No Minister

Posts Tagged ‘President Vladimir Putin

Getting the propaganda right

with 12 comments

Traditionally the best propaganda was held to be the one that was consistent across all media to all audiences.

Of course having the power of the State is the key to the effort, both in being able to broadcast the propaganda across every medium and suppress the arguments against it.

The whole process has probably never been better summed up than by the master propagandist Joseph Goebbels, who supposedly said:

“If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.”

Nowadays of course it’s incredibly difficult for such an effort to be pulled off – although it can be done (see Twitter and C-19). But nowadays propagandists feel the need to tailor their propaganda to the particular audience (see New York Times on any issue) and with the rise of the Internet that’s harder to pull off, especially when you can’t use the FBI to feed your crap to the Social Media giants. Hence, Russia’s propaganda problem, neatly summarised here:

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Written by Tom Hunter

January 17, 2023 at 7:40 am

Potemkin’s Army

with 2 comments

I see there are reports coming from Russia to the effect Putin’s nuclear weapons are so decrepit most, if not all, no not work. For some time I have suspected this might be so. No wonder simultaneous reports have Putin fleeing to Venezuela, should he live long enough to lose his war.

This reminds me of an amusing incident in Fiji.

In 1992 Adolf and The Cook made their second of twenty-one annual winter pilgrimages to Fiji.

It was a ten day stay at the Shangri-La Fijian resort with chauffer driven airport transfers. Right on cue, there appeared a sparkling black Mercedes with a snappily dressed little dark fellow at the door. About four miles out of Nadi there is a very long, straight and moderately steep incline up which an old bus struggled, belching black smoke. Our intrepid driver closed on the bus and followed at 20 mph in the cloud of smoke. I leaned over and tapped him on the shoulder .

‘Can you pull out and overtake before I die from these fumes?’

‘I sorry sir, I can’t do that.’

‘Why not?’

‘Toyota motor.’

The following year we bought a twenty year term timeshare next to Musket Cove on Plantation Island.

I must say those annual winter holidays were the highlight of the year, paid for by purchasing a year’s supply of clothes from Nagindas Menswear in Nadi – 25% of the Auckland prices for the same brand.

Written by adolffinkensen

December 9, 2022 at 7:12 pm

Posted in Russia

Tagged with ,

The Case For A Preemptive Strike

with 27 comments

It need not include nuclear weapons.

As Putin’s bellicosity reaches heights rivalled only by Biden’s stupidity, the likelihood of tactical nuclear strikes by Russia grows each day. Such a strike or strikes should be viewed as an act of war against NATO countries which would suffer horrendously from radiation poisoning.

Therefore, I believe NATO should knock out the so-called tactical nuclear weapons being moved up by Putin before they get within range of Ukraine. The next question is:- can NATO knock out Russia’s nuclear ICBM fleet without using nuclear weapons? Better still, can NATO destroy just the command and control facilities needed to transmit Putin’s nuclear decision to the missile silos? If these missiles are launched, can NATO destroy them in the air, over Russia?

I hope they can.

Written by adolffinkensen

October 10, 2022 at 2:24 pm

Oh and Sug, Don’t Forget to Say Your Prayers*

with 11 comments

So four days ago the US Presidential Brain Trust actually saw fit to allow President Ambulatory Root Vegetable to make yet another speech while loaded up on Risperidone, Lomotil and god knows what else.

Big mistake as he proceeded to say the following:

“[Putin was] not joking when he talks about the use of tactical nuclear weapons or biological or chemical weapons… We have not faced the prospect of Armageddon since Kennedy and the Cuban Missile Crisis.”

Ha ha ha…. Nuclear Armageddon against the Rooskies. Who had that on their 2022 calendar? How many of you actually had Ron Klain giving the “go-code” on their score cards? Or Valerie Jarrett, Susan Rice or Barack Obama – or whoever is controlling President Non Compos Mentis. He only has flashes of rationality when he can reach into his nasty old long-term memory of hurling toxic invective and threats at his political enemies – which now constitute at least half of the citizens of the USA. That revolting display in front of Independence Hall was pitch perfect on his part: when the jackboot fits.

As has happened before US allies were none too pleased:

Asked about Biden’s remarks, French President Emmanuel Macron said it was crucial to speak with care on the nuclear threat.
“I have always refused to engage in political fiction, and especially … when speaking of nuclear weapons,” Macron said at a EU summit in Prague. “On this issue, we must be very careful”.

