When, in early childhood, I served urgent service in the USSR Strategic Missile Forces, on the predecessor Topol and Yarsov, the medium-range mobile missile system RSD-10 Pioneer (according to NATO classification), we had three types of combat readiness:
- “permanent”, when duty crews are in the barracks, in a twenty-minute readiness to enter the field area;
- “military danger” when the crew on duty is in a stationary position, directly in the vehicle, in immediate readiness to enter the field area;
- “full”, when the regiment secretly unfolded in the field area, which increased its chances of surviving after the first strike of the enemy.
At the same time, the regiment managed to launch its missiles in any case, since the installations of the start battalions (regardless of location and level of combat readiness) were in constant readiness for launch, which according to the standards was carried out during 2 minutes (flight time “Pershing” and "Tomahawks" was 5-6 minutes), but in reality the prepared calculations were enough for 40 seconds.
That is, the increase in the level of combat readiness was not made in order to have time to answer (they did in any case), but in order to increase the chances of their own units to survive by deploying them in advance into battle formations. Let me remind you that one of the main reasons (though not the only one) for the Soviet defeats of the summer of 1941 was that the enemy had anticipated the Soviet command with operational deployment. The result is lost frontier battles, the loss of thousands of pieces of equipment (not inferior to German in quality and superior in number), as well as virtually the entire personnel of the Red Army and a retreat thousands of kilometers into the territory.
The army and the country should be ready for war, even at a time when there seems to be no one to fight. Moreover, it is necessary to be ready when a hybrid war with a geopolitical adversary goes on for more than one year and at any moment a heated conflict can immediately break out with several neighbors who are thoughtfully pushed into the war with us by that same geopolitical adversary.
I have already written that all conflicts in which today, in one form or another, Russia participates are interrelated. Until now, the fronts have intensified in turns: Georgia, Syria, Ukraine, again Syria. But now we come to the situation of a radical change.
Turkey, having shot down a Russian bomber in the sky of Syria, was in a strategic trap. If she accepts the status quo, with the Syrian sky closed to her and the border closing, Erdogan’s regime loses the geopolitical game that it began a decade ago. Ankara, which claimed the first role in the Middle East and almost to re-create (in a new format) the Ottoman Empire, loses even the status of a regional power.
At the same time, it should be understood that Erdogan has an extremely difficult domestic political situation. To put it mildly, a significant part of the Turkish elite dislikes him. It is also not clear to what extent the purges carried out by him in the army protected him from the traditional Turkish surprises with the military. In any case, the military does not need a weak (loser) leader. Meanwhile, politicians in Turkey who lost the political struggle were hanged back in the seventies. And far less stained with blood than Erdogan.
The concentration of Turkish troops on the Syrian border (albeit under the specious pretext of fighting ISIL, at the request of the United States), in conditions of confrontation with Russia, creates conditions for a sudden escalation (which may even be accidental, and may disguise as accidental). In any case, for Erdogan, now the war is a way out more preferable than a retreat under Russian pressure. This is even without taking into account the Kurdish factor, which is an additional irritant for Turkey.
In war, he can count on covert (and not very) support from the United States, Saudi Arabia and Qatar. The war gives him the opportunity not to mask the alliance with ISIS. He may try to stimulate the defrosting of the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh and, in principle, play to destabilize the Caucasus.
Of course, the war also stimulates the consolidation of the Russian-Syrian-Iranian union and, possibly, the formalization of relations with the Kurds. But, on the other hand, it will require certainty from NATO. Yes, Greece has dreamed all its life to fight with Turkey, and not with Russia. Yes, in the Balkans, in principle, pro-Russian sentiments are strong and, given all this, NATO cannot side with Turkey. But also to keep silent, in the event of a military conflict between a NATO member and Russia, against which the bloc was always directed, NATO will not be able (then the Alliance will lose its meaning of existence). A compromise option could be peacekeeping attempts on behalf of the EU and NATO, under the threat of increasing sanctions and even rendering military technical assistance to Turkey (without entering into direct military actions on its side).
