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Thread: Putin's "Invincible" Weapons

  1. #31
    Former Staff Senior Contributor Ironduke's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by citanon View Post
    Nice! Thanks!

    How did the Germans get so far from home?
    Catherine the Great invited Germans to settle the Volga back in the 1700s to populate it after a conquest. Stalin deported them to Central Asia.

    There used to be an extensive network of German settlements throughout eastern Europe in the past, dating back 1000 years or so. The Volga Germans were among the latest settlers in a centuries-long trend.
    Last edited by Ironduke; 04 Mar 18, at 07:12.

  2. #32
    Former Staff Senior Contributor Ironduke's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by citanon View Post
    I think the key is: will the Kazakh population welcome Moscow or will they want to fight ? Seems like it could be an orderly takeover followed by outsourcing of management to some local figurehead.
    Thinking on it, I really don't think that Russian intervention would occur under the guise of Russian nationalism and protecting their ethnic compatriots in northern Kazakhstan. That would obviously alienate the Kazakh population against Russia, and Russia would stand to lose more than it gains, further entrench international opinion against them as a rogue/pariah state, as we've seen with the case of Ukraine. So conducting a campaign a la Ukraine doesn't make any sense.

    Concerning Kazakh popular opinion, overall they view Russia positively, and China negatively. Why intervene against a country with a population that is already pro-Russian?

    In my view, a pretext of combating Islamist militancy and terrorist organizations in the region would serve as a far better means with which to increase the Russian military presence in Kazakhstan and secure it using hard power.

    I think though such a move would have to be contingent on serious destabilization and militant resurgence in Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. Not just low level attacks here and there that occasionally happen, with the Russians overhyping the actual threat level, but rather if something were to transpire like what happened in Syria/Iraq with ISIS, something like a redux of the Tajik Civil War and the campaigns of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan during the 1990s, where there would be a threat of spillover into Kazakhstan.

    If that were to happen, I think the Kazakhs may very well welcome an expansion of Russian military presence on their territory, with the Russians getting the whole hog as far as firmly securing Kazakhstan with the Russian sphere goes, with the Kazakhs thanking them for it.

    As far as Central Asia goes, nearly all deployed Russian combat troops and air power are currently already in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan though. So short of Russia withdrawing from those countries and allowing destabilization, I don't see how the scenario I described could play out under current circumstances. There aren't anywhere near the number of Russian military personnel in Kazakhstan as there are in the other two, with the military facilities there being of a specialist variety with most Russian personnel being specialists and base security.

    Here's a map I was able to find of current Russian military bases in Central Asia. The major ones in Kazakhstan include:

    • Sary Shagan Testing Grounds, near Priozersk closed city, has anti-aircraft, ABM, anti-satellite R&D and testing, also has a radio engineering unit and an independent radar node for missile launch detection and satellite tracking
    • Kostanay Airbase, home of a Russian military transport aviation regiment
    • Baikonur Cosmodrome (needs no explanation)
    • Aktyubinsk (Aktobe), 5580th Testing Grounds for missile/anti-aircraft artillery testing/R&D

    Last edited by Ironduke; 05 Mar 18, at 18:35.

  3. #33
    Former Staff Senior Contributor Ironduke's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by citanon View Post
    To adopt a more historical analogy, I don't think Russia is becoming the new USSR. Russia is actually modeling itself as the new Rome with Putin modeling himself not as the Czar but as Caesar (heck he even looks a little like Caesar).
    I found this article to be of interest:
    Putin Isn’t a Genius. He’s Leonid Brezhnev.

  4. #34
    Senior Contributor Bigfella's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ironduke View Post
    I found this article to be of interest:
    Putin Isn’t a Genius. He’s Leonid Brezhnev.
    I fear he is tapping into some very deep seated attitudes in Russia - a preference for stability and some feeling of national importance in return for tolerance of mediocre authoritarian rule. It is a recipe for stagnation.


    Win nervously lose tragically - Reds C C

  5. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ironduke View Post
    Thinking on it, I really don't think that Russian intervention would occur under the guise of Russian nationalism and protecting their ethnic compatriots in northern Kazakhstan. That would obviously alienate the Kazakh population against Russia, and Russia would stand to lose more than it gains, further entrench international opinion against them as a rogue/pariah state, as we've seen with the case of Ukraine. So conducting a campaign a la Ukraine doesn't make any sense.

    Concerning Kazakh popular opinion, overall they view Russia positively, and China negatively. Why intervene against a country with a population that is already pro-Russian?