Sanna Marin, Finland’s [hot] Prime Minister, later appeared to rebuke Mr Biden over his “off-ramp” comments. Asked about the remarks, Ms Marin said: “The way out of this conflict is for Russia to leave Ukraine. That is the way out of the conflict.”

Well yes. But remember: Biden will get [the Alliances] working again. Shorter Macron and Marin to Biden.
Shut.
Up.

Of course it didn’t take long for the Whitehouse to walk this back, as usual.

Of the threats now being chucked back and forth, there’s a very interesting analysis by a guy who spent a good chunk of his US military career dealing with nuclear command systems and targeting – What if Putin nukes Ukraine? – and he makes a good point that applies to both Putin and Biden:

Contrary to what most Americans think (including, inexcusably, some members of Congress), the US president does not have sole authority to order a nuclear strike. The president must originate the order, but there are carefully-constructed and very deliberate checks and balances in place that are not optional and in fact are required for the launch to take place.

I find it almost impossible to believe that even Putin can simply tell his chief of the general staff to fire a nuke at Ukraine, even such as I have described above, and it simply gets done, no questions asked. And Putin of course knows that and knows equally well that to force the issue could lead to a coup. 

I had not explored that aspect of the threat simply because I figure that MAD still applies and as in the ending of the movie Wargames, there is no “limited” nuclear attack scenario that does not lead to an all-out nuclear exchange.

That author is also not impressed by the latest blurt from retired General (and ex-CIA head) David Patreaus, to the effect that if Russia did launch a nuke against the Ukraine then NATO would use conventional weapons to take out most the Russian military on their Western front:

I’m sorry, but that is crazy and dangerous. No nuclear power would refuse to escalate as another one attempted to obliterate its armed forces and government. (Notice as well that General Petraeus does not say the president will go to Congress to seek a declaration of war — in his mind, the president apparently just gives the order.)

See this also: War Gaming a Nuke attack on Ukraine.

Perhaps it’s not just Biden and Putin that need to STFU?

*Classic film allusion in the title.

BTW, running people like Biden seems to have become a Democrat thing. The following creature is trying to get elected as a Senator for Pennsylvania

And of course we can’t forget…

Who blew up Nord Stream?

with 26 comments

Was it the Russians or the Americans? Or maybe the Ukrainians? Which ever side you land on seems to be an almost ideological position, making it difficult to really explore the question. However, Mark Stein is not afraid of doing so, with his guest, James Melville:

People say, well this couldn’t be the Americans because Denmark and Germany are their NATO allies. Well, when they bugged out of Kabul, they didn’t let the British or anybody else know that they were abandoning Bagram Airbase. Those guys just woke up in the morning and found that all the Yanks had left! So, so, if they were doing something like this, it’s entirely possible that they wouldn’t let the Danes and the Germans in on it?

Mark Stein

Full 1 hour Mark Stein Show of which the above clip is just one small part.

Sky News Australia host, Chris Kenny is likewise not afraid of tacking the questions, with his guest, Global Directions think tank Managing Director Keith Suter:

Through the pipeline, Russia has a source to almost unlimited earnings from Europe by selling gas, if it chooses to; but also, it’s main point of leverage over Europe over energy, so why would it blow up it’s own key, strategic, link?

Chris Kenny

Recently, however, Jordan Peterson did suggest that Russia would be likely to turn off the gas at some point, so maybe there is an argument to be made that Russia did it. Though, turning off the gas versus damaging the pipe so that it would take time to repair before it could be used again seems to be an extreme way of reducing gas supply to Europe.

NZ Disinformation Project key researcher, Dr. Sanjana Hattotuwa considers anyone not falling into line in the correct manner (as determined by who, in particular?) to be promoting Russian propaganda:

Everyone’s an expert or a propagandist; or maybe people are just trying to figure out what the hell is going on and maybe, just maybe, are trying to find a way out that doesn’t involve plunging the whole world into a war that destroys everything and everyone in it’s path.

Meanwhile, just streamed live discussion run by Tim Poole, who is the intersection between my generation Gen X, and my Gen-Z sons. They will watch Tim, when he interviews people they watch, while as he also interviews people I watch. In the video below, they start the discussion on NATO threatening retaliation from the 5 minute mark:

I’m assuming they are not talking about Nord Stream, but they might be, because Germany relies on it. But it’s a weird thing, because; I’m trying to figure out what they are trying to say. Ok, are they blaming Russia for it, directly: no; but several member states are. If they are, it’s very weird that they are like: Our adversary’s infrastructure was like blown up and we’ll retaliate if someone blows up our infrastructure; it’s like; it sounds like you blew it up, and now you’re worried they’re going to blow up yours.

