Fake news? Russian FSB analyst paints dark picture of Ukraine war -- updated

[No Apple angle] Posted Sunday by race car driver Igor Sushko, re-tweeted by Alexander Vindman:

My [Sushko's] translation of the analysis of the current situation in Russia by an alleged active FSB analyst. Buckle up for a long thread and definitely please share far & wide. The full text is over 2000 words. This is a highly insightful look behind the curtain - covers many subjects. I will add clarification comments inside parenthesis where necessary. So, let's roll:

I have hardly slept at all these days, at work at almost all times, I have brain-fog. Maybe from overworking, but I feel like I am in a surreal world.

The Pandora’s Box is open – a real global horror will begin by the summer – global famine is inevitable. Russia and Ukraine were the main suppliers of grain to the world. This year’s harvest will be smaller and logistical problems will result in a catastrophe. ([Sushko's] COMMENTARY: I disagree that this will result in global famine.)

I can’t say what guided those in charge to decide to proceed with the execution of this operation, but now they are methodically blaming us (FSB). We are being scolded for our analysis. Recently, we have been increasingly pressured to prepare more reports. All of these political consultants and politicians and that powers-that-be are causing chaos. Most importantly, no one knew that there will be such a war – it was concealed from everyone. For example – you are being asked to analyze various outcomes and consequences of a meteorite attack (MY COMMENTARY: Here he most likely means the West’s sanctions) – you research the mode of attack, and you are being told that it’s just a hypothetical and not to stress on the details, so you understand the report is only intended as a checkbox, and the conclusions of the analysis must be positive for Russia, otherwise you basically get interrogated for not doing good work. So, you have to write that we have all necessary measures available to nullify the effects of a given type of attack. We are completely overworked. But then it turns out that the hypothetical has turned into reality, and the analysis we’ve done on that hypothetical is total trash.

We have no answer to the sanctions because of this.

No one knew there’d be such a war, so no one prepared for these sanctions.

It’s the flipside of the secrecy – since everyone was kept in the dark, how could we prepare for it?

Kadyrov has gone nuts. We were very close to a conflict with him because the Ukrainians through their disinformation about having received intel from the FSB on his squad in Kyiv. His squad was absolutely demolished before they even began to fight and they got blown to pieces. I do not have any info that it was an FSB leak to Ukraine, so I’d give it a 1-2% chance – but can’t exclude this possibility completely.

Our Blitzkrieg has totally collapsed. It is impossible to complete the task: If Zelensky and his deputies were captured in the first 3 days, all key buildings also captured, and they were forced to read an address of their surrender to the country, then Ukraine’s resistance would have likely dissolved to a minimal level. Theoretically. But then what? Even in this IDEAL outcome, there remained an unsolvable problem: Who is the counterparty to our negotiations? If we remove Zelensky – fine – who is going to sign the agreement? If with Zelensky, then that agreement is worthless after we remove him.

ОПЗЖ (The Opposition Party in Ukraine collaborating with Russia) has refused to cooperate. Medvechuk, the coward, ran away. There is another leader – Boyko, but he refused too, even his own people won’t understand him. Wanted to bring back Tsaryova, but even our guys are against him here in Russia. Bring back Yanukovich? But how? If we are saying we can’t occupy, then the newly formed government will be overthrown in 10 minutes as soon as we leave.

To occupy? Where would we find that many people? Commandant’s office, military police, counter-intelligence, security – even at minimum resistance from the Ukrainians, we’d need over 500,000 people, not including supply & logistics. There’s a rule, if you try to cover for bad quality leadership with quantity, you’ll make everything worse. And I repeat this would be the problem in the IDEAL SCENARIO, which does not exist.

And what now? We cannot announce general mobilization for two reasons: 1) Mobilization will implode the situation inside Russia: political, economic, and social.

2) Our logistics are already over-extended today. We can send a much large contingent into Ukraine, and what would we get? Ukraine – a territorially enormous country, and their hate towards us is astronomical. Our roads simply cannot accommodate the resupply of such convoys, and everything will come to a halt. And we can’t pull it off from the management side because of the current chaos.

These two reasons exist concurrently, although just one of them is enough to break everything.

With regards to Russian military losses: I don’t know the reality – no one does. There was some information the first 2 days, but now no one knows what is happening in Ukraine. We’ve lost contact with major divisions (!!) They may re-establish contact, or may dissipate under an attack, and even the commanders don’t know how many are dead, injured, or captured. Total dead is definitely in the thousands, maybe 10,000, maybe 5,000, or maybe just 2,000. But even at our command no one knows. But probably closer to 10,000. And we are not counting losses at DNR & LNR.

