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Russian Airstrikes Spur Heaviest Opposition Missile Activity of Entire War

November 4, 2015

By Type 63

Beginning September 30th of this year, Russian airstrikes and heavy support to the Syrian government have been the cause of significant study and reporting. While the immediate effects can be seen from gun camera footage, videos released from groups hit, and trying to extract the truth from the exaggerations by government sources, what is unclear is what the long term effects of these strikes are. And perhaps more importantly, in determining if they will be forceful enough to persuade outside backers of the Syrian opposition that it’s pointless to continue. What can be seen from the past month however, is that the provision of heavy weaponry to the Syrian opposition has not only failed to lessen but has in fact significantly increased. The writing is on the wall that Russian intervention has not forced supporters of the Syrian opposition to scale back their support out of fear of further expanding the proxy war raging in Syria, but have instead met the threat head on with greater levels of support and promises of future support.
Over a month after the Russian intervention in Syria began in earnest first and second order effects of that intervention are beginning to be seen. While the battlefield has not drastically changed for the better (or worse) for any specific actor, marginal gains are being by made Syrian government forces in Aleppo and Latakia in the north, Daraa and potentially Quneitirah in the south, with a see-sawing effect in Hama and Homs as victories in one are are traded for losses elsewhere. The doomsday fate predictions of the Syrian military have significantly thawed and the near unstoppable tidal wave of Jaish al-Fateh offensives in northern Syria seems to have cooled off if not stalled out. Whether Russian intervention is going to be key to a Syrian government victory or a better final outcome for the government remains to be seen, but measurable effects on the ground in terms of land captured, enemy leaders killed, and infrastructure destroyed or disrupted can certainly be measured. More importantly it is being measured and is the focus of quite a few articles discussing the effects of Russian intervention. But what isn’t being spoken about is the tremendous increase in opposition anti-tank guided missile (ATGM) attacks on Syrian armor that seems to go hand in hand with the increase in Russian aid and support. Almost immediately after Russian intervention began the greatest usage of ATGMs since the conflict’s start began to be seen with a tremendous effect on initial Syrian military advances.

bellingcat1

Russian Mi-24 Hind conducting rocket strikes in the Aleppo countryside. Youtube.

The ATGM has already established itself as one of the most significant weapons of the war, likely to be remembered with reference to the Syrian conflict the way the Soviet Mi-24 Hind was in Afghanistan, or perhaps more appropriately, as the Stinger missile systems that destroyed the iconic Hind. There is a tremendous cache of writing on ATGMs and their proliferation in Syria, but less is written about their impact. The Syrian military was the most tank heavy military in the Middle East pre-war, ranking sixth overall in the world with a staggering 4,500 – 5,000 tanks (although it has since been reasonably accepted that the working number of those tanks was significantly lower with many mothballed or out of service). The tanks purchased with the vision of pouring over the Golan Heights into Israel, or conversely defending the Syrian border from Israel assault were likely never envisioned to be deployed in nearly five year long civil war against an opposition force that was beginning to reach parity with Syrian military. The natural reaction of forces faced with tremendous armored strength is to either gain armored strength themselves, something increasingly common as more and more opposition groups capture tanks and armored vehicles, or to acquire means to defeat armor.

bellingcat2

1st Coastal Division gunner fires a TOW missiles at a Syrian tank. Youtube.

The proliferation of ATGM systems in Syria is among the most prolific in the world with at least ten different missile systems in in widespread use and several others in less frequent use, with several thousand missiles of all types spread throughout the country, via capture of Syrian military stocks, black market, transfer from Iraqi stores captured by ISIL forces, and the supply of regional supporters of the Syrian opposition including the Saudi funded TOW programs in Jordan and Turkey. The TOW program’s success in 2014 and 2015 has been so widespread that the TOW itself has come to be the most widely known ATGM missile system in Syria and certainly accounts for the greatest number of strikes that make their way to YouTube (which is in keeping with what we know about the relatively secretive TOW program).

bellingcat3

Large number of ATGM missiles captured in bunkers like this one near Damascus in 2013. Liveleak.

So what are the numbers? In October, through studious record keeping both on the reddit Syrian Civil War platform, and even more long term recording and analysis by twitter user @yarinah1 there were 140 recorded ATGM strikes on Syrian military vehicles and positions. No doubt more were launched and not recorded but this is the data that can be independently confirmed as having occurred within Syria during the month of October. That data corresponds most heavily to the days of greatest offensive moves by the Syrian military against opposition forces in Aleppo and Hama governorates, where entire armored columns were stalled out as multiple missiles were fired from the same firing point and no visible action was taken to neutralize the ATGMs. A lack of communication and close cooperation between Russian air power and Syrian military ground forces (touched upon here ) meant that after initial strikes went unretaliated against, opposition ATGM gunners could continue to strike fresh targets at will, and much of the video evidence in the first half of October suggests that this is precisely what happened.

In and of itself, 140 ATGM strikes might not mean anything to the casual observer. Thanks to the research and data plotting of @yarinah1, the past six months of ATGM strike data can be observed and gives us a general idea of ATGM strike behavior in Syria. Previous analyses of strikes in months and years past gives even lower numbers as monthly averages for strikes. So given the data, we see that at the previous month with the highest number of ATGM strikes in Syria, 67 were fired. Occurring primarily in northern Syria, during the Hama and Idlib offensives launched by Jaish al-Fateh, the number of strikes utterly astonished many observers of the conflict as groups reached a crescendo of offensive coordination that places ATGM teams among the most effective actors in those offensives. 67 strikes being the previous high would come to be more than doubled during the first month of Russian intervention and some of the heaviest offensive activity against opposition groups in the north of the entire war. This shows us that despite tremendous aerial bombardment by both the Syrian and Russian air forces in conjunction with heavy Syrian military offensives, missile proliferation was not only continuing but actually increasing.

