Yet again, Russia's "imminent attack" against Ukraine has started... or something like that.
Look, we're going to explain the Russian attitude towards Ukraine, and hopefully, you won't fall for any hysteria from the lugenpresse on the topic.
Ukraine is a country which is run by "bosses". You can imagine them as warlords, really. It is a country where, if you want to buy a business, you throw the owner in jail and force him to sell it to you for a $1. That's the kind of place we're talking about, here.
Russia knows Ukraine as well or better than Ukrainians even know it, and so that means Russia knows several things:
1) Ukrainians will fight an open invasion like hell (Russians
learned this in 2014/2015).
2) Ukrainians do not trust each other, in general.
3) Ukrainians themselves are divided on many issues.
4) All-out invasion by Russia is probably the only thing that
could unite Ukrainians.
Given these facts, why would Russia be SO STUPID as to openly invade Ukraine with a huge army?
Here's Russia's reality: Russia has "one shot" at a big military move, and that's it. Does it really make sense to sink money and men into Ukraine, gain some more territory, but fight war for one hundred years and go completely bankrupt? Seems like a bad idea, right?
It is. What to do, then, if you're Russia, and still want to regain power in Ukraine?
MONGOL STYLE WARFARE
Mongolia conquered the world, even though they were outnumbered 1,000 to 1. They did this by thinking like hunters, not emperors: you must identify vulnerable prey, corner it, and then kill it.
Like their Mongol cousins, Russia uses the Ukraine conflict to pressure and isolate Ukrainian society and government. The Ukrainian casualties only put more pressure on the Ukrainian government and alienate potential allies, and the ideal scenario is for Russian proxies to regain power in Ukraine and allow Russia to cheaply and easily govern from afar.
By maintaining an aggressive stance in Ukraine, Russia can also confuse strategic adversaries and have them deploy resources in the wrong theatre.
Already, Russia knocked-out a key adversary in Ukraine, Igor Kolomoisky. Once he is killed or forced to flee, he will be replaced by a more pro-Russian warlord, and Russia will have little reason to invade when they already have compliance from a native Ukrainian.
WHERE SHOULD RUSSIA INVADE?
Russia should invade and occupy Gotland, the strategic island in the Baltic Sea. In fact, Gazprom already has a presence, there, and so you could argue the Russians have an existing reconnaissance team on the ground. Control of Gotland would secure Russia's dominance of the Baltic Sea, profitable pipelines and ports, and expand Russia's reach into NATO.
How Russia could cheaply steal Gotland from Sweden will be discussed in a future article.