War in Ukraine: Putin’s fatal error in judgment

Ohen the history of the Ukrainian war is written one day, the description of the errors of judgment of Moscow before the attack of February 24 should take up a lot of space. Russian journalists are already trying to shed light on this aspect – from abroad, because their work at home has become impossible. President Vladimir Putin was sure of victory, Roman Anin of the investigative portal “Vashnye Istorii” (Important Stories) quoted one of his interlocutors in a research published on Monday, “because we finished Georgia in 2008 in a week, Crimea in 2014 without a shot and also got along quite easily in Syria. And then, in 2022, everyone reports that we will be expected with flowers in Ukraine. So we started.

Anin was doing research for Novaya Gazeta, and his own project has been running since 2020. As of August 2021, he, several of his colleagues and Vashnyje Istorii’s publishing company, which is registered in Latvia, are considered “foreign agents”. , and the media is also since the beginning of March as an “undesirable organization”. This is a de facto ban on activity, as any cooperation or support is prohibited under severe penalties. Additionally, the Stories.media website is now blocked in Russia for allegedly misinformation about the war.

This is all the more remarkable since Anin and his colleagues were able to speak with a dozen sources in the secret service and in Putin’s apparatus about the president’s decision, as reported by the editor of ” Vashnyje Istoriii” of the FAZ – who is no longer in Russia himself. The interlocutors all had the “particular wish” to do so: they were “very angry” at what happened, the “stupidity” and the “lack of professionalism” of the procedure.

“Putin, the least informed man”

According to Anin, all sources agreed that the Russian leadership assumed that their own army would meet no serious resistance in Ukraine. “The task was given like this: take Mariupol in three days, kyiv in five,” said a secret service official. Apparently, after quick military successes in Ukraine, the focus was on action against the disgruntled remnants of the special police and national guard units. The mobile arrest buses, familiar to anyone who has seen an illegal demonstration in Russia, were already there. “You saw the pictures of the arrest buses being set on fire, right? They really believed they would take everything quickly and then disperse the crowd with batons,” Anin said quoting a special forces officer. Putin made the decision to invade Ukraine as “the least informed person who could have made such a decision”.

The Lubyanka, once the headquarters of the KGB, is still the headquarters of the FSB

The Lubyanka, once the headquarters of the KGB, is still the headquarters of the FSB

Image: AFP

A Kremlin official reported that the Russian president only views the corona pandemic, if at all, as a “close circle”. This made the job very difficult. In Putin’s isolation, according to Anin, it has become almost impossible to convey alternative views to the president that do not agree with those of the secret service. That is why Putin mainly relied on the so-called Fifth Service, which is responsible for “operational information and international connections” within the FSB secret service. This was reported by some Russian media, especially secret service experts Andrei Soldierov and Irina Borogan, shortly after the attack, adding that the leadership of the fifth service, headed by Sergei Beseda, had been placed under house arrest and then taken into custody in view because proven that their information about Ukraine was misleading.

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