So how is it happening? Saudi officials reported in mid October that an additional 500 TOW missiles had been delivered to elements of the Free Syrian Army, which reduces the need to be quite as frugal with targeting and allows for a greater number of shots to be taken without fear of depleting supplies. Similarly, information has come out that the Friends of Syria alliance has been supplying Russian Fagot ATGM missiles and launchers to FSA units and providing training for them (Google Translate link), in addition to large quantities of Fagot missiles captured during earlier campaigns but unusable due to a lack of compatible launchers.

TOW strike on a tank immediately followed by a Fagot missile strike on a truck in the same location. YouTube.

The influx of missiles and launchers may have pre-planned and only coincidentally aligned with the Russian intervention, but such events seem unlikely. Given the recent re-emphasis of the US government to provide $100m in support to Syrian opposition groups it appears that the principal supporters of the Syrian opposition are quietly doubling down on their weapon support to groups inside Syria. This helps to ensure that Russian airstrikes do not offer the qualitative advantage necessary to decisively alter the course of the war in favor of the Syrian government and provides the undertone that despite Russian involvement, outside support remains a priority to the Syrian opposition. Despite the clear impact of heavy involvement by Russian airpower, the uptick in heavy weaponry necessary to keep the ground forces at bay speaks volumes about attitudes towards continued support of the opposition in Syria. At double the rate of ATGM strikes of the next highest month of the war, October has demonstrated that the supply of heavy weaponry to Syria will not only not diminish, but grow to meet the evolving threat environment. Actions like these lend further credence to the idea that heavier weaponry will be supplied or that perhaps the rumors of limited delivery of anti-aircraft MANPADS to Syria. Time will tell, but October has been an illuminating month amidst rumors of Syrian opposition supporters backing off of outright weapons support and the Syrian military is certainly feeling the effects as their advances on the ground are met with ferocious hails of anti-tank weaponry.

Type 63

"Type 63: A Collection of Musings on Middle East Conflict" is the personal page of a Middle East / North Africa news and culture enthusiast, focused on non-state actors and how they wage war. The author is a 29 year old former US Marine infantryman, currently a graduate student for a Strategic and International Studies degree, with a research focus on the Middle East.

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145 Comments

  1. Randy Dread

    Andrea – November 7th, 2015
    You are familiar to HUMANITARIAN LAW (not laws of war ;)) as much as i’m familiar with astrophisics XD

    Humanitarian law does not exist.

    Reply
    • Andrea

      Ok, if Mr. Randy says so…

      Cause the International Committee of the Red Cross calls it “international Humanitarian Law” … they must be wrong, thanks randy

      Showing less and less brain day by day…..

      Reply
        • Andrea

          A source for the bullsh*t you are saying? Do you have one or is just your instable brain?

          If you search you should have a regional committee of the Red Cross with full knwledge about this, maybe they can teach u something and for sure is free….

          Reply
          • Andrea

            Law of war is something that falls under humanitarian law, not the opposite:
            International Humanitarian Law is about how to conduct a war regarding both civil and military environment. Law of war instead is more strictly “military”.

  2. Randy Dread

    International Humanitarian Law is about how to conduct a war regarding both civil and military environment. Law of war instead is more strictly “military”.

    So it’s laws of war. There is no international humanitarian law.

    Reply
    • boggled

      From the UN – http://www.ohchr.org/EN/ProfessionalInterest/Pages/InternationalLaw.aspx

      ‘The international human rights movement was strengthened when the United Nations General Assembly adopted of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) on 10 December 1948.’

      Rules of War is a sub heading under this.

      http://humanrightsinvestigations.org/the-laws-of-war/

      If you read through these laws there is the statements –
      Compliance with International Humanitarian Law

      Rule 139. Each party to the conflict must respect and ensure respect for international humanitarian law by its armed forces and other persons or groups acting in fact on its instructions, or under its direction or control. [IAC/NIAC]

      Rule 140. The obligation to respect and ensure respect for international humanitarian law does not depend on reciprocity. [IAC/NIAC]

      Rule 141. Each State must make legal advisers available, when necessary, to advise military commanders at the appropriate level on the application of international humanitarian law. [IAC/NIAC]

      Rule 142. States and parties to the conflict must provide instruction in international humanitarian law to their armed forces. [IAC/NIAC]

      Rule 143. States must encourage the teaching of international humanitarian law to the civilian population. [IAC/NIAC]

      Enforcement of International Humanitarian Law

      Rule 144. States may not encourage violations of international humanitarian law by parties to an armed conflict. They must exert their influence, to the degree possible, to stop violations of international humanitarian law. [IAC/NIAC]

      Rule 145. Where not prohibited by international law, belligerent reprisals are subject to stringent conditions. [IAC]

      Rule 146. Belligerent reprisals against persons protected by the Geneva Conventions are prohibited. [IAC]

      Rule 147. Reprisals against objects protected under the Geneva Conventions and Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property are prohibited. [IAC]

      Rule 148. Parties to non-international armed conflicts do not have the right to resort to belligerent reprisals. Other countermeasures against persons who do not or who have ceased to take a direct part in hostilities are prohibited.[NIAC]

      The main body of International Humanitarian (or Human Rights) Law covers both peacetime and war aspects.
      Laws of War govern, just that, War and are a subtext of International Humanitarian (or Human Rights) Law.
      In that way, Laws of War are bound by International Humanitarian Law statutes.

      Fare thee well

      Reply
  3. Randy Dread

    boggled wrote:
    ‘The international human rights movement was strengthened when the United Nations General Assembly adopted of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) on 10 December 1948.’

    But it’s not law. General Assembly declaratations are meaningless.

    Reply
    • boggled

      Randy, do a search on – books on international humanitarian law

      See what you find?
      Now these authors would have not wrote about this subject if it was not real would they?
      I could list the other Geneva and Hague Law Books also, but this gives you a good starting point.
      Laws of war and International humanitarian law are usually used interchangeably when being discussed, but it is a little more complex then that for International Law students and lawyers.

