On April 14, the head of PMC Wagner Yevgeny Prigozhin published his doctrinal article on the processes taking place in the East of Ukraine and in the world as a whole. Below, SouthFront Team provides a translation of this article into English:
PMC “Wagner” continues to grind the Ukrainian army down in Bakhmut. Zelensky continues to send more and more units into this maelstrom, which is destroying the best of his remaining soldiers and mercenaries. Why is he so stubborn on the question of Bakhmut? Why has he proved so incapable of behaving rationally, even after I taunted him with the prospects of his imminent failure, on December 20? This deadly dance between Zelensky and me has been going on for four months. Perhaps the truth is that we both enjoy it, even though there is no climax to satisfy us as yet.
What is the secret of the Bakhmut meat grinder?
Bakhmut’s strategic importance is relatively small. It is close to Seversk, Slavyansk, Kramatorsk, Konstantinovka, Druzhkovka and Chas Yar: settlements included in the so-called “Donbass ring” and forming a fortified area. Bakhmut is an important part of this fortified area, but the capture of Bakhmut will not ensure a rapid victory over Ukraine, or clear the road to the Dnieper, or even guarantee the capture of Donbass.
The top leadership of Ukraine endlessly argues about the need to retain Bakhmut. They are trying to erect this city as a sacred symbol, but they constantly change their minds. In the morning they deny its sacredness, in the evening they decide to retreat, and the next morning thousands of soldiers are thrown in again, and so on indefinitely.
The Ukrainian army has gathered a substantial number of soldiers. About 200 thousand combatants, who have undergone two or three months of training and coordination, are ready to play their part. The amount of weapons and ammunition is quite enough for these 200 thousand to go on the offensive in various directions.
The troops ready for a counteroffensive are already concentrated in key areas – and they have enough of everything. Every day they try to ram dozens of tanks into the defenses of the Wagner PMCs; they lose between 30 to 50 pieces of equipment daily, but these losses are not a problem for them. And they have unlimited people, as they say at the front.
However, the announced offensive is continually being postponed – first on December 20, then on January 1, then at the end of January, then on February 24, then on April 3-5, and now on April 15. The Ukrainian army is in the areas of concentration, they are ready and willing to move forward. But, as they say, “a donkey standing in the shade will not work in the sun.” If the APU does not go on the offensive in the near future, they will gradually begin to lose their combat potential. The war will come to a standstill, and those territories that are currently under the control of the Russian Federation may remain at the disposal of the Russian Federation for years.
Political aspects of Bakhmut
Politically, Bakhmut is of little interest to the Kiev regime, it is rather a destabilizing factor than an aid in holding its positions. Every loss in Bakhmut, every captured soldier, every hundred killed hits Zelensky and his generals much harder than the advantages they get from holding the remnants of this city.
At the same time, the long battle for Bakhmut is extremely beneficial to the Russian troops, because they have already squeezed out a large chunk of the territory of Ukraine in 2022. If the special operation remains within these borders, plus or minus a couple of tens of kilometers, then this will solve many problems for the Russian forces. Bakhmut makes it possible for the army to gather strength, occupy advantageous defense lines, deal with internal problems, and prepare mobilized and fully armed men to meet any number of counter-attacking forces.
Bakhmut is extremely profitable for us; we grind the Ukrainian army there and restrain their maneuvers.
Any middle-level commander knows that if you have created tension for the enemy in some place and have a sufficient number of reserves, then you need to make a maneuver and strike nearby – where the enemy is not ready and where it will break. The most logical step for the AFU would be to pull back from Bakhmut and attack our flanks, to attempt to break through our defense. However, from Chasov Yar, more and more columns of equipment stream towards Bakhmat every day, and every day, the AFU fighters die by the hundreds before reaching the front line, strewing the “road of death” and the surrounding fields with thousands of corpses and hundreds of burned armored vehicles.
As you know, the military operation from Ukraine is tactically controlled by the Ukrainian military, and strategically by the so-called Western coalition under the control of England and the United States. In early April, documents were leaked from the Pentagon. The documents themselves do not pose any strategic danger. Their contents are already public knowledge – most of them are from open sources. However, the drain was widely publicized and immediately followed by active statements from sources close to the Pentagon about the need to slow down the offensive announced for April 15 until the summer period. Why has the army prepared for the great offensive been held back yet again, with the deadline for the offensive again postponed until the summer? After all, it would be much more painful for Russia to risk reputational losses as a result of the Ukrainian offensive just before May 9, if the AFU were able to push back the Russian army by even a few meters. And why is the Ukrainian army “giving a head start” yet again, by widely publicizing its intentions? It is the Western coalition that is decreeing these “dramatic pauses”, and that is rescheduling the APU offensive every time.
Perhaps 21-year-old Jack Teixeira behaved foolishly by leaking the documents, perhaps he was used by shadowy forces, but if this had not occurred, the information would have been publicized in some other way. I emphasize that the documents themselves were not of any strategic value, and their publication does not pose any threat to the Armed Forces. This means that they cannot in any way create risks for the APU.