Tim Poole

Written by Lucia Maria

September 30, 2022 at 1:35 pm

Another one bites the concrete

with one comment

De dunt, dunt, dunt,…. de da da dunt….

If you’ve never seen it, the movie, The Hunt For Red October is excellent, one of the few adaptations of a best selling book that is as good as the original material (accepting the usual limitations and short cuts of Hollywood).

Towards the end of the movie, with all the action done, there’s a funny scene where the Soviet Ambassador – having been part of the original bullshit story about Red October being a threat to the USA in order to get the Yanks to help sink it – has to admit to the US Secretary of Defence another terrible truth, to which the Secretary has only one answer:

And so we come to another edition of my original post..The Mystery of The Dead Russian Oligarchs.

Ex-Putin Ally Plunges to His Death ‘From a Great Height’ at Moscow Aviation Institute:

An aviation expert has become the latest Russian official to fall to his death in mysterious circumstances.

Anatoly Gerashchenko, the former head of Moscow’s Aviation Institute (MAI), died in a mysterious fall inside the institute’s headquarters in the Russian capital on Tuesday.

The organization’s press office released a statement describing the 73-year-old’s death as “the result of an accident,” adding that his untimely demise was a “a colossal loss for the MAI and the scientific and pedagogical community.”

Russian news outlet Izvestia, citing an unnamed source, reported that Gerashchenko “fell from a great height” and careened down several flights of stairs. He was reportedly pronounced dead at the scene.

AYFKM?

Seriously. Can’t we go back to Polonium-210 poisoning? It’s so much more elegant in terms of “You know who did this – and you can’t prove it”

Ok, this is not jumping out of a window but still….

Funnily enough the Soviet Ambassador in that clip is named Andrei.

Hey, I think the lyrics can be easily re-worked.

Written by Tom Hunter

September 22, 2022 at 7:07 pm

IS HISTORY REPEATING ITSELF?

with 29 comments

Student’s of history will know that the Russian mobilisation on 30 July 1914 was the catalyst for WW1. 2 days later Germany responded with its own mobilisation and declaration of war on Russia, On 2 August Germany declared war on France and invaded Belgium. The next day Great Britain declared war on Germany with Sir Edward Grey (British Foreign Secretary) reportedly saying ‘The lamps are going out all over Europe, we shall not see them lit again in our lifetime’.

Is it too dramatic to suggest that with Putin’s declaration of partial mobilisation we are seeing history repeating itself. I think not. Putin has backed himself into a corner and has been forced to come out swinging … that along with his less than subtle references to the use of nuclear weapons is raising the temperature to boiling point. The problem for Putin and the West is that a diplomatic solution (if that were ever possible) is clearly now off the table. Putin has to win otherwise his presidency is at risk and he knows that. I guess he is counting on the continued domestic turmoil in the US in the lead up to the mid-term elections to give him space to act but he shouldn’t necessarily count on that.

We certainly live in dangerous times.

I’m sure Andrei and those Russian trolls working out of 57 Messines Road will have an entirely different view of developments … it’s the West’s fault and Russia’s special military operation is going entirely to plan … LOL.

No, this doesn’t foretell my return to NM as a regular blogger but I did say I retained the right to occasionally post on matters of great importance and this, by any measure, meets that criteria. One slip- up and nuclear war is in the offing.

Written by The Veteran

September 22, 2022 at 4:47 pm

Posted in Russia

Tagged with ,

It’s Just a Feint Wound

with 10 comments

In Ukraine back in April, after it became obvious that the initial Russian plan of a quick decapitation of the Ukraine government and military had failed, the Russians decided to withdraw from the NorthEast and Northern parts of the country, giving up on taking the capital of Kyiv and sending their forces into the SouthEast and Southwest to hold the gains made there and enlarge them.

Russophiles immediately proclaimed that this was a “feint” designed to overwhelm the Ukranians in the Donbas. I doubted that, having already pointed out a month earlier that:

The failure to quickly achieve its objectives may see it resort to more … traditional Russian tactics where they’ll stand off from targets and hit them with artillery and rockets, keep firing until there’s no longer even rubble to bounce, and then occupy the place.

