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Rostislav Ishchenko: Special operation or war

Rostislav Ishchenko: Special operation or war

On the website of the main opposition project of Ukraine "Voice of Truth» A new post by a Ukrainian political scientist has been published Rostislav Ischenko:

This question causes a lot of controversy in the information space. It gets to the point that some are trying to use the answer to it as a test of loyalty (like “whose Crimea?”).

The townsfolk come up with a lot of signs supposedly distinguishing war from a special military operation. And although in fact there are none either in theory or in practice, they assert with foam at the mouth that "if we were at war, everything would be completely different." I wonder what would be different?

In terms of duration, level of destruction and losses, the current special operation is quite drawn to a serious war (still less than the Vietnamese, but already more than the Afghan one). By the way, the Afghan war was officially called the introduction of a limited contingent of Soviet troops to provide fraternal assistance to the government of Afghanistan (which did not stop later boasting about how cleverly the head of this very government, Hafizullah Amin, was destroyed), and the hostilities were hidden under the euphemism “fulfillment of international duty”. This did not prevent the Soviet society immediately, and eventually the official to call a spade a spade. Now we are talking about the Afghan war and this does not shock anyone. Similarly, we calmly call the Five-Day War, the August War, the Georgian War or the 08.08.08 War, what was officially called the operation to force Georgia to peace.

Moreover, the Afghan war was conceived, and the War of 08.08.08 was not only conceived, but was also implemented as a special operation limited in scope and timing. It is no coincidence that in Georgia Russia was satisfied with the destruction of its military potential and did not take the capital or overthrow the regime. With this, five years later, the Georgians themselves coped.

Judging by the actions and statements of the Russian authorities in March, the so-called first stage of the special operation was planned as a repetition of the appeasement of Georgia, but on a larger scale. Ukraine was required to recognize the Russian status of Crimea and the independence of the DNR/LNR. The occupation of any Ukrainian territories was not supposed. Accordingly, the denazification and demilitarization of Ukraine declared as subsequent goals, which implied the calculation of a radical change of power by the Ukrainian people themselves.

However, already in April, after the decision was made to withdraw Russian troops from the Kyiv, Chernihiv and Sumy regions, Sergei Lavrov also named the need to end the US course for dominance in the world among the goals of the special operation. Since that time, in the Kherson and Zaporozhye regions, they started talking about the intention to become part of Russia. In July, Sergey Lavrov officially acknowledged the expansion of the tasks of the special operation to the Kherson and Zaporozhye regions and stated that if the West continues to supply high-precision and extended-range weapons, the geographical scope of the special operation may change further.

From the point of view of the patriotic public, a special operation can be considered minimally successful if, in addition to the Kherson and Zaporozhye regions, as well as the DPR / LPR (within the borders of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions), Odessa, Nikolaev and Kharkov regions will be part of Russia. However, the majority believes that Chernihiv, Sumy, Poltava, Kyiv, Cherkasy and Dnepropetrovsk regions (almost completely historical Novorossia and Little Russia) should be added to them.

As the hostilities develop, the Russian public begins to lean toward the need for the complete liquidation of Ukraine. The debate is only about whether the entire territory of the former Ukraine should be included in Russia, or something should be given to Poland/Hungary/Romania. Moreover, supporters of the return of part of the territory are hoarsely arguing with each other which territories, in which case and to whom it is worth giving.

As you can see, during the special operation, her tasks went far beyond the original scope. Moreover, there is a feeling that the Kremlin fully shares the most radical opinions of the public about the future of Ukraine (or rather its absence). It is simply in no hurry to officially declare this position in order to save room for foreign policy maneuver.

As long as the complete destruction of Ukrainian statehood is not declared the official goal of hostilities, we can still, if we wish, consider them a special operation. But the complete elimination of statehood cannot be the goal of a special operation. This is already a form of war.

