RazvedOpros #1: Militiaman Murz – “If we lose in Donbass, Russian army may also go down.”

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Video translated by Tatzhit; text written by the same.   7/5/15

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Foreword:

Very famous Russian blogger/ex-cop Dmitry Puchkov has an interview show.
He had four interviews with Donbass self-defense militiamen, and
they’re all extremely interesting – not only for the specific facts, but
for general insights on the nature of modern conflict.

Unfortunately, neither I nor any of my comrades have the time to
subtitle them, so they will be presented as voiceover instead. Enjoy the first one!

[those who are short on time – read text below, or click the gear
symbol on YT and increase playback speed to 1.5x, should still be very
understandable. See ending of the post for explanation of the title
quote.]

=====

Background information:

Andrei Morozov AKA Murz is a fairly well-known communist/leftist activist with strong independent views.

Some years ago, he successfully attacked pro-Western opposition rallies
(most notably, by bombarding them with gerbils he claimed were infected
with rabies), but fought Putin’s regime just as vigorously, eventually
receiving a three-year jail term for firing a sawed-off shotgun at
Putin’s political party regional HQ (unoccupied due to nighttime).
Basically, while many question his sanity, there’s little doubt about
his sincerity and willingness to fight for what he believes in.

He first went to fight for Novorossiya in May, but his history of being
jailed as an anti-Putin activist led to him being detained as a probable
double agent and, after some rough treatment, being hostage exchanged
to the Kiev nationalists, who in turn kicked him out to Russia. Many
made fun of the whole mess, but having recovered from his ordeal, Murz
came back and successfully joined the NAF in late August.

Previous translation of Murz’s articles on “technical difficulties in the NAF”:

1) “Debaltsevo operation: inside view” or “System-wide errors in reorganizing the NAF”

2) “Lieutenant’s daily nightmare” 

=====

Key Thoughts
(composed from the interview)

Working tanks

People like to conclude: NAF have this many tanks, UAF have this many
tanks. NAF captured this many tanks from UAF, so now they have more
tanks. In reality, a fully working tank is a rare animal, probably only
abundant in the professional Russian army. In our war, not all of the
tanks on both sides can even drive. A portion of those that can – can
also fire the cannon, some of those can also fire the machineguns, and
some of those even have crews that are battle-ready – because to train a
tank crew, they need to burn a ton of fuel and shells…

[One thing about working tanks, though.] When people blame Strelkov and
others for retreating from half of Donbass last summer, the one thing
people don’t realize is that in Donbass terrain – large open spaces, low
hills – tanks are very effective, they have the space to hit targets
2-3 km away, etc. The only way to stop them is lots of AT guns or
trained ATGM crews, and neither side has many. So basically, the only
way to hold ground is to have a comparable number of tanks. If the
number is not comparable, there is a series of tank battles and one side
retreats.

[Once you have a working tank;] Tank drives out – the enemy gets
concerned. If it then fires and actually hits something – that’s saying
“Hi guys, we have a working tank. Do you?”. At that point, they decide
“No, sorry, we don’t”, pack up and leave.

By the time we got to Debaltsevo, we had 4 working tanks out of 40, most
lost to technical issues. But these four tanks, distributed
individually to assault groups, played the role of that “working tank”
that told the enemy “‘Sup’, I’m here”. Sometimes we had to say that a
few times, [and the DPR guys even had to clear their side with a BMP-1
instead of a tank]… but eventually the city got cleared.

Foreign mercenaries

– Have you seen any foreign mercenaries?

– Not personally, no. I think they’re there – Americans are there
officially – but why would they risk themselves at the frontlines? … Of
course, there are always rumors. Like the ever-popular legend about the
Baltic [woman] snipers, the “White Tights”. Sometimes the area does not
have a single casualty from sniper fire, and the legend still persists.

Yugoslavia scenario*

*[After failing to protect Serbs in the neighboring republics and in the
splinter region of Kosovo, support for Milosevic at home waned,
Western-backed “student organizations” staged mass protests, and he
agreed to step down – only to die in Hague prison under unclear
circumstances]

Goblin: … during May 1st celebrations, which were always about peace and
labor, we had a column of… gay activists march down the central streets
with USA and Ukraine flags, shouting “Hands off Ukraine”, “Do what USA
wants” and all that. They’re allowed to do their thing just like anyone
else, and there are quite a few of them. At the same time, our state
doesn’t back the opposing side like [the West funds the 5th column
here]. You aren’t backed by the Russian state, are you?

Murz:
You know, when I was starting my activism, trolling the liberals and
such, me and my buddy were often asked “Who’s standing behind you?”. We
would turn around and honestly answer that standing behind us is an old
Soviet piano.

I really did have one behind my desk at the time, probably emanating thoughts of former glory and imperialism, etc 🙂

But talking about the Russian state, they are doing shows of force,
brought newest Armata tanks to the parade, etc… I think all the best
Russian officers are sitting in their units, too. 

Simply because no
brigade commander would let his best officer go somewhere – what if
something goes down, where will he get another one? … Some people come
to us of course, take personal leave, set up mobile training centers for
us [like USA and Kiev instructors] do for the enemy – huge thanks to
[vacationers] for that.

The overall problem with doing shows of force – that was needed in the previous era.

If you watch Soviet training exercise footage from the 80s, there are
bridges built across huge rivers in 30-60 minutes, armadas of tanks
pouring through, everything working as a Swiss watch… But all of that
was useless because people didn’t know what they’re fighting for.

And if, God forbid, we get defeated in the Donbass, the Russian regular army may also go down without firing a shot.

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