There are a huge number of conspiracy theories about the events of the 90s, and then 2014 – the Maidan in Ukraine and the transition of Crimea to being under the control of the Russian Federation. There are a large number of different prophecies about the meanings of these events. One thing is absolutely obvious – the United States and the Anglo-Saxon group have been plotting the destruction of the USSR. as their main geopolitical competitor, for a long time. In the late 80s and early 90s, they managed to plant a huge number of Western agents within the ruling elite of the USSR, and thus changed the ideology of this ruling elite, whilst creating dependency amongst the population – all to weaken the nation. The collapse of the USSR was the most painful, the most severe collapse of any empire in the last few hundred years, but it did not lead to the complete destruction of Russia and its division into small principalities. In the bowels of the American special services, a plan has long existed to take the next step towards the complete collapse of Russia, which fully corresponds to today’s US doctrine. Look at the fragmentation of African states, and the collapse of the former Warsaw Pact countries. The smaller the country, the easier it is to manage, the more financially dependent it is, the more obedient it is.
The basis of modern US policy is financial neocolonialism. This is when even the most mineral–rich countries do not control the wealth inherent in their land, but are fully integrated into the production and financial flows proposed by “Western partners” – becoming American satellites, subcontractors and puppets. Therefore, the final task of the United States in the Ukrainian confrontation is to launch powerful centrifugal impulses in Russia, weaken the government and national consciousness in society and force it to turn its face to the West — as it was in the early 1990s. At the same time, of course, in order to exercise control over the political situation in the country, it is a priority to gain control over financial instruments within the system, over production facilities, and over the land itself.
Today, when the special operation began, and the Russian Federation failed to achieve the results that were initially expected, the United States had the opportunity to return to its original plan. The original plan, once again, was this: to break up the Soviet Union, then inveigle itself in the nations that surround Russia’s perimeter, and thus alienate Russia from its former allies. For 30 years, it almost totally succeeded. We first lost full control, and then lost good relations with many of our neighbours.
The “Deep State”
The collapse of Russia by military means cannot happen. Forests, swamps, vast territories, climatic specifics reliably protect the territory of the country, making it a huge fortified area. Always in history, the enemy who reached Moscow, as a result, shamefully fled, turning the “victory road” into the “road of death” on the way back.
Why do the Anglo-Saxons restrain Zelensky by arranging internal conflicts and slowing down the offensive? Just in order to break the main jackpot – the collapse of Russia into many principalities. The US does not need a quick war. They need a war that will lead to the re-assertion of the “deep state”, and its victory.
The “deep State” is a community of near—state elites acting independently of the political leadership of the state and having close ties with each other. They have their own agenda. These elites work for different masters: some — for the existing government, some — for those who have been on the run for a long time, but are still able to exert power covertly through their placelings in the heart of the government. A typical example of a “deep state” actor are those loyal to Khodorkovsky, Dvorkovich, and so on. Dvorkovich, who fled abroad, left behind a residue of human scum who remain powerful agents in this “deep state”. These agents are ready to side with any ally or enemy for the sake of their own interests. It is easy to find a way in to the deep state, because it melds all the historic elements that have bedeviled Russia from the revolutionary era onwards – red, black, white and green. And on each side, having a connection with a part of the “deep state”, you can get into its center. The Russian deep state is experiencing a serious crisis today.
Many of those who supported the special operation yesterday are in doubt today, or are categorically against what is happening. Representatives of the deep state want to urgently return to their normal life, old habits and comfort. The “deep State” is cunning and quirky, the conversation of Joseph Prigozhin is a vivid example of this. They are ready to mimic anyone. They are like an obsequious, cunning, bloodthirsty chameleon.
They are silent at meetings, they express their doubts. And when making decisions on bureaucratic procedures, certain actions aimed at winning this war are hindered. Since the bureaucracy in Russia today is exorbitantly powerful, it is possible to destroy any decisions of the top management aimed at victory within the framework of the “legitimate bureaucracy”. These are the internal enemies. In the theory of Alexander Dmitrievich Beglov, this is called a “bureaucratic sieve” – a sieve into which you can get, but it is impossible to get out of there.
For the authorities and for society as a whole, today it is necessary to put some kind of marker down. The ideal option is to announce the end of the SVO, and to inform everyone that Russia has achieved the results that it planned. In a sense we have really achieved them. We have destroyed a huge number of AFU fighters and can reassure ourselves that our tasks have been completed.
Theoretically, Russia has already received this marker by destroying a large part of the active male population of Ukraine, and by intimidating another part of it that fled to Europe. Russia has cut off the Sea of Azov and a large chunk of the Black Sea, seized a fat chunk of the territory of Ukraine and created a land corridor to Crimea. Now there is only one thing left: to firmly gain a foothold, to settle in those territories that already exist. But there is a unfortunate side effect – if earlier Ukraine was part of the former Russia, now it is an absolutely nationalistic state.
If before February 24, 2022, the European Union was greedy to give Ukraine tens of millions of dollars, now tens of billions are being saved for the war. Of course, part of these funds line the pockets of the ruling elite of Ukraine, which have profited hugely from the conflict. Many of those who were forgotten yesterday have now received a new chance for self-realization and enrichment.