Now even we kill Zelensky or take him prisoner, nothing will change. The level of hate toward us is similar to Chechnya. And now, even those loyal to us in Ukraine are publicly against us.

Because all of this was planned at the top (in Russia), because we were told that such a scenario will not happen except only if we were to be attacked first. Because we were told that we need to maximize our threats in order to negotiate an outcome through peace. Because we were already preparing protests against Zelensky without ever considering invading Ukraine.

Now, civilian losses in Ukraine will follow a geometric pattern progression, and resistance against us will only get stronger. Infantries already tried to enter cities – out of 20 paratrooper groups, only one had “provisional” success. Recall the invasion of Mosul – it’s a rule – happens with every country, nothing new.

To hold a siege? Over the last decades in Europe – Serbia being the best example, cities can remain functional under siege for years.

Humanitarian convoys from Europe to Ukraine is only a matter of time.

Our conditional deadline is June. Conditional because in June there will be no economy left in Russia – there will be nothing left. By and large, next week there will be a collapse (in Russia) to either of the two sides, simply because the situation cannot remain under current conditions.

We have no analyses, we can’t make any forecasts in this chaos, no one will be able to say anything with any certainty (in Russia).

To act through intuition, especially with high emotions, this is no poker game. But our bets will have to grow in size with hope that some option will succeed.

The tragedy is that we can easily miscalculate, and as a result lose everything.

By and large, Russia does not have an out. There are no options for a possible victory, only of losses – this is it.

100% we’ve repeated our mistake from last century, when we decided to kick the “weak” Japan in order to achieve a quick victory, and it turned our army was in a state of total calamity. Then, we started a war till the victorious end, then we started conscripting the Bolsheviks for re-education in the army. Then these barely-known Bolsheviks picked up their anti-war slogans.

From the pluses: We did everything to ensure there wasn’t even a hint that we sent penal military units to the front. If you conscript political prisoners and the socially undesirables, the moral spirit of the army will be in the negative.

The enemy is motivated. Monstrously motivated. Knows how to fight, plenty of capable commanders. They have weapons and support. We will simply establish a precedent of human catastrophe in the world.

What we are afraid of the most: The top is trying to mask old problems with new problems. Largely for this reason Donbass happened in 2014 – We needed to distract the West from the Russian Spring in Crimea, so Donbass’ so-called crisis had to pull in all of the attention and become a bargaining chip. But even bigger problems started there. Then we decided to pressure Erdogan to get 4 pipes for the Southern Stream (gas) and entered Syria. This is after Suleimani (Islamic Revolutionary Guard) knowingly provided false info to us to solve his own problems.

As a result, we couldn’t resolve the problem with Crimea, and Donbass’ problems didn’t go away. Southern Stream was reduced to 2 pipes (gas), and Syria is hanging – we leave and Assad will be toppled and we will look like idiots, and staying there is hard and pointless.

I don’t know who come up with the “Blitzkrieg of Ukraine.” Had received all the real inputs, we would have at minimum pointed out that the initial plan is arguable, and that much has to be reassessed. A lot had to be reassessed.

Now we are in crap (PG language mine) up to our necks, and we don’t know what to do. “Denazification” and “demilitarization” are not analytical categories because they don’t have concretely formulated parameters by which meeting of the objectives can be evaluated.

Now we are stuck waiting until some mentally screwed up advisor convinces the top to start a conflict with Europe, with demands to reduce the sanctions – they either loosen the sanctions or war. What if the West refuses? In that instance I won’t exclude that we will be pulled into a real international conflict, just like Hitler in 1939. Our “Z” will be equated to the Swastika.

Is there a possibility of a localized nuclear strike? Yes. Not for any military objectives. Such a weapon won’t help with the breach of the defenses. But with a goal of scaring everyone else (The West).

We are plowing to create a scenario in which to blame everything on Ukraine. Naryshkin (Director of Foreign Intelligence Service of Russia) and his SVR is digging the ground to prove that Ukraine was secretly building nuclear weapons. F*&K. They are hammering at what we’ve already analyzed and closed the book on: We can’t just make up any evidence or proof and existence of specialists and Uranium. Ukraine has a ton of depleted isotope 238 – this is nothing. The production cycle is such that you can’t do it in secret.

A dirty bomb can’t be created in secret. Ukraine’s old nuclear power plants can only produce the material as a by-product in minimal amounts. The Americans have such monitoring at these plants with MAGATE that even talking about this is stupid.

