crisis should not be perceived as an isolated episode, but as another link in a long chain of crises that the Russian army had to “sort out”.
But let’s get back to today’s link. Here are the statements of the new commander of the SVO, which, in my opinion, are key. “In order to stabilize the situation, protect new territories and conduct offensive operations, the General Staff needed to put into effect plans for partial mobilization.”
Have you noticed this wording — “to carry out offensive actions”? We will not consider this an unambiguous statement of intent. Like, Gerasimov firmly promised to launch a powerful offensive soon. Serious military leaders do not do anything like this in media interviews — due at least only to the fact that these interviews are read, including those on whom it is planned to attack. But what sounded, it sounded. The words about “offensive operations” definitely appeared in an interview with Valery Gerasimov for a reason.
We continue to decipher important public signals of the Chief of the General Staff. In the context of a conversation about partial mobilization, Valery Gerasimov first mentioned that “there have been no such events since the Great Patriotic War,” and then said: “It should be noted that the system of mobilization training in our country has not been fully adapted to the new modern economic relations. So I had to fix everything on the go.”
An important, very important confession. And the importance of this recognition lies in the fact that it was made by the Chief of the General Staff. As Valery Gerasimov said a little below, the main goal of partial mobilization was achieved: “As a result of the coordinated and professional actions of the officers of the General Staff in cooperation with the authorities of the constituent entities of the Russian Federation, 300 thousand citizens who were in reserve were called up for military service.” But this main goal was achieved at a very significant cost. I would formulate the main message of the NGSH signal here as follows: the lessons are understood, learned, taken into account.
And here is the most important of Valery Gerasimov’s signals: “Modern Russia has not yet known such a level and intensity of military operations.” She didn’t know, but she knows now and will know more in the future. General of the Army Gerasimov: “The plan of construction and development of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation…. approved by the President of the Russian Federation and maybe adjusted when existing and new threats to the military security of the Russian Federation change. Today, such threats are the aspirations of the North Atlantic Alliance to expand at the expense of Finland and Sweden, as well as the use of Ukraine as a tool for waging a hybrid war against our country.”
After reading these lines, I thought for a long time: is it an accident that the Baltic direction first appears in the list of threats and only then “the use of Ukraine as a tool for waging a hybrid war against our country”?
Am I too carried away by “deciphering hidden political signals” and find them even where they are not? Maybe yes, and maybe no. We simply don’t have enough information to come to a definite conclusion.
But we have the following information to think about. Russian Ambassador to Estonia Vladimir Lipaev, who is leaving the place of his foreign business trip due to an acute diplomatic conflict between Moscow and Tallinn, on the air of the program “Solovyov Live”: “Estonia is actively arming, it is unclear, however, why. It is planned to put the most modern types of conventional weapons here, which are capable of holding St. Petersburg at gunpoint, and a medium-range missile defense system is being created.”
It is unlikely that these two interviews were coordinated. I think that not even just “unlikely”, but definitely not coordinated. But their coincidence in time allows us to form a more complete and distinct idea of the dynamics of what is happening. In a month, it will be one year since the start of its. But this anniversary will not be a reason to say that the most difficult thing is over. The most difficult, the hardest, the most dramatic is still waiting for Russia (and not only Russia) ahead.