OK, Putin, your jig is up!
There is a direct link between the decisive rejection of a promised “red tsunami” in this week’s elections in the U.S. and Moscow’s decision to withdraw from the Kherson region.
Alison Quinn’s latest in the Daily Beast confirms what its headline says, that Putin has suffered a “humiliating defeat” in the Khumar region such that troops have been ordered to retreat. The account reports that “Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu handed down the order on Wednesday afternoon to pull out to the other side of the Dnipro River. The move came after Russian troops reportedly began blowing up bridges as they pulled out, with Russian flags being removed from buildings in the center of Kherson—the only regional capital captured by Russian forces in the full-scale invasion.”
Now, the fact that Putin will not have the strong phalanx of support for this expansionary crimes in the U.S. comes as a last straw. Tuesday’s amazing electoral returns – a complete repudiation of the Trump trashing of the U.S. political system – marked only the second time in the post-World War 2 era that a party that won control in the White House did not lose a major chunk of its strength in the subsequent midterms.
Putin staked his Ukraine military invasion on that happening. He’d planned on keeping his agent, Trump, in the White House last year, pulling out all his stops to achieve that result. When it didn’t happen, he recalibrated on the hope of a “red tsunami” in this midterm election. There is every evidence he tried very hard to cause that outcome, including through the confessions this week of the key operator of his Internet Research Agency “troll farms” in Russia, Yevgeniy Prigozhin.
It is likely the unusually public claim by Prigozhin in the Russian social media platform VKontakte came as a last-ditch effort to convince Putin’s inner circle that the effort would yet succeed.
But it is more likely that Prigozhin is not even aware of the extent to which his efforts failed due to countermeasures by U.S. intelligence which, to be most effective, don’t leave an adversary aware of the nature or scope of an intervention. If an image of a terrible monster figure is replaced by one of Scooby Doo, then the desired effect of a troll operation gets completely lost.
The Russians pride themselves on their sophisticated appreciation for what makes the human mind tick and of how subtle messages attached to key imagery can be effective in altering a person’s perceptions of reality. Western intelligence has been slow catching up to some of the more nuanced aspects of the game. However, as they do, they increase their capacity to not only neutralize them but to also conduct effective blowback moves.
It is of major importance going forward that “inoculation” efforts be launched from the pro-Western side to defuse Russian efforts. What would be the key components of that?
While enhancing support for political and social causes opposed to the Russian objectives is important, it is also very important to engage the public on less partisan, more generally humanitarian viewpoints such that partisan or social differences don’t hit with the same ferocity and people can live with, even affirm, their differences.
Of course, the economic side of this is important, too, and that was a major factor in this fall’s election. While inflation may be hurting people, it is also a question of how much and what’s being done about it.
The major corporate controlled news media has tried to play up the negative effects of Biden’s agenda on average American households, but that works only if the other side is not aggressively touting the achievements of Biden in a positive light.
In this regard, the big winner this week was Biden, himself, and his programmatic agenda bringing concrete benefits to real people. That’s the best inoculator of all, the defense against political hostility represented by a wallet fat enough to block the naysayers.
Yep, Biden is the week’s winner.