      Anyhow, that is a good search to get you started on learning something.

      Fare thee well

      Reply
    • Andrea

      No Randy… -.-”

      International Humanitarian Law is the one that comes from Geneva Conventions and if you violate Geneva conventions you go to international penal courts (guess Hague).

      Instead “The international human rights movement” is something different and as you said not law….

      Reply
        • Andrea

          Yes, randy, sure, u are the only right here….

          Yesterday evening i got a chat with the accountable of IHL of my Red Cross committee that confirmed my assumptions… but he must be an idiot…and damn it, because he’s the one who teaches IHL to Italian soldiers….

          Why the hell you pretend to know so much about something you first heard two days ago is a mistery.

          Reply
  4. John Zenwirt

    MOSCOW (Reuters) – “Three serving or former Russian soldiers have been geolocated by photographs in Syria, including locations near Hama, Aleppo and Homs, Russian bloggers said on Sunday, suggesting the Kremlin’s operation stretches well beyond its air campaign.”

    http://tinyurl.com/omo99mb

    Reply
      • boggled

        Are you done celebrating Remembrance Day there Randy?
        Do you have your American flag flying as well?
        Since of course if USA did not come and help in the war and sacrifice many, you could have grown up in a SS youth camp.

        Darn those American’s and their interventions huh?

        If your bored Randy, look up Lomachenko and watch a few of his boxing matches.
        One loss in 397 fights, pretty snazzy huhh?.

        Fare thee well

        Reply
        • Randy Dread

          We don’t ‘celebrate’ Remembrance Sunday.

          And of course it was the Soviet Union not the US that did most of the fighting.

          Reply
          • boggled

            Oh that is right Randy, the CCCP waged war on Poland, the Baltics, China, the ME and a few other countries at that time before Hitler marched East to Russia and Stalin had to retaliate or die.
            So then ended up declaring Hitler enemy numero Uno only and had to fight for its own survival.
            Yeah, those CCCP fanatics did do a lot of fighting and had their own concentration camps and relocation prisons.
            So yeah, of course under Josef’s CCCP they did do a lot of fighting (even in house at the time)
            Yeah those CCCP are an aggressive bunch that did a lot of fighting because they waged war on many fronts.

            Randy, I kept thinking you are from the United Kingdom??!?!
            Are you telling a fib? Are you pretending to speak for all folk of the British Isles?
            Remembrance Day was celebrated by the United Kingdom and many other Commonwealth nations.
            Canada, Australia, India, Kenya, New Zealand, South Africa, Mauritius, Barbados, St. Lucia, Bermuda.

            So are you a Brit or not?

            Oh, I see you have offense at me calling it a ‘celebration’ as opposed to a solemn memorial of reflection and honoring the veterans of wars past and current?
            I guess I can see why you would point that out.
            America has its own called Veteran’s Day in a couple days.
            Sorry if I offended, I did not mean to.
            I, like many, lost a grandfather in the European theater.
            To me it is that, remembrance, and more.
            A celebration of the freedom we have, the life they lead and the life they gave, and a thank you for the price they paid for protection the nations of the world.
            Did not mean to offend.

            Fare thee well

          • stranger

            boggled,

            USSR paid the highest price in WW2. USSR would not stand probably w/o US, UK and allies support, including the so called ‘lend lease’. Nevertheless in the beginning US was fighting mostly on Pacific theater against Japan, and landed in Normandy only in March 1944, after 4 years since Hitler has conquered all Europe except UK, and made them to strengthen his army, and after 3 years he invaded USSR. By that time it had been already clear that Hitler would fail.

            Early USSR didn’t waged a lot of wars actually, most known is Finland. As for Poland from one side, foreign intervention by Germany, UK during the civil war, China, expansion of Japan – that was not waged by USSR. Definitely not the Middle East at that time. Later mostly known is the division of Poland with Hitler, which started WW2.

            Many other countries signed peace agreements with Hitler in 1938-1939. His expansion started not from the division of Poland, but from the peace agreement together with Mussoliny’ Italy and UK in Munich, allowing him to occupy german areas of Checho-Slovakia, with other areas were occupied by Poland. After later Hitler and USSR had done the same division on Poland, allies (UK, France) announced the war to him.

            During the division of Poland, USSR was returned the areas taken by Poland as a result of WW1 and during the following civil war, the current western Ukraine and Belarus (not sure about precise borders). Ukraine should be actually grateful to Lenin who united several former Russian Empire provinces populated mostly by Ukrainians and added to them eastern provinces from Russia, Lugansk, Odessa, others (currently separatists regions) to form a single autonomic Ukrainian soviet republic. And also perhaps, grateful to Stalin who returned to Ukraine the current western areas from Poland. Should not be grateful of course for 70 years of soviet isolation, but that is our common history.

            There is also a Remembrance day (or a Victory day) in Russia, on 9th of May. In Russia the part of war starting from 22th of June 1941 is called the Great Patriotic War. Hitler definitely came not to liberate from communism. Stalin on the other side did a lot of fighting against own population, concentration camps, collectivization, deportations. But the WW2, or Patriotic War, was a fighting of people, not Stalin.

          • boggled

            stranger,
            Although your right about Normandy in 1944, the plans for it started before that.
            http://www.worldwar2history.info/Europe/

            April 1942 the USA began flooding troops into England.

            The UK wanted the North African maneuver to begin first.
            America acquiesced.
            America began much earlier then you guess at in the European arena.

            AS far as Japan CCCP war, you should read this little tidbit.
            http://thediplomat.com/2012/08/the-forgotten-soviet-japanese-war-of-1939/

            So not just Finland at that time, a fairly large (for the time) war was waged in Eastern Russia.

