By: Contribution for Syrializm
The North Caucasus region has been one of the biggest controversial issues in Russia, as the region is one of the most sensitive regions in Russia for decades, as it’s the gateway that connects Russia to the warm seas in the south, and it contains regions that are important sources of many wealth.
On the other hand, this region continued to suffer from chronic economic and social problems that constantly sounded alarm bells in Russia.
One of the most dangerous phases was the stage of the war in Chechnya, in which Russia had to engage in two episodes in order to finally be able to control the situation.
The Republic of Chechnya has been the most sensitive location for Russian security for years.
Chechnya, with its independent ethnic and religious specificity, is in harmony with the rest of the North Caucasian republics within the Russian Federation.
Chechnya tried to secede from Russia with the collapse of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s, and entered into a war with Russia that lasted from 1994 until 1996, when then-Russian President Boris Yeltsin was forced to sign an agreement that granted the republic additional privileges as an autonomous region, but that didn’t last long.
In light of the general Russian weakness, the spread of chaos and corruption, with religious extremism and the presence of extremist fighters, most of whom were graduates of the jihad period in Afghanistan against the Soviet Union, in the region, the issue was for sure is heading towards a volcano.
All of these contrasts made a perfect recipe for chaos in which unknown sourced financials, organized crime, Western intelligence activities, and even Western military powers could be an excellent paddock from which to strike Russia.
During the second war in Chechnya, with the Putin assuming power after 2000, which lasted for about two years from late 2002 until almost 2004, , Russia was able to control the situation, after many casualties for all.
One of the dangers that Russia realized was the presence of NATO behind Chechnya, which could turn the matter into dangerous trends, as Chechnya constituted the narrow door in this geohistorical dilemma for Russia in that region.
The North Caucasus region and Chechnya are part of it, of course, the center of the region called “Gap-666”, which is the geographical area extending from the eastern borders of Ukraine to the Russian city of Astrakhan on the coasts of the Caspian Sea, where the distance between these two places is exactly 666 kilometers.
666 Coincidence? Maybe!
Heading south, Georgia specifically at a stage when all indications show the Georgian orientation towards the west, the continuous presence of NATO forces their, as the Georgian port of poti, still to this day NATO port.
Georgia continued with hostile tone towards Moscow, which is of course part of the Caucasus dilemma in the history of the region, with the presence of two regions that caused the crisis, namely South Ossetia, which historically belongs to its northern part, which is in Russia.
The same applies to Abkhazia, which launched a war of secession from Georgia in 1991.
All of this prompted Russia to take military action in 2008, penetrating into Georgian territory and seizing the regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, which is perhaps the most dangerous region, as with its presence under Russian control, Russia would have closed the gateway to the southern coast of the Black Sea, and one of the points of contact with NATO lands.
Historically, Abkhazia is the southern entrance to the Eurasian plain.
The same thing, Russia did in 2014, when it took control of the Crimea peninsula to complete control of the southern gate overlooking the Eurasian plain, and to secure and extend a greater extent to Russia’s coasts on the Black Sea, leaving Russia with a gap that needs to be filled, which is the area that extends between the Black Sea and the Carpathian mountain range, until the road is closed to the NATO countries bordering Russia, namely Romania and Poland, which have deep-rooted historical hostility against Russia.
Here we come to discuss this gap, which is the door to the broader threat to Russia, the Ukrainian door, as Ukraine, with all its details in history and geography, constituted the greatest threat to Russian national security.
NATO and behind it the United States wouldn’t wish for a better and more important strategic location than Ukraine.
For years, Ukraine has publicly expressed its desire to join NATO, so the upcoming threat to Russia on its part was great, and Moscow must do a lot to get rid of that threat.
Theoretically, the presence of NATO or the United States of America forces, and the stationing of various types of offensive and defensive weapons in Ukraine, would make it fully control and supervise the entire Eurasian plain in the entire European continent from both sides.
And if the Crimea peninsula was under Ukrainian control in this case, this means that NATO will have the upper hand on all the coasts of the Black Sea, and it will also have the ability to deploy what it wants of forces on the entire territory of the flat region, and it will also be overlooking the coasts of Russia on the Black Sea completely, which means the complete neutralization of the Russian southern fleet as well.
In this case, the ally, that is, Belarus, will turn into a burden through its transformation into an enclave that cannot be defended if it’s subjected to a Western attack or invasion.
On the contrary, the Russian forces will have to withdraw from it in order to avoid incurring great losses, in a scene similar, albeit with different terrain, to the necessity of the Russian forces to withdraw from the northern parts and city of Kherson last year.
And if the Russian forces continue to absurdly defend the Belarusian enclave, in this case the Russian forces will be surrounded on three sides in which NATO forces are stationed (in the north of the three Baltic countries, in the west of Poland and in the south Ukraine), meaning that Belarus will become like a trap for the Russian forces, but in the event that Ukraine under Russian control, the Russian forces will be able to maneuver more and will be able to bridge a group of gaps leading to the Eurasian plain to the east, not to mention securing the road to Moscow.
