On the Russian social sphere, 24 August was the day for taking stock of the first six months of the conflict. Military analyst Boris Rozhin analysed the conflict from three points of view:
Syriaisation of the conflict
‘During these six months, fronts with bastion cities were formed and stabilised. The Ukrainians, according to Rozhin, are increasingly and systematically moving towards terrorist methods of warfare (see attacks in Crimea, and in Russian cities). The size of the theatre of war exceeds the forces available on both sides, despite all efforts to build up the groups. And still the supply of foreign weapons plays a significant role in maintaining the intensity of the conflict, while it is impossible to completely close the supply channels. There is a high percentage of foreign mercenaries and intelligence services in the organisation of adversary activities. And still there are inevitable White Helmets-style provocations and playing cards on weapons of mass destruction. There is currently a complete paralysis of the negotiation process due to the desire of the promoters of the conflict to achieve their goals at any cost. Terrorist attacks in Russian cities with territorial claims against Russia are on the rise’.
A conflict in the long run
“This is not a direct confrontation, Ukraine,” says Rozhin, “is Syria maxima. The fighting on its territory will go on for a long time, destroying what is left of Ukraine. Economically, Ukraine, like Syria, will be a disaster waiting to happen. A substantial part of its infrastructure will simply be destroyed by the chosen format of the war. Systematically, something will only be rebuilt in the territories under Russian control, which Russia considers to be its own. Not only that,’ according to the military analyst, ‘even the territories that will become Russian will remain in anti-terrorist operation mode for a long time and the internal terrorist acts of extremist nationalists will compete with those of Islamists in Syria.
Ukraine represents the US-Russian struggle to shape the world’s future
“For Russia, as for the United States, this is a war not only for the control of territories, but also a struggle for the configuration of the future world order, where the survival of Ukraine as a state is not crucial, nor is the economic survival of Europe, which is not an actor in the changes taking place, but a victim of them. Just as the war in Syria reshaped the entire Middle East, the war in Ukraine will reshape the existing world order. For the Russian Federation, as for the United States, this is not a sprint, but a race in stages, for which – Rozhin says – we should be prepared (although we cannot yet say this for all societies and states), as well as for the continuation of hostilities in the winter, spring and summer of 2023. Recall that Palmyra was taken in March 2016, Aleppo in December 2016 and Deir ez-Zor was liberated in September 2017. But Idlib was not taken’. According to the analyst: “As in Syria, we are not only fighting an army of local terrorists in Ukraine. Behind them, as in Syria, is our main enemy: the United States and its European satellites. That is why the conflict has turned into a gruelling confrontation not only in the streets of Soledar or Marinka, but also in the fields of economic and political battles for the future world order’. The task of the Russian Federation is simple and difficult at the same time: to resist this confrontation and achieve its goals. The state and society will have to make significant efforts to achieve this goal. The laxity and underestimation of the threats posed by our enemies, who constantly raise the stakes, must be matched by an appropriate response. Returning to the starting station or pressing the stop button is no longer an option. Having made greater commitments and acting as a historically subject country, the Russian Federation has no choice but to move forward to achieve its goals’.