            The real declared war with Japan was already after the USA had pretty much wiped out the Japanese.
            Stalin declared war on an already beaten foe.

            AS far as attacking the ME, they attacked Iran in 1945 to steal away as much as they could.
            Stalin was somewhat balked on that and his aspirations on Turkey.

            AS far as Bessarabia, Luhansk, Galicia.
            Hitler and Stalin made their pact, in 1941 (I think) Stalin ordered 300 divisions of troops into Ukraine.
            Hitler thought it was preparations to invade Germany, Stalin said it was for defensive purposes.
            The attacks against Germany began and Hitler’s generals decided that it was time to fight that way and also to march toward Moscow.

            So there was a lot of back and forth and not knowing who your enemy was at the time in Ukraine.
            During Holodomor 1933, Eastern Ukraine was a lot larger, those borders were redrawn given to Moscow.
            Moscow gave on one hand, took away on another, and then put all of Ukraine under Communism. oppression.

            If your trying to make Stalin out into some guy that was reacting to war brought to him, he wasn’t.
            Stalin, Hitler, Japan’s Emperor, Mussolini all were making their own plans for world domination.
            They were not innocent at all in 1939.
            1945 changed a lot of peoples views after the atomic bombs and the Soviets loosing so much on a war that it partially was to blame.

            Fare thee well

          • stranger

            boggled,

            By mentioning Stalin-Hitler non-aggression agreement with secret appendix on division of Poland, and assuming the occupation of Poland as the beginning of WW2, it is frequently omitted the very similar agreement between Hitler, Italy, France and UK in Munich one year earlier. According to Munich agreement UK and France guaranteed not to prevent Hitler from occupying German areas of Czechoslovakia. Poland and Hungary at the same time took their pieces.
            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Munich_Agreement

            Before that a number of other countries including Poland made non-aggression agreements with Hitler. Stalin was not along here.

            Later Hitler tried the same with Poland, and got a response.

            Being late for colonial expansion as France, UK, Spane and others did centuries ago, in his Main Kanph, Hitler addressed eastern Slav’s areas as the vital interest for Germany. If it were not for Poland which laid on the way to USSR, and not for UK and France who actually announced the war to Hitler in a response to occupation of Poland, Hitler might not have even fought western Europe (or might have, we don’t know) or even worse Churchill, who proposed to nuke USSR would have supported him. (pure speculations)

            Stalin might have had expansion ambitions before WW2 or not. He might have considered Hitler more like ally in the beginning. You probably refer to ‘Suvorov'(Rezun) version. If anything can justify Stalin times that is the victory in that war. If it were not for WW1 and the following bolshevick revolution and civil war, not for WW2 which took 27 million lives in USSR, it might have been completely different now.

            For USSR that war was truly patriotic and it was won by soviet people. It is remembered like that, and matters more than for americans of europeans, disregarding of the Stalin figure himself.

            It occupied half of Europe, inspired China communist, separated Korea, made any obstacles for US in vetnam? Well, the different story, not soviets started it.

            As for Galicia, Ukraine became a state only after USSR collapse. During tsar times that were several divided southern provinces in russian empire from the east and several provinces from austro-hungarian empire and later poland from the west. People with different mentality and history btw.

            Long before that the first civilized state Rus appeared in Kiev, so Ukranians are actually more Russians than Russians themselves. Later those areas were pressed by wild mongols from one side and civilized European incursions from the other, also as a result of duke’s fighting the center gradually moved to the north to Novgorod and Moscow.

            So when Ukraine is contradicted to Russia, talking about occupation or russification or moving borders, etc it is not always clear what is meant. Or another interesting question why Belarus people are much more friendly to Russia? And Russians are actually more friendly to Ukrainians than sometimes otherwise. Ukrainians are like Sicilians in Italy verse Milanians, I don’t know. I didn’t mean to touch slippery national question…

            Thank you for the links on Normand and KhalkhinGol, very interesting.

          • boggled

            stranger,
            While I agree the Patriotic War was well fought and those that fought should be thought of and remembered as heroes for fighting against Hitler’s nutcases.
            That does not excuse Stalin and the fact they would not have had to fight on their own turf if not for Stalin’s policies.
            And the usual Moscow falsification of facts of history and hiding their lawlessness.

            So yes, I do think Victory Day should be celebrated for the soldiers’ heroic actions, it should not be remembered for Moscow’s leaderships decision makers.
            God Bless those soldiers for the defense they did for the Soviet States.
            But I will never forget the Gulag’s and other atrocities that many of those same soldiers took part in.

            Unfortunately for most Soviets there are four or five different versions of history – the facts, the Kremlin secret facts, the Kremlin’s re vamping of history (the RT version of history), the Kremlin permitted facts for locals (that some times align with actual facts), the Kremlin permitted facts for the historians.

            You state – Ukranians are actually more Russians than Russians themselves

            Two articles I think you should read regarding Kyivan Rus.
            The comments on Euromaidan’s are worth reading as much as the article.

            http://www.encyclopediaofukraine.com/display.asp?linkpath=pages%5CK%5CY%5CKyivanRushDA.htm

            http://euromaidanpress.com/2014/05/14/how-moscow-hijacked-the-history-of-kyivan-rus/

            Does the Czech and Slovakia occupation sound anything like Donbas or Crimea to you?

            Munich Agreement, another in the long history of France and UK’s appeasement to aggression in order to avoid a hypothetical wider escalation of the conflict into a European War.
            Thank you for the article.

            A group of ethnic people who were encouraged to move into another nation’s territory over time, and then when needed the original nation they came from can come in and declare we are protecting our ethnic ‘x’ rights and preventing their abuse by coming in and occupying or taking over those areas.
            hmm?

            Did not work out so well for Germany and Hitler.