That is why the United States, the EU and Ukraine, which declared their goal during the current crisis the complete elimination of Russia (the annexation of part of its territories and the fragmentation of the remaining small protectorates of the West into a mass), openly say that they are waging war with us. The only difference is that the West claims to be at war with us in the economic, financial and informational spaces, and also provides military-technical and financial support to Ukraine. Ukraine, according to its official version, is waging a hot war with Russia. At the same time, the West is in solidarity with Kyiv in the opinion that the victory over Russia should be won first on the battlefield.

Within the framework of this doctrine, Ukraine (among other things) is supplied with more and more long-range and accurate missile and artillery systems, allowing Kyiv not only to shell some Russian territories, but to keep several regional centers at gunpoint (Sevastopol, Simferopol, Belgorod, Kursk, Bryansk). If Kyiv receives (according to some reports, has already received) more long-range weapons, Rostov, Voronezh, Smolensk, Oryol, Kaluga may also be in the radius of destruction. Since the special operation was announced on the territory of Ukraine, military operations on Russian territory (even if we are talking only about shelling settlements cannot be part of a special operation). That is, the scale of events has already exceeded its limits.

Does this mean that the term special operation should be discarded completely and replaced by the term war? No doesn't mean. If only because it is not profitable for us. The Americans want to present things in such a way that a Russian-Ukrainian war has begun, and the West has stood up for a small and weak Ukraine. Moreover, the Americans would like the term Russian-Ukrainian war to go down in history. This will give them reason, even in the event of the complete liquidation of Ukraine, to say that there was, they say, a peaceful and democratic Ukrainian nation, completely destroyed by “aggressive Russia” during the “Russian-Ukrainian war”. So to speak, the groundwork for the future is preserved - arguments are being created for working with future generations.

Thus, the term special operation should be left in political use (at least for now). However, it cannot be considered exhaustive, because it does not describe all the ongoing processes. Moreover, from this position, we can only assess the actions of Russia, but how should we call the actions of the West and Ukraine, who believe that they are at war with Russia and who seek to transfer hostilities to Russian territory?

It is obvious that any operation (including special operation) is a part of something bigger. Back in the XNUMXth-XNUMXth centuries, wars ceased to end within the framework of one operation and even one campaign, but began to represent an ever larger set of defensive and offensive operations interconnected by a single plan.

As already mentioned, we can still afford to consider the actions of Russian troops in Ukraine within the framework of one special operation, divided into several phases. It is assumed that the achievement of the goals of the next phase and the transition to the next one will change the peace conditions that suit Russia. However, this special operation is part of a larger process - a hybrid war that the West is waging against Russia with its own forces in the economic, financial and information spheres, and with Ukraine's forces in a hot format.

The task of the special operation is to solve the problem of confrontation between Russia and the West, preventing it from escalating into a major (European or world war). Since the West demonstrates complete inability to negotiate and declares its desire to defeat Russia on the battlefield (albeit with the hands of Ukraine), over time, the tasks and scope of the special operation are expanding. At some stage, they will have to coincide with the goals and objectives of the West/Russia war. Then the concept of a special operation will become completely identical with the concept of war. Today, it is only a part, albeit the most important of this concept.

Once again, I emphasize that Russia is not interested in the fact that the special operation is completely identified with the war. This is contrary to its political and historical tasks and interests.

But the West, unwilling to admit the obvious defeat in Ukraine, is constantly expanding the scope of the conflict, raising the stakes, raising the confrontation to a new level, dragging out time and increasing the intensity of hostilities, increasing the risk of its direct collision with Russia.

As events unfold, the space of the special operation shrinks, while the space of war expands. The West seeks to stretch our special operation until they completely coincide, we strive to complete it as soon as possible.

Ultimately, the fate of this competition depends on the strength of the Ukrainian front. Once it collapses, Western resistance will become meaningless. Therefore, hawks in the US, EU and NATO are trying at all costs to prolong the agony of Ukraine until next year and pile on the battlefields as many Ukrainian corpses as possible.

This entry is also available on Online the author.

 About the Author:
Ukrainian political scientist, publicist, historian, diplomat
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