Shelled Ukrainian fields

Which is exactly what started to happen in the Donbas. Swamping areas with artillery fire, moving in troops, and then moving cautiously beyond the captured areas, taking care to stay within range of resupply. But that kind of movement takes time, and was never going to create the conditions for a fast, significant advance. What you saw was a lot of stuff that looked like the Western Front in WWI, or more pointedly what was seen on the Eastern Front in 1944-45.

But you’d have to ask how much actual military damage was being done to the Ukrainians as opposed to their fields.

The primary focus of Russian artillery is what can be seen from the front lines. It looks like the proliferation of MANPADS is preventing Russian drones from operating beyond the Forward Edge of the Battle Area (FEBA). Without drones and with what appears to me minimal electronic warfare capability, Russian artillery can’t hit targets deep behind the lines. Instead, the Russians are swamping areas with artillery fire and moving cautiously beyond them, taking care to stay within range of resupply. This kind of movement takes time, and it will never create the conditions for a significant advance.

Given the documented failure of Russian Army logistics (March 24) there was never going to be a repeat of the mad dash to Kyiv or anywhere else. Then there were the problems with the men of the Russian Army themselves:

The Russian army has always been brutal and clumsy, with senior officers treating troops as cannon fodder and not caring about their lives, which is not unique to the current iteration of the Russian Army.

But that can be overcome to a degree if you have a decent mid-level officer corps and a NCO (Non-Commissioned Officer) level to lead men in close quarter combat. However, that’s not what has happened in the last decade of trying to transform the Russian Army. Read this Twitter thread about the experiences of ordinary officers like Dr. Andrei Ivanov and Lieutenant Kirill Olenyev for another insight into why their Army has adopted WWI tactics:

Lieutenant Kirill Olenyev, a logistics officer, found himself in a similar situation. He was posted to a unit in Yoshkar-Ola but found himself being used for menial labour, prompting his decision to quit a year later. Olenyev’s pay was low, he had no free time, and his duties were limited to shoveling earth, cleaning his unit’s area and mowing the grass – things for which, he noted, he did not need to spend five years studying at a military university.

Without officers like that you’re left with troops that are poorly led, take no initiative and simply follow orders, which then requires more senior officers to get involved – which is why so many generals have been killed in this war.

Moreover ordinary soldiers weren’t told anything about why they were fighting Ukrainians except that they were Nazis and the local civilians would welcome them with garlands of flowers for having saved them: a story that was never going to hold up when they got into combat and saw who they were fighting and killing! Soldiers who were brothers of the soil basically – and no flowers from the civilians.

But the modern age has also added corruption to the Russian Army’s problems:

  • Units full of ghost soldiers where officers would declare they had 500 men, when they only had 350 and pocketing the pay difference.
  • Troops who never trained properly because corrupt officers and contractors were selling the fuel and equipment allocated for exercises on the black market.
  • Helmets made in 1945, because corrupt contractors simply did not make the new ones that were paid or even delivering dirt-cheap fibre glass ones.
  • Russian body armour using cheap steel plates instead of kevlar.
  • Forty year old rations inside packages stamped “manufactured in 2020”.
  • Contracts being pushed beyond the legal limit in order to retain soldiers.
  • Most of their reserve tanks long since stripped of anything valuable.

All of this has added up to very low morale and soldiers that do the bare minimum in order to stay safe before bugging out rather than fight. As you can imagine, if they survive their contract, they’re not re-enlisting for another.

But occupying artillery soaked land can work even with this model. Ground was being slowly gained in Southern Ukraine and in a war of attrition it’s the big boy that wins – eventually – or so the thinking went in many places other than just Russia:

Vladimir Putin bets he can throw in more men and more shells than Ukraine and its Western suppliers can match. He is quite willing to “win” by laying waste to eastern Ukraine even if it means losing three Russian soldiers for every Ukrainian.  When war becomes such gridlocked carnage, each side looks to new game-changing diplomacy, strategies, allies, or weapons to break the deadlock.

For Putin, such escalation means more flesh, steel, and explosives. His country is 28 times bigger than Ukraine, and over three times more populous, with an economy 15 times larger. As for Putin’s financial reserves, the Western oil boycott means increasingly little to him when 40 percent of the planet’s population in India and China are eager to secure near-limitless Russian energy. 

Strangulation then from April to August, and there’s only one way to break that; an offensive. The real question was whether a Ukrainian Army – derived from the old Red Army and equipped with much the same weapons – would be able to pull that off any better?