            All in all Europe is an area that was an area of many agreements and voiding of agreements and political gameplay.
            A lot of blood has been shed in the disputes of those borders, as much as the Middle East some would say.
            The rightness or wrongness of situations can be one for historians to dispute.
            In some ways, I think we should look to the future, and a desire for global stability and peace.
            To me it seems like the rhetoric out of the Kremlin and vova is dragging us back to the heightened state of war footing in all Europe.
            Communism and collectivization was a bad thing and all the world recognizes that, except the Kremlin and the old fair weather communists.

            Anyways, it is interesting to see such a divergence on history and what people believe from what they are taught.
            Thank you.

            Fare thee well

          • stranger

            boggled,

            You have made so many categorical statements. I’ll try to answer may be not everything tomorrow. I need time to read your links as well. In the meanwhile what do you think about Solzhenitsyn’ view on Russia-Ukraine-West relationships, and particularly about the following four quotes.

            Solzhenitsyn as you know is soviet dissident the major critic of Stalin and soviet system, critic of communism, who wrote those in 90th long before P-tin, and long before current events, so he cannot be accused in Kremlin propag-a.

            And those quotes are too rude of course and would be inappropriate if it were anybody else but Solzhenitsyn. So excuse me if it seems unpolite, just what about the essence?

            http://buyaner.livejournal.com/148519.html?page=1

            “В самостоятельном развитии — дай Бог Украине всяческого успеха. Отяжелительная ошибка её —именно в этом непомерном расширении на земли, которые никогда до Ленина Украиной не были: две донецкие области, вся южная полоса Новороссии (Мелитополь—Херсон—Одесса) и Крым. (Принятие хрущёвского подарка — по меньшей мере недобросовестно, присвоение Севастополя вопреки, не говорю, русским жертвам, но и советским юридическим документам)”

            “Те, кто во Львове и Киеве наконец-то валят памятники Ленину — почему же поклоняются, как священным, фальшивым ленинским границам, на кровавой заре советской власти во многих местах прочерченным лишь для того, чтобы купить стабильность коммунистическому режиму? При решимости Украины полностью отделиться, на что ее право несомненно, такой валовой подсчет голосов в этих границах может оказаться непоправимым для судьбы многих миллионов русского населения. И создадутся напряженные зоны на будущее.”

            “Со многими украинскими националистами я сидел в лагере в 50-е годы и понимал так, что мы с ними в искреннем союзе против коммунизма (слова «москали» мы от них не слышали тогда). В 70-е годы в Канаде и в Соединённых Штатах, где велик массив украинской эмиграции, я наивно допытывался у них: а почему они нисколько не выступают против коммунизма, ничего не делают против него, — но так остро высказываются против России? Наивно, потому что лишь годы спустя узнал, что пресловутый американский закон 86–90 «о порабощённых нациях» был искажённо сформулирован против русских и подложен американскому Конгрессу именно украинскими националистами (конгрессмен Л.Добрянский).”

            Especially on Golodom.or and recent political announcements:

            “И в 1932-33 годах, при подобном же Великом Голоде на Украине и Кубани, компартийная верхушка (где заседало немало и украинцев) обошлась таким же молчанием и сокрытием. И никто же не догадался надоумить яростных активистов ВКП(б) и Комсомола, что это идет плановое уничтожение именно украинцев. Такой провокаторский вскрик о “геноциде” стал зарождаться десятилетиями спустя – сперва потаенно, в затхлых шовинистических умах, злобно настроенных против “москалей”, – а вот теперь взнесся и в государственные круги нынешней Украины, стало быть, перехлестнувшие и лихие заверты большевицкого Агитпропа?? “К парламентам всего мира!” – Да для западных ушей такая лютая подтравка пройдет легче всего, они в нашу историю никогда и не вникали, им – подай готовую басню, хоть и обезумелую.”

          • boggled

            stranger,
            There is a long history of wars, slavery, and Moscow or Ottoman oppression linked to the area of the Crimean Khanate.
            A map of around 1600 will show the borders at that time.
            https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/0/03/Crimean_Khanate_1600.gif/250px-Crimean_Khanate_1600.gif

            I think Aleks has a lot of issues on point (I agree with him for the most part), but he does hold some communist and some uniquely Russian viewpoints.
            He was brought up and raised in a the region so it influenced his way of thinking.
            In many ways he holds to the Catherine doctrines.
            Doctrines which Moscow has held as sacred because they put Ukraine mostly as a Tsardom of Moscow.
            Doctrines that they falsify taught history to support.

            Subservient slaves Muscovites wanted desperately to control, as well as the rich agriculture since in the North they had a difficult time growing for its Moscow population.

            Although this next link doesn’t show it, there was actually some trade off with the ‘gift’ of Crimea.
            Ukraine ceded much of the Urals in exchange and areas of Rostov and Sochi ( approximate general size of the trade), ie Kuban areas.
            So really it was not a gift.

            Still an interesting video to watch of European borders through the last 1000 years of Europe’s and Russia’s changes.
            http://www.viralforest.com/watch-1000-years-european-borders-change/

            Bringing down Lenin would be a good thing and I am surprised to see Aleks is opposed to it.
            Especially when quotes of his attitudes to people and tactics were exposed –

            a link about Holodomor that states – An instruction “On Grain Collection in Ukraine, North Caucasus and the Western Oblasts” by the Communist Party Orgburo and the Council of People’s Commissars of the USSR, signed by Joseph Stalin and Viacheslav Molotov, dated December 14, 1932 had a clear underlying ethnic motive. Ironically, the directive also condemned ukrainianization, suggested that it should be stopped and those “guilty” of starting it should be sentenced to 5-10 years in a GULAG. The regime required that all record-keeping in “ukrainianized” provinces of the North Caucasus, as well as all newspapers and magazines published in Ukrainian, be switched to Russian. By autumn, school children were taught in Russian, too.

