Putin on the brink of major ‘1905’ humiliation after disastrous naval defeat

Russia: Vladimir Milov speculates on Vladimir Putin's future

We use your sign-up to provide content in ways you’ve consented to and to improve our understanding of you. This may include adverts from us and 3rd parties based on our understanding. You can unsubscribe at any time. More info

Historian Jeremy Black has given a withering diagnosis of Putin’s invasion, finding multiple parallels between it and Russia’s war with Japan in 1904-5. The historic war did not end well for Russia – and neither will today’s, warns Mr Black. The first key similarity is the sinking of Russia’s flagship vessel, the Moskva.

It was claimed by the Kremlin that the ship sank due to ammunition exploding on board during stormy weather – but this was later contradicted by images which appeared to show the ship riddled with explosions on calm seas.

There have been conflicting claims on Russian state media about the true fate of the ship, and even a suspiciously short and silent video released by their military claiming to show the crew safe and sound.

The lengths Putin appears to be going to to downplay the victory for Ukraine that the ship’s sinking represents perhaps indicates how devastating a loss it is for Russia – and for Mr Black, it rings very familiar.

Writing for the Telegraph, he said: “The last time the Russian Navy suffered a comparable blow was at the battle of Tsushima, in the final stages of the Russo-Japanese war of 1904-5.

“Across the two days of the battle, two thirds of the Russian fleet was sunk and a number of surviving ships captured.

“It was a disastrous defeat, and it is not the only striking parallel between then and now.”

Another key way in which history is repeating itself is in Russia’s humiliation at the hands of a foe who was presumed to be inferior.

Speaking of the Russo-Japanese war, Mr Black wrote: “the result was a calamity for the Russian regime.

“It was the first time in the modern era that a European power was defeated by an Asian nation, and not just any Asian nation but one that had been an isolationist feudal state a few decades earlier.

“The sense of national humiliation was acute for Russia – as it ought to be again today, as the world witnesses the supposed cream of the Russian military being ground to a halt by a nation that, so Putin’s logic goes, is not even a real country.”

To be fair to the Russian despot, his FSB officers tasked with assessing Ukraine’s strength reportedly gave a disingenuously positive view of a possible Russia invasion, both for fear of displeasing their tyrannical leader and because they had no idea such an event was even being considered.

Mr Black also highlighted the difference between Russia and Japan’s military technology in 1904, with Russia woefully ill-equipped for the war.

This is one element that does not ring quite so true today, with Russia’s military widely regarded as more expensive and technologically advanced than Ukraine’s.

However, Ukraine has seen substantial military support from western NATO countries, while Russia has seen repeated logistical failures and crumbling morale hamper their progress.

Where Putin’s war does appear to echo that of Tsar Nicholas II is in his inability to learn, as Mr Black calls it, “the dangers of a wartime leader digging in his heels.”

Mr Black stated that during the Russo-Japanese war, “the crucial contrast that opened up was between the early arrogant and in part racist assumptions of the Russian leadership and the reality of an intractable conflict.

“So also today. Instead of facing up to the difficulties his military faces, President Putin is renewing his assault, shifting the focus to the Donbas presumably in the conviction that this time he will be more successful.”

Tsar Nicholas II had opportunities to negotiate peace but decided against it in favour of military aggression, wrote Mr Black – a “disastrous” decision which led to open revolt and a full revolution just over ten years later.

He concluded: “If I were Vladimir Putin, I would find enough in the story to worry me.

“His forces face a similar humiliation and, though it could again be years in the making, defeat may yet mark the beginning of the end for this modern Tsar’s hideous reign.”

Source: Read Full Article