Do you know what will start in a week? Let’s let it be even in 2 weeks. We are going to be so screwed we will start reminiscing about the good ol’ hungry days of the 90s. As the markets are being closed, Nabiullina appears to be taking the right steps, but it’s like plugging holes on a ship with your fingers. The situation will break through anyway and even stronger. Nothing will be solved in 3 or 5 or 7 days any longer.

Kadyrov is kicking his hoofs not without reason. They have their own adventures. He created a name for himself as the invincible – and if he falls down once his own people will remove him.

Next. Syria. “Guys – hold on, everything will end in Ukraine and then we will fortify our positions in Syria.” And now at any moment our contingent stationed there may run out of resources, and then ridiculous heat will come…. Turkey is closing the strait, and sending supplies to Syria by air is the same as heating an oven with cash. Please notice – this is all happening at the same time, and we don’t even have time to throw it all in one pile for analysis.

Our current position is like Germany in 1943-1944 – but that’s our STARTING position in Ukraine.

Sometimes I get lost in this overwork, sometimes feels as if this is just a dream and all is as it was before.

With regards to prisons – it will be worse. The nuts will start to get tightened till blood. Everywhere. To be frank, purely technically, this is the only way to maintain any control of the situation. We are already in total mobilization mode. But we can’t remain in this mode for long, but our timetables are unknown, and it will only get worse. Governance always goes astray from mobilization. And just imagine: You can sprint 100m – but try that in a marathon.

And so, with the Ukrainian question we lunged as if going for a 100m sprint, but turned out we’d signed up for a marathon.

And this is a rather brief overview of the current events.

To offer further cynicism, I don’t believe that Putin will press the red button to destroy the entire world.

First, it’s not one person that decides, and someone will refuse. There are lots of people there and there is no single “red” button.

Second, there are certain doubts that it actually functions properly. Experience shows that the more transparent the control procedures, the easier it is to identify problems. And where it’s mirky as to who controls what and how, but always reports full of bravado, is where there are always problems.

I am not sure that the “red button” system functions according to the declared data. Besides, plutonium fuel must be changed every 10 years.

Third, and this is the most disgusting and sad, I personally do not believe in Putin’s will to sacrifice himself when he does not even allow his closest ministers and advisors to be in his vicinity. Whether it’s due to his fear of COVID or a possible assassination is irrelevant. If you are scared for the most trusted people to be near you, then how could you possibly choose to destroy yourself and those dearest to you.

My take: This is so interesting, and so much of this rings true, that I'm going against my own rules and sharing it without being able to solidly verify its authenticity. If it turns out to be fake, I'll let you know and pull it.

UPDATE: I've been waiting for someone to call this a fake. Hard to prove a negative, of course, but Im not seeing. In fact, it's getting picked up by outlets with a lot more resources than your's truly. Take, for example, today's The London Times:

The 2,000-word document was published by Vladimir Osechkin, a Russian human rights activist who runs the anti-corruption website Gulagu.net.

Christo Grozev, an expert on the Russian security services, said he had shown the letter to two FSB officers, both of whom had had “no doubt it was written by a colleague”.

Grozev, who reported the identities of the Salisbury poisoners with the investigative website Bellingcat in 2018, said: “Ukraine had previously leaked fake FSB letters as psy-ops.

“This letter appeared different, though. It came via a reputable source [Osechkin] and it was way longer than a forger would choose to make it.”


    • Bart Yee said:
      Another commenter wryly said “Trump was submitting a loan application.”

      March 7, 2022
    • Bart Yee said:
      IMO, if Russian leadership was looking for an exploitable asset, an organization with a history of multiple bankruptcies, obtuse financial accounting, multiple highly leveraged commercial properties and businesses, all of which reportedly to the IRS never make money and only generate losses, and having only one foreign lender source of loan monies (DeutscheBank) and no domestic lenders will work with you, that to me suggest a ton of levers which can be pushed and manipulated to gain influence and control by a foreign power.

      Add to that an organizational leader and family who don’t seem to be able to run businesses very effectively, do their utmost to avoid taxes, plus is alway supremely confident they/he know how to always come out on top of any negotiation or deal (or at least put off the consequences yet again), and, again IMO, you have the makings of an individual or organization that is ripe to be made beholden to a foreign power that has much much more experience and sophistication in setting up, manipulating, and then gaining real leverage over these people, groups and organization.

      The seizure of assets or properties is completely secondary from a financial viewpoint, the real power comes from gaining control of the person’s influence on other matters like politics, eventual policy, and even (dis)information flow to others who may follow this “charismatic” “leader”.

      I’m reminded of Loki’s commentary on “freedom” in the Avengers movie, and something I believe every dictator believes:

      “You were made to be ruled. It is the unspoken truth of humanity that you crave subjugation. In the end, you will always kneel.”