Turns out that they could and a big part of it was the key phrase, “game-changing weapons“. As that article by Strieff above points out, the West began sending modern artillery (the US M-777), self-propelled artillery (all 155mm stuff) that was farther reaching and more accurate than the Russian weapons, plus the US M-270 Multiple Rocket Launch System and the M-142 HIMARS artillery rocket system. They also started training the Ukrainian troops to use them and loaded them with ammunition, including the GPS-guided M-982 Excalibur round. Excalibur can hit targets as much as 40 miles away with about 2 meters accuracy.

As even this Russian expert was noting in early August, such weapons would make a difference. Ruslan Pukhov is the director of the Center for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies and closely affiliated with the Russian Ministry of Defence – emphasis on artillery:

The SMO once again confirmed the thesis that you can launch hundreds, thousands of unguided projectiles, which are cheap, but all this power is levelled by two guided missiles that accurately hit the target. Two missiles, with all their high cost, will solve more problems than thousands of unguided ones.

Moreover, we have a lot of 122-mm howitzers, which generally fire for only 13 km. Modern Western artillery is more long-range – first of all, we are talking about 155-mm howitzers with a barrel length of 39 caliber, and especially 52 caliber – the latter have a range of up to 40-41 km. The problem of the USSR and Russia lagging behind in the range of artillery fire has been obvious since the eighties, sadly.

In essence, in an offensive they have the same tactical problems as the Russian side – the attacking forces are usually few in number, they come under fire from artillery (which usually cannot be suppressed) and quickly roll back or are unable to hold the newly occupied positions, armoured vehicles are struck massively. Let’s see if the Ukrainians turn out to be something more in this regard.

Through August there were many reports that this new artillery and the HIMARS systems were starting to take out Russian ammunition dumps and artillery positions far behind the frontlines, effectively pushing their artillery back to where they couldn’t cover the troops as well. They were also used for attacks on key road and rail bridges. There were also attacks by Ukrainian partisans and or Special Ops units far behind the lines – especially two seperate attacks on the Saki airbase in Crimea, which destroyed a few planes and forced the others to move to bases even further in the rear, making their support even more fragile.

It all added up to what is called “shaping the battlefield”; preparing the ground for an attack. The final cherry on top was that the Ukrainians seemed to have pulled off their own feint – a real one this time – with President Zelenski openly talking about an offensive in the South against the so-called Kherson Front, causing the Russians to move troops there in preparation, including pulling them from the Kharkiv Front in the North. Most Western observers figured that the latter was a backwater.

Turns out that it wasn’t and as a result, when the Ukrainians hit it on September 6 with fresh, well-trained, well-equipped formations, the advance was everything the Russians had not been able to achieve. At one stage they moved 50 kilometres in two days. Given the amount of propaganda that any war involves – and with the prevalence of Social Media this war pushes it hard – I did not want to comment until the dust had cleared. But by the 10th there was no doubt about the advances, with photos appearing showing Ukrainian troops in cities far behind Russian lines, including the vital road and rail link of Kupyansk, which had been discussed as a goal but likely not a doable one.

Russia abandoned it on Sep 10. With that news and then reports coming from the Pro-Russian Telegram Channel Rybar of the towns of Oskil and then Lyman, well to the South of Kupyansk, falling, it was clear that the Russian front was not just retreating but collapsing, abandoning large amounts of equipment – some of it state-of-the-art.

There seemed to be no massed artillery fire in defence, nor support from the Russian Air Force. Given the “shaping” operations described above that should not have come as a surprise.

The final denouements started with official statements from the Kremlin about a “re-grouping” and an “organised withdrawal” from the next big town of Izyum to defend the Donbas. This did not fool people like the Russian ultranationalist Igor Girkin, who openly attacked the Russian military, followed by military bloggers and talk show guests. Finally the Kremlin made it official:

The Kremlin acknowledged its defeat in Kharkiv Oblast, the first time Moscow has openly recognized a defeat since the start of the February 2022 invasion of Ukraine. Kremlin officials and state media propagandists are extensively discussing the reasons for the Russian defeat in Kharkiv Oblast, a marked change from their previous pattern of reporting on exaggerated or fabricated Russian successes with limited detail. The Kremlin never admitted that Russia was defeated around Kyiv or, later, at Snake Island, framing the retreat from Kyiv as a decision to prioritize the “liberation” of Donbas and the withdrawal from Snake Island as a “gesture of goodwill.”