The West (the US and the EU) will have an ideal opportunity during mediation in negotiations to regain positions in the Middle East that were lost during fruitless attempts to remove Assad by military means.
It is clear that if politicians in the Caucasus are cautious enough and in an open conflict with Russia because of Turkey they will not even get involved under US guarantees (they know the price of these guarantees well), then Ukrainian leaders have a worse situation than Erdogan. The Minsk process has already led to the isolation of Ukraine from the leading EU countries, to the loss of its financial support for the West, without which the country cannot survive even a year. The primorozhenny conflict in the Donbass against the background of the complete collapse of the economy and the impoverishment of the masses made Poroshenko, the government of Yatsenyuk and even Rada, consisting for a third of the “heroes of the Maidan” and the “heroes of the ATO” hated not only for the Nazi militants (always considered that the overthrow of Yanukovich is only the first stage of the Nazi revolution), but also for the liberal-European integration mass of “creative” Maidan hamsters, already ready to merge in ecstasy with the Nazis in the rebellion against Poroshenko, as they most recently merged with them in the rebellion against Yanukov icha
Of course, such a rebellion will finish Ukraine. But Poroshenko-Yatsenyuk from this is not easier, because first of all he will finish them off. The only way to ward off the danger of insurrection is to intensify the fighting in the Donbas. In fact, to break the Minsk truce and start a new war.
So far, Kiev has been restrained only by the danger of an instant military defeat, with complete indifference of the West (Paris and Berlin were quite clearly opposed to the violation of the Minsk agreements). But, if we enter into a conflict simultaneously with Turkey, as a military ally of Erdogan, then we can expect that the Russian forces stretched across all fronts will finish Ukraine not fast enough. Moreover, Russia may not immediately translate the civil war in Ukraine into the format of an interstate conflict, and the Donbass militia is not capable of a deep breakthrough towards Kiev due to insufficient numbers. Kiev can expect to become, along with Turkey, the object of Euro-American peacekeeping. In the end, Moscow’s plans in Ankara and Kiev can only be guessed at, but the fact that Washington is losing with them will bless any provocation against Russia they are sure and will try to use this factor to their advantage.
During the new stage of the war in the Donbass, Poroshenko will try to utilize another part of the Nazi formations and weaken the rest as much as possible. Then, in the course of Western peacekeeping, exchange part of the territories (even if not two, but three or five regions) for a world guaranteed by NATO. This is his old dream. Moreover, NATO peacekeepers already need him and will be needed not to attack the lost territories (NATO will not fight with Russia because of him), but to protect the government from the Ukrainian Nazis, to disarm their gangs and stabilize the regime.
In this regard, the simultaneous or close to the time the performance of Turkey and Ukraine in the form of a series of growing provocations, quickly turning into open hostilities, is not just very likely, but is almost the only way of political survival of the regimes and physical survival of their leaders.
Note that for Russia, the activation of Ukraine will mean a threat to the rear communications, providing not only communication with the contingent in Syria, but also deployment against Turkey (including with the aim of protecting the Caucasus). Serious forces, including strength fleet will be bound by the protection of Crimea and the provision of communications with Transnistria, in case Kiev decides to become active in this direction (in order to draw Moldova into the conflict, and through it Romania, another NATO country).
Hence the consequence - it is necessary to be ready for a new war in the Donbass, which will occur in the conditions of opening a second front with Turkey or at least the presence of a constant threat from the Turkish factions deployed on the border with Syria.
But the war, especially the war with several opponents, in the most difficult geopolitical conditions, requires absolute unity of command. Until now, unity of command in the Donbass was ensured by the fact that the various Russian departments that oversaw the processes taking place there, through their leaders, locked themselves on to the president. Putin received reports along the political vertical, security vertical, intelligence vertical, army vertical, EMERCOM vertical, as well as from the Foreign Ministry, etc. and, if necessary, coordinated their actions.