      March 7, 2022
  1. Cy Manning said:
    Thanks for posting PED. I’ve been following Putin’s War on Reddit (and other places) to get some gritty and real coverage of this terrible situation. Saw this yesterday and it does make for a good read regardless.

    And not sure this could be authenticated (at least without someone going to a Gulag or worse) but there was indirect validation that favored it being authentic.

    March 6, 2022
  2. David Emery said:
    A friend of a friend rated this as “credible.” But I’m not sure that the FSB would allow something like this even if it was strictly for internal use only.

    By the way, there are reports that an Ukrainian sniper killed a Russian general who was deputy commander of a major unit (Division or Corps), and a former Spetsnaz (Russian Special Forces) officer.

    The daily update on this site is the best summary of ‘situation on the ground’ I’ve seen, if you’re interested in the military details: https://www.understandingwar.org/

    March 6, 2022
  3. John Konopka said:
    And so, with the Ukrainian question we lunged as if going for a 100m sprint, but turned out we’d signed up for a marathon.

    That part rings true.

    March 6, 2022
    • David Emery said:
      It’s a lesson of modern war, “Don’t believe your own propaganda.” US has failed on this one a couple of times, and now Russia is (re) learning the same lesson.

      March 6, 2022
      • Cy Manning said:
        And by extension, don’t believe your buddy’s propaganda . . .

        I’m yet to see significant discussion, but I presume Putin and Xi lied to each other about Ukraine and heard what they wanted in each other’s lies.

        Putin’s lies are easily imaginable but I presume behind Xi’s support was an interest in breaking/testing the alliances of the West for his own expansionary objectives.

        How long until the Putin/Xi alliance breaks and will that end Putin’s War? This War could certainly be the end of Putin in many colorful ways. However, Xi is up for an unusual reelection soon. Could Xi’s recent ill-timed alliance with Putin also be his quiet undoing?

        March 6, 2022
        • David Emery said:
          There’s no reason for China to oppose Putin. Their ‘studied neutrality’ works, they’re not endorsing Putin’s actions, but they’re tacitly approving them. (And in particular, China supports the idea of ‘take Taiwan by force if they have to.’) The core concern from this for China is that, if they do move on Taiwan, they run a risk of the same economic sanctions the rest of the world is laying on Russia.

          Russia will find China a great market for energy that most of the rest of the world won’t buy. And I expect China to basically launder Russian petro-dollars, taking a good chunk of that as additional Chinese investment in the Belt and Road initiatives.

          March 6, 2022
  4. Jerry Doyle said:
    “…. COMMENTARY: I disagree that this will result in global famine.” ………. Agree, PED. Unfortunately and understandably as horrific the situation is in Ukraine, we are hearing much hyperbole to exacerbate already high tensions and anxiety. The world food supply is diversified, and not dependent solely on one specific geographic area. Little doubt, though, suppliers and others will use events to raise inflationary prices even higher.

    “…. If we are saying we can’t occupy, then the newly formed government will be overthrown in 10 minutes as soon as we leave.” ……… This is a scenario that has been playing out in my mind since almost the start of the war. It always was recognized that there would be substantial and perhaps potent Ukrainian resistance. This is proving to be true. Consequently, I suspect that NATO and the CIA long have planned to continue support in money, materials and supplies to Ukrainian resistors. While this is no Afghanistan for Russia again, it comes pretty darn close and I suspect Russia and Putin learned from Afghanistan as the USA learned from Afghanistan and Vietnam. No matter one’s superior military might, the cry for battle by invaders never matches the nationalistic spirit of defenders in the mother homeland. The US revolutionary war also proved that to England.

    “…. We cannot announce general mobilization for two reasons: 1) Mobilization will implode the situation inside Russia: political, economic, and social.”………. The Russian population never would support a general mobilization against Ukrainians to the level needed to sustain prolonged occupation of the country. The body bags returning from wars inevitably take their toll on the general population’s support for such a sustained effort. I saw that poignantly during the Vietnam conflict. I say “conflict,” because the US never officially declared war against Vietnam.

    “…. And now, even those loyal to us in Ukraine are publicly against us.”…… This is correct. I have a Ukrainian relative and friends residing in the Crimean Peninsula. The Crimean Peninsula is a geographic cornerstone for Russian backing. Many inhabitants were pro-Russian before this invasion, but now many also are appalled at the current devastation, destruction and human toll.

    “…. If you are scared for the most trusted people to be near you, then how could you possibly choose to destroy yourself and those dearest to you.” …….. This individual truly is a student of human behavior. He must have taken psychological courses in higher education.

    March 6, 2022

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