Kremlin sources are now working to clear Putin of any responsibility for the defeat, instead blaming the loss of almost all of occupied Kharkiv Oblast on underinformed military advisors within Putin’s circle.

After two weeks Ukraine has recovered some 3000 square kilometres that it took the Russians four months to obtain. In the face of setbacks Russophiles have often proclaimed, “Look at the maps”, showing how much of Ukraine they occupy.

Yeah! I’m looking- from March 9 to Sep 13.

This war is not over by a long shot, but it’s even less of a foregone conclusion now than ever. The Ukranians have not been able to maintain this tempo since Sep 13/14, as expected when logistics supply lines are stretched and sheer battle exhaustion and machine wear and tear hit, though they may be able to continue to advance slowly.

Were everyone honest with themselves, I think the Ukrainians are probably just as surprised by the outcome of the Kharkiv offensive as the Russians. The difference is that the Ukrainians will come out of this with high morale and increased confidence in their equipment, tactics, chain of command, and themselves. The Russian units that were mauled over the past week and a half will take months to recover, perhaps never.

The next big questions: what can the Russian military do in response, and what can Putin do?

Written by Tom Hunter

September 18, 2022 at 7:00 am

Jumping Out a Window

with 9 comments

I thought that there was a song from the 1980’s with this title, but I’d forgotten that it was actually a Kiwi band.

This is the original that screened on TVNZ. The band weren’t that keen on TVNZ’s literal interpretation of their song, although I think it holds up pretty well. Their own re-made video merely features their awesome dancing skills!

The thought was prompted by this news,

Head of Russian oil giant Lukoil dies after falling from hospital window:

Oil and gas company Lukoil issued a statement early Thursday confirming the death of Ravil Maganov, 67, “after a severe illness” but did not specify the cause.

The cause was hitting concrete at a high velocity.

At this rate ordinary Russians will be happy to rise to the status of Kulak, since obviously being a billionaire in Russia is too risky even for that amount of money and the lifestyle it brings, as I pointed out a few months ago in The Mystery of The Dead Russian Oligarchs:

It seems that since January of this year six such people have committed suicide. This seems rather a high rate of death for people who seemingly have everything. I admit I didn’t notice any of this until this story broke a few days ago:

On April 18, former vice-president of Gazprombank Vladislav Avaev was found dead in his multi-million apartment on Universitetsky Prospekt in Moscow, together with his wife and daughter.

Murder-Suicide, and the murder of his own family no less. Unusual. Even amazing.

But it gets more amazing. Another two of those six oligarchs, Sergey Protosenya and Vasily Melnikov, also committed suicide after murdering their families.

As far as anyone knows Maganov’s family are okay. Given that he’s dead they’re probably safe, ammirite?

Written by Tom Hunter

September 15, 2022 at 5:16 pm

Andrei will approve of this Fact Check

with 17 comments

I make a practice here at No Minister of bagging the MSM for their shallow ignorance, stupidity and overwhelming Lefty bias, and how ordinary citizens on the Internet can and have done their job for them.

It thus seems entirely fair to look at an example of this where “my side” of an issue is the one getting dunked. This was the original story.

Now there’s no question that the Russian Army has lost more than few senior officers, including several generals, because their command and control problems have led these men far too close to the frontline as they try to get their army to achieve objectives. As a result there are serious stories out of Russia – including from pro-Russian military blogs – of Putin and company dredging through the officer corps back home looking for replacements.

So this story was made to measure for the British Tabloid press. I suppose it should be pointed out that the “premium name brand” MSM sources, especially in the USA, did not go for this story, which had clickbait written all over it. Still, as you can see from images above, it made the tabloids dance for a day.

Which makes the following a lot of fun to read as an ordinary citizen does the investigative work the reporters should have done, and could have done using the same Internet resources. In his case things like:

  • A facial recognition app called PimEyes to identify the people in that photo
  • Google Street View visitor photos to identify the park, the memorials and the specific troops (Border Guards as it turns out
  • A Russian search engine called Yandex to find local Russian news stories of the event.
  • A Russian social network called Odnoklassniki that had a Border Guard group.

Which eventually leads to the identification of Pavel The Obese General – who turns out not to be that at all. Read the whole thread to see how Fact Checking can actually be done nowadays using both the tools and the human networking power of the Internet.

Written by Tom Hunter

July 12, 2022 at 11:52 am