    In my view, a pretext of combating Islamist militancy and terrorist organizations in the region would serve as a far better means with which to increase the Russian military presence in Kazakhstan and secure it using hard power.

    I think though such a move would have to be contingent on serious destabilization and militant resurgence in Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. Not just low level attacks here and there that occasionally happen, with the Russians overhyping the actual threat level, but rather if something were to transpire like what happened in Syria/Iraq with ISIS, something like a redux of the Tajik Civil War and the campaigns of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan during the 1990s, where there would be a threat of spillover into Kazakhstan.

    If that were to happen, I think the Kazakhs may very well welcome an expansion of Russian military presence on their territory, with the Russians getting the whole hog as far as firmly securing Kazakhstan with the Russian sphere goes, with the Kazakhs thanking them for it.

    As far as Central Asia goes, nearly all deployed Russian combat troops and air power are currently already in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan though. So short of Russia withdrawing from those countries and allowing destabilization, I don't see how the scenario I described could play out under current circumstances. There aren't anywhere near the number of Russian military personnel in Kazakhstan as there are in the other two, with the military facilities there being of a specialist variety with most Russian personnel being specialists and base security.

    Here's a map I was able to find of current Russian military bases in Central Asia. The major ones in Kazakhstan include:

    • Sary Shagan Testing Grounds, near Priozersk closed city, has anti-aircraft, ABM, anti-satellite R&D and testing, also has a radio engineering unit and an independent radar node for missile launch detection and satellite tracking
    • Kostanay Airbase, home of a Russian military transport aviation regiment
    • Baikonur Cosmodrome (needs no explanation)
    • Aktyubinsk (Aktobe), 5580th Testing Grounds for missile/anti-aircraft artillery testing/R&D

    Great post Ironduke. You raised some interesting points.

    I think one possible route for Putin is to exploit the resentment of the Kazakh population for economic inequalities induced by the BRI to use fighting corruption as the motivation for the change of government. Xi already came up with a nice playbook for that in China. However, for this to work, I think the Russians would need to groom an internal Kazakh proxy to initiate a pustch or a coup against Nazarbayev with Russian backing (eg little green men). This guy can then invite in additional Russian forces for stabilizing the country.

    Key to this is that the population would have to be sold that this is a move to bring more equitable sharing of wealth (eg jobs) from the infrastructure development in their country.

    Your point about the forces are very valid. I'm wondering too how much spare military capacity Russia has. This of course would be easier if they can choose someone who can win wide backing of the Kazakh armed forces.

  6. #36
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    That depends on whether Putin can trust said puppet to stay bought.

    Or for someone else to pull the same playbook when said puppet doesn't actually do anything about economic inequalities.

    It may be more effective just to buy up all the advisers and senior government officials around Nazarbayev's successor (its usually harder to get rid of an institution than a single man).

  7. #37
    Former Staff Senior Contributor Ironduke's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by citanon View Post
    Great post Ironduke. You raised some interesting points.

    I think one possible route for Putin is to exploit the resentment of the Kazakh population for economic inequalities induced by the BRI to use fighting corruption as the motivation for the change of government. Xi already came up with a nice playbook for that in China. However, for this to work, I think the Russians would need to groom an internal Kazakh proxy to initiate a pustch or a coup against Nazarbayev with Russian backing (eg little green men). This guy can then invite in additional Russian forces for stabilizing the country.

    Key to this is that the population would have to be sold that this is a move to bring more equitable sharing of wealth (eg jobs) from the infrastructure development in their country.

    Your point about the forces are very valid. I'm wondering too how much spare military capacity Russia has. This of course would be easier if they can choose someone who can win wide backing of the Kazakh armed forces.
    A more likely scenario. Putin though would have to do a better job in the plausible deniability department than was the case with Ukraine to be able to re-integrate Kazakhstan one way or another into Russia. He can't afford to have the Kazakh population radicalized and alienated to any large degree in such a theoretical scenario, the Kazakhs would have to want the Russians there. Rump Ukraine, as an obvious example, is firmly alienated against Russia at this point, at least for the duration of Putin's lifetime.

    One thing I think is worth noting is that the geography of Kazakhstan is more favorable if Putin were to decide to make some kind of move, as even though it's a large state, it is far easier to isolate with relatively minimal military force - it can be cut off from China, there's a relatively strong Russian military presence on Kazakhstan's southern flank, and Russia dominates the Caspian Sea. Ukraine at least has a lifeline to the West (land borders with Poland, Romania, Hungary, etc.), and has access to the Black Sea.
    Last edited by Ironduke; 21 Mar 18, at 16:44.

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