            It also includes a map of Ukrainian populations in the areas of Kuban.
            http://ukrainianweek.com/History/43727

            So while Aleks was critical of the the Moscow ‘communists’ and oppression, he was also a citizen of that culture.
            And he bought into some of the denials of the Kremlin propaganda surrounding Holodomor and other repressive activities.
            The nation under Moscow’s thumb was told what the activities they would take blame for and what they wouldn’t.
            He was taught, as you were, that collective farming, other areas of Russia suffered famine as well (targeted against Burgoius (wealthy farmers) and insurgents also? probably)
            We both accept many died as a result of Moscow’s policies.
            You accept that it was a policy that resulted in many Ukrainian deaths, although you do not believe it was targeting Ukraine as a whole.
            I disagree, it was a policy that many Ukrainians died , that killed and targeted many of the Kuban area and Eastern Ukraine areas that considered themselves Ukrainian.
            Hence it was a genocide against Ukrainians and Ukraine soil but not against all of Ukraine.
            It was targeted against Ukrainian groups of the area that stood up to the Moscow directives and attempted to challenge them.
            The Western half of Ukraine dealt with Moscow more indirectly, so they were not ‘targeted’ but Ukrainians were.
            Ukraine is a conglomeration of many tribes and nationalities, and the targeting may have been more selective by Moscow towards those groups they wanted to control, still they were Ukrainians first ( and members of those tribal groups second).

            And I think that is were a lot of the historical quibbling and Moscow spin comes from.
            Moscow says, we were not selective it just so happened that those particular groups were affected.
            There was some blowback of incidental famine on Russians as well because with such a policy they could not control everyone that was affected by famine, I admit.
            The documents are there, it was targeted at certain regions.
            Those regions were where a majority of Ukrainians lived.
            The regime also targeted other areas and maybe those should be recognized as genocides as well, but one thing at a time.

            So although Alek got a lot of things right and did a world of good for the world and for the Russian population by what he wrote about, he was also a citizen of the Russian empire that had a specific control of a lot of information that was available to the population.
            We all have our beliefs in what we believe and what we deny that are facts.
            I may be wrong about some of things I state, but I believe them because they fit together.
            Alek believed what he believed because it fit together with his life experience.
            He was a critic but also a supporter of the land he loved.
            He had places in his information he did not want to know or he refused to accept.
            Some of his writings were wrote by the Moscow intelligence, and pretended to be him as well.
            Anyways, those are my thoughts about him and those quotes and him also being a product of a Communist and a oppressive government that will, to a certain level, will defend Russia and the things he is not ready to believe.
            Being a product of the ROC has its influence as well, for both good and bad.

            Fare thee well

          • stranger

            I still cannot follow the logic on Golodom’or which tries to turn it out as intentional oppression of particularly Ukrainians from specifically Russia, not commu’nism, not Sta’lin, not soviet ideo’logy.

            The Sta’lin document which allegedly point out national motive: “On Grain Collection in Ukraine, North Caucasus and the Western Oblasts” do you know where it can be found? Because there is no quote in the article, just the final verdict and i failed to google.

            Also, you see, please correct me if I’m wrong, the following statement is a bit obscuring:

            “Restored after the collapse of the Romanov’s empire in 1917-1920, Ukraine immediately faced the dilemma of the annexati’on of Eastern Ukrainian territories, which at that time, were part of Voronezh and Kursk Provinces, the Don Army Oblast, Kuban and the Stavropol Province.”

            What exactly was restored in the very short period of chaos and civil war in the former Russian empire/future soviet union? It was a self proclaimed organization, who called itself an Ukrainian parliament or “Rada” and assigned themselves the responsibility for areas of several former Russian empire provinces, which, how they thought, were predominantly or rarely populated by ethnical Ukrainians. I would argue the accuracy of the map in the article also. Neither that Rada was elected, nor was it able to control those areas. Given another 16 self-proclaimed and unrelated to each other governments only in those areas that times, including the most appreciated by people anarchists of Bat’ko (Father) Machno. They could have proclaimed themselves a globe or universe government with exactly the same effect and claim they are being occupied by everybody.

            That may have been an important stage in creation of Ukrainian independence, but that was far a false-start.

            So when you are saying Ukraine was occupi’ed by Russia or bargained in giving back and forth territories, the answer is just – there was no Ukraine at that time. Ukraine appeared only in 1991 according to artificial soviet borders drawn by Lenin and Ukrainian areas of Poland attached by Stalin. And of course borders must not be touched now! But that creates a ‘detonating mixture’, when you start to incline into any side, when some people appeals to Russia and some to Ukrainian national idea which by some mysterious reason is incompatible with the first one.

            What I can see now, it is Ukraine, not Russia, since may be Ushchenko times, is trying to rewrite history in order to find it’s own national idea and national identity, which in some mysterious way should be obligatory contradicted to Russia.

            Your map is related to 1600 the times of Tatar-Mongol Igo invasion, so it is intended to prove that northern Russians are the mixture of Finland with Mongols, while Ukrainians are assigned themselves Skiffs (you said Swedish) origin and are trying to prove they are actually genuine kievian Russians 🙂 Also by the link from your another comment. Moscow is attributed to 1277 as “subservient vassal region to the Golden Horde”, Peter the first rewriting the history. Well, No, I don’t believe that most Ukrainians take that all seriously. But it is just very curious and perhaps indicative (mis)interpretation.

            What touched me most in Solzhenitsyn on Ukraine is that he sharply and precisely predicted the relationships between 3 sides now, Russia-Ukraine-West. Russia still considering Ukraine as may be it’s little, but relative. Ukraine hating Russia in response. The indifferent West whose interest in Ukraine is temporal and situational, while understanding is close to zero. Ukraine trying to impose the west a wrong interpretation, push down Russia and gain something at the expense of it. etc. And it looks very sad.

            Does it make sense or all stupid? I believe one should at least live in Ukraine and Russia some time to make such judgments. Not me to decide or to care about of course.