The transition of the Russian participation in the Syrian crisis from the political to the military phase, of course, required additional attention of the president, but, nevertheless, the operation in Syria was carried out in the format of the Ministry of Defense and the General Staff, that is, did not go beyond the usual coordination.
If these two conflicts go into an open war phase with the participation of Russia (so far these are formally civil conflicts), and even with the danger of involving new states (both on one and the other side), and also with a sharp increase in military-political and diplomatic activity of the West, the president will need a new level of coordination. He will be too fully involved in the operational geopolitical game to quickly resolve issues of coordination of actions of various departments in narrow areas. In the same Donbass and in the same Syria (where the number of Russian departments involved will sharply increase, and the operation itself will lose a predominantly military character, due to a sharp increase in its political and diplomatic component).
Under these conditions, it becomes necessary to create an intermediate level of coordination. When in the Donbass, Syria (as well as in any other place where a new crisis will arise with Russian participation), the coordination of actions of different departments will decrease by one level (from the presidential one). If you give an example, it is something like the representatives of the Headquarters on the fronts of the Great Patriotic War. They coordinated the actions of several fronts involved in the conception of parallel operations, and their actions were already coordinated by the Supreme Commander.
The only difference is that now the main efforts are focused on political fronts. The war is a hybrid, with the main enemy, we are still "partners". Consequently, coordination is primarily political.
In particular, it is clear that if Ukraine and Turkey act simultaneously or almost simultaneously, then our main task will be to eliminate the eventual threat to the deep rear of Ukraine. Considering the danger of disinterested Western peacemaking, it is necessary to eliminate the Ukrainian danger militarily in a matter of days, a maximum of a week. Roughly speaking, it is not so important what identification marks will be on the soldiers entering Lviv (even if there are no such signs at all - what will you take with the militia). The main thing that they entered there.
But the process of political settlement (after the military phase) will be long and stretch (as I wrote about this back in 2014) for more than one year. It’s enough to see how hard it was for two years to bring the Donbass to a state at least close to normal. And here we will talk about the whole of Ukraine, besides stuffed with bandits and weapons to the eyeballs and with a far from friendly population living compactly over large areas.
And now it is too late to argue whether we need Galicia or not - we need to secure the rear of the Syrian operation from the Ukrainian government, which needs war as air (in conditions when the danger of Turkey’s appearance is extremely high). And sitting on any shred of the remaining Ukrainian territory, the current government will claim the right to represent the whole of Ukraine (even to the Crimea).
The armed forces can only quickly defeat the army. Further, without prejudging the results of the final political settlement, it is necessary to create an administration (it is possible in the form of several connected in a weak confederation of people's republics, it is possible in the form of a single central interim government, in the form of several unrelated regional administrations). It is not advisable to have there only an occupational Russian administration, since the Vienna and Geneva conventions prescribe that the occupying state is responsible for the population of the occupied territory, and this is such a trap that it is easier to fight immediately with Turkey, Saudi Arabia and half of Europe than to contain one Ukraine.
However, since only the most naive of the former Ukrainian leaders suggest that Russia will liberate Ukraine so that they can manage it as before, in fact, the Ukrainian elites have shown complete inability to work independently, control over the territory must be maintained regardless of the formally legalized system management. Since there is the experience of Donbass (management through local representatives, of which slowly, by trial and error, a new loyal, adequate to the tasks and able to respond to rapidly changing environment is formed), it is easiest to transfer it to the whole of Ukraine.
The sharp increase in geopolitical tasks requires an informal political centralization of the control of the territories under its control. Approximately, they should be managed according to the format of the federal district. And this scheme should be worked out right now on the experience of the two republics, since tomorrow the political headquarters will have to be deployed from the wheels, in an undeveloped structure and in an unsecured format.
Since the Ukrainian crisis is far from the last, where, after a military settlement, informal schemes of political control will have to be applied, working out a “pilot project” can make life much easier in the future. In the end, all the same, the Berlin or the Harbin would still need to take the troops of the army or the front, it only needs to select the troops and cut tasks.