The jury is still not in on Pepe Escobar’s triumphalist assessment. However, evidence is accumulating of a colossal maskirovka operation. Pepe’s exposition of recent events and their aftermath should be read carefully and sympathetically, but final judgment should still be held in reserve.
When the lightning of History strikes, better cut to the chase in our first draft.
Here we go.
After the extraordinary events in Russia during The Longest Day, President Putin wins on all counts.
Among other feats, he has made an absolute, inter-galactic ass of the whole collective West MSM – all over again.
He rallied virtually every Russian to end the Special Military Operation (SMO) – or “almost war” (according to some business circles) quicker.
He – and the FSB – amassed a formidable list of traitors and 5th and 6th columnists, which will be properly dealt with.
And he now enjoys unlimited freedom to deploy de facto Counter-Terrorist Operation (CTO) martial law powers.
As much as Putin helped perennial Lukashenko in August 2020, preventing regime change in Belarus, good ol’ Luka prevented Russia from sliding into civil war in June 2023.
A complex wide-ranging counter-terror op is now in effect in Moscow and beyond, while assorted Western sub-zoology specimens are stunned, dazed and confused: wasn’t that supposed to be Putin meeting his Czar Nicholas II moment?
A first glance at the chessboard tells us that all the pieces seem to be falling in their right places.
Prighozin gets a golden parachute in Belarus. Shoigu may be about to be sacked, perhaps even Gerasimov (yes, there are deeply dysfunctional layers inside the Ministry of Defense). The Wagner musicians will be incorporated as a regular Army Corps. They may keep doing business in Africa: demand is huge.
So what really happened after The Longest Day? Hefty CIA funds may have changed hands. But in the end the “coup” could turn out to be the Greatest Russian Trolling of the West Ever.
The Mother of All Maskirovkas
Once again, facts on the ground prove Putin is the undisputed champion of Russia. After keeping a strategic silence for a few hours, his intervention gathered full support from the civilian population, the FSB, the Chechens, the Army, the Communists, everyone.
The exact terms of the deal between Luka and Prighozin, with help from the governor of the Tula region, Alexey Dyumin, are still unclear.
Prighozin said he was satisfied with the terms. Peskov confirmed on the record that a criminal case against Prigozhin would be dropped. A key Prighozin demand was the twin resignation of Defense Minister Shoigu and Chief of Staff Gerasimov. That may – or may not – happen in the immediate future.
And that brings us to the still fascinating possibility this was the Mother of All Maskirovkas. Prigozhin sets up all this circus just to get a meeting in Moscow with Shoigu and Gerasimov.
Talk about an overkill just to go out on a date.
The Mother of All Maskirovkas scenario also implies a move worthy of 5D chess.
On Saturday, Wagner was 200 km away from Moscow.
Yet on Sunday, Wagner was 100 km away from Kiev.
Next level Sun Tzu Art of War, anyone?
Between sovereignty and betrayal
Alexander Dugin correctly points out how this was also an exercise in Sovereignty: “Only Sovereign Lukashenko, together with Sovereign Putin himself, confronted [Prighozin]…It turned out that many can frame the President and the people, acting in the shadows and apparently on his behalf, but saving the Fatherland in a critical situation is not their specialty.”
The corollary is that Russia needs “a sovereign elite, otherwise everything will repeat itself.”
As for the dazed and confused collective West, especially the NATO-Kiev junta, with everyone instantly rebranding Wagner from “terrorists” to “freedom fighters”, getting bogged down in their own swamp is the art they excel in.
Mainstream media spun that the proverbial “Western officials” were “taken by surprise” by the mutiny. That depends on the amount of funds that changed hands, and in which direction, during the preparation.
The SMO, now CTO keeps rolling along. The Russian Army continues to fight, undisturbed. The “counter-offensive” remains teetering over the edge of a cliff, ready to kiss the black void.
Putin winning on all counts implies the whole civilian population – and the military – engaged into preserving him and the Russian institutions, as well as perfecting them. There’s absolutely no nation anywhere across the collective West where we find this level of citizen support.
Russian politics is a special animal. It works at the highest level and also at grassroots level – unlike in the West, where the norm is deep hatred between the elites and the people.
Of course it should always be stressed it’s the less patriotic Russian oligarchs who run away every time something approaching The Longest Day takes place.
For a few hours, the West was betting heavily on the dismemberment of Russia. Not now. And not in the foreseeable future.
The succession is already being prepared, by Team Putin and selected patriotic oligarchs. Among the contenders, there’s a secret name that will stun everyone when it pops up. He’s still invisible in terms of public opinion, and works in the shadows. His name should remain secret for the time being.
As it stands, what matters is that Russia as whole emerged even stronger out of The Longest Day. The man and woman in the street showed himself and herself, once again, as a true patriot, ready to defend the Motherland whatever it takes.
There was no confrontation between those who are pro-Russian institutions and those who are pro-Wagner. People actually support both. People regarded Wagner like the “polite green men” who helped to peacefully retake Crimea in 2014. Facing them, there was not a single policeman or military.
So Putin is stronger than ever. But everyone should always keep this in mind: the one thing he can’t forgive is betrayal.