          • stranger

            Sorry, “Skiffs” – I meant Vikings of course, Varangians, modern Swedish. Not Skiffs (Scythians) – Persians

      • Mad Dog

        When the facts fly in the face of Russian news reports, Randy gets bored. I just noticed that pattern. Of course the Russians are great at playing this game. They did it in the Korea War and in Viet Nam as well (along with about 300,000 Chinese). They did it in Syria years ago. Most ex-commie and present commie nations did this kind of stuff. I guess families will just have to wait for the body bags to come back from some unknown place. Got get ’em Randy!

        Reply
        • Mad Dog

          wow Stranger, history straight out of Soviet text books. Guess that is okay, but the USSR is long gone. Really, you leave out some stuff and add others, but the focus is a bit off.

          As for the US and WWII, the US did not want to get involved in another Euro war and the status of US forces shows how unprepared the US was. If Russian historians think we dawdled, I guess it is because they compare the massive armies that the Soviet had at that time, thinking that should have been normal. But they really forget that the US moved rapidly to support the allies even before declaring war (which, as many historians note, was helped along by the devils pact with Hitler, allowing him to turn his forces on Western Europe [and killing several thousand Polish Officers, intelligentsia in the bargain]. Yes, you are right, the US invaded France in 1944, but they were also battling the Afrika Corp in North Africa to protect the Suez Canal, etc., and landing in Europe in 1943! I guess you forgot Sicily and Italy. All of this going on while fighting the Japanese in the Pacific, a battle that played second fiddle to the battle against Hitler (thanks again Papa Joe, for having a nice non-aggression pact with Japan making it much easier for them to send troops to the Pacific to kill allied (??) troops. And you overlook the massive efforts and sacrifices made to supply Mother Russia in those years, both in very dangerous Atlantic waters and overland from Persia. Great things was, all those seamen were treated as potential spies and never allowed off their ships except to some special restricted areas. Thanks for the warm welcome Papa Joe. And please don’t get me started on Poland and Finland (and of course the brutal treatment of the Ukraine……funny how that is conveniently distorted) because that would also lead to a discussion of the brutal treatment of Soviet citizens as so clearly described by Solzhenitsyn and others.

          Reply
          • stranger

            As for US in WW2, I mentioned the lend lease, when US helped USSR and allies a lot with oil, machines and other equipment. Distracting Japan at the pacific theater was also more than crucial for USSR. Italy, North Africa, Atlantic swarming with German submarines. Many Americans affected by cold war clichés are still very surprised that USSR and US were allies that times.

            Nevertheless you are right that US persuade own interests first and then UK ones. The relationships of US with EU has never been straightforward.

            As Harry Truman said (NYT 24 June 1941) (may that explain the delay to some extent or not(?)):

            “If we see that Germany is winning we ought to help Russia and if Russia is winning we ought to help Germany, and that way let them kill as many as possible…..
            although I don’t want to see Hitler victorious under any circumstances. Neither of them thinks anything of their pledged word.”

            Before that, since the defeat of Germany in WW1, US did a lot to support Germany to recover the destroyed economy, even when socialists with Hitler came into power. US lent a lot of money which helped Germany to rebuild it’s war machine. The brilliant and best in the world weapon, far ahead of USSR and allies. The biggest artillery caliber, first in the world jet missiles able to cross la Manche, heavy tanks not accessible to soviet artillery, Messerschmitts, submarines, etc. By the end of the war USSR has managed to develop competitive tanks, T34, but in the beginning it was sometimes that cavalry advanced against German tanks.

            That helped Hitler to march over all western Europe w/o any significant resistance. And western means France, etc while Poland is eastern. Many countries just joined him including Finland, Hungary, some Ukrainians. Nonetheless those non-numerous Ukrainians were very soon disappointed under occupation. What Hitler and elite SS allowed themselves in Ukraine and Russia, they never ever allowed in France, they never treated Jews and Slavs as equal to themselves. That is the major difference with Stalin.

            As far as I understand Hitler invaded south Africa to cut UK off from their colonies’ supplies and that was why UK asked US to start from Tunisia.

            You said US landed in EU in 1943, but the WW2 started in 1939 if we count from Poland, Hitler invaded USSR in 1941. (Katyn massacre of Polish elite officers was actually done by Stalin)

            Many Americans think that US won WW2 along, while most heavy strike was taken by USSR, with Ukraine was also a part of it.
            http://www.slate.com/blogs/browbeat/2015/06/05/interactive_documentary_the_fallen_of_world_war_ii_animates_devastating.html

            I suspect that American mass education history books are not much different from soviet’s in terms of lightening only one side of events. Ideology has always been strong in US and it sometimes resembles, not equal of course, to the soviets one. Anyway it so fortunately happened that US, UK, China, France and USSR were allies that times. Unfortunately later the cold war began, and now sometimes it looks like the cold war is returning.

            Concerning Solzhenitsyn, Gulag – that touched all soviet people. Later Khrushchev’s warming, first human in space, free education and medicine, were also for all.

            BTW did you see what Solzhenitsyn with his sharp honest straightforwardness wrote on Ukrainian nationalists, Golodomor? Very curious to find, and he is not on your side here (in 3 parts, rus):
            http://buyaner.livejournal.com/148519.html?page=1

            “Со многими украинскими националистами я сидел в лагере в 50-е годы и понимал так, что мы с ними в искреннем союзе против коммунизма (слова «москали» мы от них не слышали тогда). В 70-е годы в Канаде и в Соединённых Штатах, где велик массив украинской эмиграции, я наивно допытывался у них: а почему они нисколько не выступают против коммунизма, ничего не делают против него, — но так остро высказываются против России? Наивно, потому что лишь годы спустя узнал, что пресловутый американский закон 86–90 «о порабощённых нациях» был искажённо сформулирован против русских и подложен американскому Конгрессу именно украинскими националистами (конгрессмен Л.Добрянский).”