Therefore, Ukraine is considered the primary target, and its function will be a warning bell for Russia in case of invasion is coming from the West, which is exactly what happened in the first and second world wars.
In our study of the course of World War I, when we calculate the time and period of time in which Russia lost lands in the Great European plains to its enemies at the time, the German Empire and the Austro-Hungarian Empire, in a very short period of time, Russia lost vase lands with huge numbers of human and material casualties.
The same thing was repeated in World War II, during Operation Barbarossa, which was set by Adolf Hitler to invade the Soviet Union, we find the extent to which the Soviet forces retreated and the amount of land they lost, with the huge amount of human and material losses, in a very short time, as in only four months Soviet forces retreated to the east, less than 20 kilometers away from Moscow.
In fact, and in light of the course of Operation Barbarossa, and had it not been for the presence of some logistical problems for the German forces that could have been solved at the beginning, and some problems in the conditions of some battles on the fronts and the differences in views between the Führer and his field commanders, and avoiding some tactical mistakes committed by the Wehrmacht forces it would have been much worse for the USSR, and Hitler would have been walking around Red Square less than six months after the start of Operation Barbarossa, as he did in Paris, and Stalin might have committed suicide.
In conclusion, whenever an invasion came from the West against Russia, the Russian forces were forced, after a short time, to withdraw from the Eurasian plain, retreating further east to take refuge in their natural fortress there represented by the Ural mountain range, even if they were forced to give up, even if temporarily, both St. Petersburg and Moscow, similar the case when Napoleon invaded Russia.
When Nazi Germany attacked the Soviet Union in 1941, the Soviet leadership had no choice but to protect the country’s leadership and military operations, and before that its military industries, but to move to the east, move and move even the entire factories behind the Ural Mountains, because most of the Russian industries, especially the military ones located in the Eurasian Plain region, and within the range of the German military machine’s fire, and the Wehrmacht armies that were moving towards the east quickly within a land that doesn’t have any obstacles or difficult geographical terrain, only winter was the Soviets great ally.
When we trace the course of the WWII and Operation Barbarossa, we find that all of Belarus and Ukraine have fallen to the Wehrmacht forces in a few days, without the Red Army being able to defend them.
At the same time, on the opposite side, the Soviet counterattack was later, and the Red Army advanced until it reached Berlin, relatively quickly.
Here are a set of questions for everyone who reads this research:
When all these data are placed in front of you, and you are in the political and military decision-making position in the Kremlin.
Your country’s strategic position, governed by the facts of history and geography, is exposed and difficult to defend.
You are in front of a military alliance of a group of major countries that possess various diverse capabilities, and whose actions reveal before their words the truth of their position towards you, and even that the military doctrine, theories and combat training in their forces are basically based on the assumption that the enemy is you, and therefore it’s possible that this alliance launches an attack at you at any moment.
Also, what unites the historical and popular memory between your people and the peoples of those countries are long centuries of wars, mutual ambitions, and hostility rooted in the popular mentality before the mentality of the decision-maker or the diplomats, who stands smiling in front of the cameras while carrying a poisoned dagger behind his back… Not until you find someone among those “diplomats” is one who doesn’t lack despicableness when he speaks publicly and shows his hostility and hatred towards you.
When your country has been invaded from the West many times throughout history by the same forces you face today.
All of this puts you around the clock in a worried and motivated position, driven by all justifications, the survival instinct, and the sense of security associated with the mutual hostile mentality.
So what you would do?
All of this provided Moscow with justifications so that it could defend its lands, interests and national security, against the Western-American encirclement in Eastern Europe.
When Vladimir Putin announced the launch of what he called a special military operation in Ukraine, the first justifications he launched on the eve of February 22, 2022 were Russia’s historical rights in the Donbas region, protecting Russians and Russian-speakers from persecution by the Kiev authorities, and fighting Nazi ideas and gangs who controls decision-making in Kiev.
All of these justifications were apparent justifications, but at the core and essence of the issue are the strategic, military and even economic justifications.
Without researching in more detail, it is enough to say in the language of numbers that the total resources and wealth in the areas that Russia has controlled since February 22, 2022 until today, is estimated at about $12 trillion.
When we observe the reaction of ordinary people in the West and some countries of the world, and their position on the “Russian invasion of Ukraine”, we find that they describe Russia as an unreasonable state, a state and lunatic leadership with reckless behavior, whose actions cannot be predicted, and which doesn’t evaluate any weight of international positions, and puts herself in a bad position without any sufficient justification.
All those sentences were echoing on the tongues of people everywhere.
The problem is always, that “the devil is at the details,” as the famous saying goes.
Let us turn to the debate to adopt the positions and opinions of the people, we find that Russia has actually benefited from this reputation with which it has become.
Yes, Russia is an unpredictable country… Russia is a crazy country that can do anything you can imagine.
This aspect is very important, allowing Russia to be in a better position to face other dangers.
To be continued…