Ukraine needs a victory, the United States needs a process
Although the Ukrainian leadership is busy enriching itself, the political leadership still needs a victory to justify the heavy losses of the population at the front, and general fatigue from the war. For Russia, there is always a risk that after the start of the counteroffensive, the situation at the front may worsen. The preservation of the existing borders on February 24, 2023 is the bargaining chip that the United States can offer to the Russian leadership today, as a negotiating position. That’s what a “dramatic pause” is for. If the Russian government refuses, the APU will go on the offensive. In this situation, there may be different scenarios. One of them is that the APU will fail to push past the defense of the Russian Federation, suffer serious losses, after which a colossal counteroffensive of the Russian troops will begin to the borders of the DPR, or to the Dnieper, or even to Poland. But, given today’s dynamics and problems, such a counteroffensive, to put it mildly, is not very likely. The second possibility is that the Ukrainian army will launch a counteroffensive and will be able to break through the defense somewhere.
In this case, the army, which for years considered itself one of the best armies in the world, may first begin to decline, and then the situation degrades, as it already did after the defeatist wars of the early twentieth century – Finnish, Japanese – and the tragic events of 1917.
This can lead to global changes in Russian society. The people are already looking for people to blame for the fact that we are not the strongest army in the world, and in this situation they will look for “extreme” solutions. And those who are “extreme” will, of course, be representatives of the “deep state”. That is, those people who today, without making efforts for a military operation, are as far away from the theater of military operations as possible, are trying not to lose their capital, to live a normal life, and this is absolutely unacceptable for a people tired of war and losing the taste of victory.
The desire of patriots for justice can have a strong impact on that very deep state, mired in luxury and bureaucracy.
At the same time, nothing threatens the supreme power of Russia, since it is a symbol of national unity and resistance to the West, and this is the basis of today’s existence and the main explanation of any problems for patriotic forces inside Russia.
The “deep State” will push the supreme power to make serious concessions. And, according to the existing tradition of the “deep state”, under any changes, try to improve their position by any means, including betrayal of Russia’s interests. Their task is not to help the country and not the people, their task is to promote their own position in society, their own comfort and their own capital.
Reach the bottom
There is a saying that when you hit ‘rock bottom’, you can start over again. This is what the American government are afraid of. They are afraid that excessive pressure on Russia and an increase in internal problems may pull it to the bottom. And if Russia reaches the bottom, it can start over again, throwing off the load of the “deep state”. Then it can rise up like a gigantic sea monster, demolishing everything in its path, including the plans of the United States.
There are many examples of this in world history. China in the middle of the 20th century, being one of the poorest countries in the world, under partial occupation, Germany after World War I, Japan after World War II, Turkey after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. They all re-surfaced, pushing off from the bottom.
Radical national feelings will rise as after any military defeat, the Russian military industry will begin to work with tenfold effort. Economic efficiency will displace sluggish inefficient state capital. The state will get rid of bureaucracy, the processes will become transparent, and Russia will turn step by step into a gristling Military Monster, which the international community will have to more than reckon with.
And if we don’t prove that we are strong militarily, no one will take us into account and they will walk all over us. It would be extremely unprofitable for America for Russia to reach the bottom and surface. They need a sluggish process in which they negotiate with the elites, with the “deep state”, and then convince the country’s top political leadership to make new concessions step by step.
If there are compromise agreements, then, according to the American principle of gradual humiliation, first the “Friedmans and Chubais” will be returned to Russia, then the “Khodorkovsky and Dvorkovichi”. Then the elites will gradually liberalize, and the “deep state” will accept them out of a sense of self-preservation, transform and turn from black or red to blue or pink.
Of course, such a development of events is unprofitable for Ukraine and Vladimir Zelensky, they need to resist and fight. But if these processes take place quickly enough, within a year or two, then a liberalized, Americanized, “deep state” facing the West will force the Russian authorities to make concessions and, under various pretexts, return to Ukraine those territories that are under our control today and that the West considers occupied.
These processes, along with the question “Why did we bother fighting?” will certainly trigger the mechanism of centrifugal forces in the regions. And the Americans will get their way. In this situation, the main US plan will be implemented with, at first glance, a beautiful “compromise”.
Russia cannot accept any agreement, only a fair fight. And if we come out of this fight battered, there’s nothing terrible about it. Fortified areas of Russia do not give an opportunity to penetrate into its depths. And the Russian people have never broken and will never break. Therefore, we demand a fair fight! And the sooner it starts, the better.
To summarize. Ukrainians are ready to attack. We are ready to repel the blow. The best scenario for the healing of Russia, in order for it to come together and become the Strongest State, is the offensive of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, in which no handouts and negotiations will be impossible.
And either the APU will be defeated in a fair fight, or Russia will lick its wounds, accumulate muscles and tear up rivals again in a fair fight. Therefore, I believe that the option of negotiated compromise is impossible for the future of Russia.
See you in Bakhmut.