            “И в 1932-33 годах, при подобном же Великом Голоде на Украине и Кубани, компартийная верхушка (где заседало немало и украинцев) обошлась таким же молчанием и сокрытием. И никто же не догадался надоумить яростных активистов ВКП(б) и Комсомола, что это идет плановое уничтожение именно украинцев. Такой провокаторский вскрик о “геноциде” стал зарождаться десятилетиями спустя – сперва потаенно, в затхлых шовинистических умах, злобно настроенных против “москалей”, – а вот теперь взнесся и в государственные круги нынешней Украины, стало быть, перехлестнувшие и лихие заверты большевицкого Агитпропа?? “К парламентам всего мира!” – Да для западных ушей такая лютая подтравка пройдет легче всего, они в нашу историю никогда и не вникали, им – подай готовую басню, хоть и обезумелую.”

            You are welcome to share if something important is missed, especially on Ukraine. I have a feeling that it is worth to just open numerous wikipedia articles, it looks like we all need to learn more. And again I didn’t mean to insult anybody especially on the sensitive Ukrainian holywar question, just wanted to share what seems interesting.

  5. John Zenwirt

    boggled:

    “I, like many, lost a grandfather in the European theater.
    To me it is that, remembrance, and more.”

    Thank your family for their brave service. I have red Remembrance poppies on my jackets, all of ’em. Wearing them is a sign of being a real Canadian…

    Reply
      • John Zenwirt

        There are a lot more than three Russians photographed in this article….where’d they get the pics. of all those Russians, all tooled up, with a desert background….Iran…?

        Reply
        • Andrea

          Yes, few images may be taken outside Syria but a couple of them are geolocated…
          Another has a car with a huge syrian flag…
          Others, from instagram, are taken in sequential days and in one the subject is in front of Bashar Assad Airport XD

          Randy, as you pretend that this material is recycled why can’t we assume MoD pictures are fake too ?

          Reply
          • Randy Dread

            No, I just said it was the Dail Heil/Mail that had recycled the images from this Ruslan Levlev dude (Conflict Intelligence).

            How is Ruslan Levlev even alive? Moscow is a lot more tolerant than I would be.

  6. Randy Dread

    boggled – November 9th, 2015
    I, like many, lost a grandfather in the European theater.
    To me it is that, remembrance, and more.

    Where did your grandfather fall, boggled?

    I had a great uncle who was in Normandy.

    Reply
    • boggled

      After helping to liberate Tunisia, one of his last attacks was in Augsburg, Germany.
      He was shot down on a return flight near the German Swiss border.
      So he faced more air battles then ground fighting.
      Normandy was a battle that was Hell, all of the war was but that was Hell on steroids and a deadly battle of uncommon valor.
      Props to any that were there.

      Fare thee well

      Reply
        • Mad Dog

          Many brave and not so brave men died in that war against fascism and also against totalitarianism (Ask the Finns). Many brave Soviet troops died needlessly thanks to Papa Joe (ask the Finns again). Many brave seamen died supplying the Soviet war machine as well, a sacrifice Soviet historians and others so readily forget, but the Soviet army moved in Dodge trucks and lived on Spam. The men braving those Atlantic waters should be duly honored in present day Russia, but they aren’t, a sad tale. Randy and Boggled, I honor your relatives who served at that time.

          Reply
  7. Anonymouse

    “Aleppo and Latakia in the north, Daraa and potentially Quneitirah in the south, with a see-sawing effect in Hama and Homs as victories in one are are traded for losses elsewhere.”

    I’ll admit that I haven’t been following the conflicts in Daraa and Quneitirah as well as I have been following the northern conflict. But I think your description here is detached from reality.

    The only regime advances in the north have been near Aleppo. There their push toward al-Eis still has momentum, and there are reports trickling in today that they’ve reached Kweiris Airbase. If confirmed, this may not be the most critical event from a strategic standpoint but it’ll certainly be good from a PR standpoint. It’s not been without problems – they’ve had supply lines counterattacked further south and lost a couple towns along the route, their initial expansion in industrial northeast Aleppo has been rolled back and then some, and their access routes to the city center have been narrowed – but overall their Aleppo mission has been successful thusfar.

    The same absolutely cannot be said for Latakia. When Russian airstrikes began, the rebel line extended from Rabia to Salma. Now it extends all the way down to Ghmam. That’s starting to get uncomfortably close to the city of Latakia itself. Their hold on the area east of Salma is also weakening. They might manage to reverse this trend, but so far, they’re on a solid losing streak in Latakia, which is a really dangerous trend given its importance to the regime (the Russian airbase at Latakia, the vast majority of the imports of military hardware, the industrial capacity, the vast majority of their oil refining capability, etc)

    Hama is also absolutely not a “see-saw”. They launched an initial massive wave, which was widely described as a “tank slaughter”; they lost a huge number of vehicles right after Russian air support arrived and only took a few small areas, losing a lot of hardware in the process to TOWs. Since then they’ve lost it all and have continually lost one town after the next that was regime-held before the Russians arrived – Morek, Skik, Atshan.. now Maan looks ready to fall. There’ve also been significant regime losses further west in the al-Ghab plain and south and southeast of Kafr Nabudah. What once was a Latmenah salient at risk of getting pinched off is now the new southern front threatening Hama (and thus a linkup with their pocket between Hama and Homs – aka, threatening Homs as well).

    I have no clue what trends will hold and what will be reversed. But of the fronts I’ve been following, the regime so far seems unstoppable near Aleppo, while the rebels so far seem unstoppable in Latakia and northern Hama.

    Reply
    • Mad Dog

      Wo0w anonymouse, interesting info. SOunds a bit ominous and I imagine some Russian families are a bit worried about their ‘volunteer’ sons and fathers. Hope you can keep feeding this site with your info.

      Reply

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