Michael Kofman is Research Scientist at CNA Corporation and Fellow at the Kennan Institute where he specializes in security and defense in Eurasia. He comments widely on Russian military affairs and foreign policy. He also blogs on the Russian military at his site Russian Military Analysis. You can also find a list of his many recent publications there as well.
You can listen to my previous interview with Michael Kofman on hybrid warfare here.
The Elements, “Both Feet On The Ground,” Elementary, 1981.
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By Sean — 3 years ago
Karl Qualls, Professor of History at Dickinson College and author of From Ruins to Reconstruction: Urban Identity in Soviet Sevastopol after World War II.
Josh Sanborn, Professor of History at Lafayette College and author of Imperial Apocalypse: The Great War and the Destruction of the Russian Empire.Post Views: 516
By Sean — 4 years ago
In my post on Ukraine’s refugees, I anticipated some questioning about the numbers of Ukrainians fleeing to Russia. I cited a MChS estimate of 30,000. It’s hard to pin down just how many people have packed up whatever they could and crossed the border. The Russians have presented various figures. Valentina Matvienko, Russia’s Federal Council speaker, gave an obviously exaggerated number of 500,000 refugees inside Russia! Another news report states that 80,000 have arrived in Rostov province in the last two weeks! Last week Russia’s migration service gave a figure of 80,000.I’ve also read that there are only 25,000 refugees inside Russia. These widely divergent figures are not surprising. After all, presenting the crisis in Ukraine as a humanitarian disaster is in Russia’s interest, as it’s in the interest of Kyiv and its supporters to low ball the numbers to Russia but inflate the number of refugees from Crimea. How much are the Russian figures an exaggeration? Matvinenko figure is preposterous, of course. But the Russian official figure of 80,000 turns out to be closer to the UNHCR’s count.
According to the UNHCR press release:
In Ukraine, UNHCR is seeing a rise in displacement. We now estimate that 54,400 people are internally displaced – 12,000 from Crimea and the rest from the Eastern region. Over the past week, the number of internally displaced increased by over 16,400.
Increases are also being seen in the numbers of Ukrainians in Russia and other countries, although so far only a relatively small number have applied for refugee status. Since the start of the year around 110,000 Ukrainians have arrived in Russia, and 750 have requested asylum in Poland, Belarus, Czech Republic and Romania. Of those in Russia only 9,600 have requested asylum. Most people are seeking other forms of legal stay, often we are told because of concerns about complications or reprisals in case of return to Ukraine.
Arrivals of the past few days are mainly clustered in Rostov-On-Don (12,900 people, including 5,000 children) and Byransk (6,500 people). In Rostov, people are being accommodated in public buildings and some tented camps. In Bryansk the majority are staying with relatives and friends. We have also seen unconfirmed reports of other recent arrivals from the east of Ukraine to Crimea.
110,000! I was taken aback by that number. Granted the vast majority of these people aren’t in refugee camps, but are staying with friends and relatives in Russia. Ukraine’s refugee crisis, both inside Ukraine and Russia is masked by the personal ties many Ukrainian citizens within and outside the country. Nevertheless, the UNHCR’s estimates illustrates that the refugee crisis is real and it’s getting worse.Post Views: 1,007
By Sean — 4 years ago
While the battle between Kyiv and separatists intensifies, the Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR) is helping stack the bodies via revolutionary justice.
The DNR may be adopting Russian laws, but one practice it’s exercising not found in the Russia codex is the death penalty. Several Russian news outlets reported that an order given by Igor Stelkov, the commander of the DNR’s militias, sentenced two men to death by shooting for “marauding, armed robbery, abduction, abandoning their military position, and hiding their crimes.” The two weren’t just regular grunts but commanders: Dmitri Slavlov, the commander of the Bulgar company, and Nikolai Lukyanov, the commander of Luka company.
Life News published a copy of Stelkov’s order.
Alexandr Mozhaev, a commander of a checkpoint neighboring Kramatorsk, told Kommersant that the men “broke into houses, robbed the families, and abused people. . . Such instances aren’t unique, but before someone just stopped a car, took the passengers jewelry and stole their money. Now, a decision was made to take harsh measures against these people so as to teach others a lesson.”
More evidence that things are spiraling out of control in eastern Ukraine.
Acts like this have to scare Putin. This is perhaps why Moscow is backing off its support for the DNR and has mostly been mute on the continued violence against separatists. All we get are repeated empty statements calling for an end to Kyiv’s “anti-terrorist” operation. Perhaps Moscow is now realizing that the separatists have gone off the reservation and are taking their revolution too seriously.
This is what Aleksandr Baunov argues in a recent article in Slon. With Poroshenko’s election, Kyiv is no longer a revolutionary threat. He’s calling for order and for the Maidan to be dismantled. This makes the president elect someone Moscow can work with. But the Donetsk People’s Republic? It might be becoming a liability. Baunov writes:
“The main danger for Putin now is the Donbass because it remains revolutionary. And therefore Putin will not increasingly meddle in it and will back off and stand aside. Although traffic in Kyiv still winds between the leftovers of barricades, the Maidan is not there, but in Lugansk and Donetsk, and that means you have to be on guard.”
. . .
“And Putin will become estranged from the Donetsk Republic. In all of his appearances at the Petersburg Forum there wasn’t a word about fascists, Banderovtsy or junta. There wasn’t even anything about Novorossiia or a unified Russian people. In the news, the Balkan floods, the train accident, the Nigerian abductions, and European and Ukrainian elections have all the more attenuated the topic of the junta and Right Sector. Even the chief ideologist [Dmitry Kiselev] has calmed down.”
I wonder if we can expect Putin to speed up his extrication from eastern Ukraine now that the DNR is decreeing revolutionary justice.Post Views: 373