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Wagner Group deploying in Ukraine signals trouble for Russia
Hi everyone, Peter Zeihan here coming to you from America’s Pacific coast.
The new news in Ukraine is that the Russians are redeploying a large force of Wagner Organization peacekeepers. Now Wagner’s kind of an interesting group. They were formed originally, roughly about nine years ago for the Ukraine war. And they serve as sort of a paramilitary arm of the Kremlin that reports directly to cronies who are in Putin’s inner circle.
Now they are usually used in places where the Russians would like a degree of separation between formal Russian forces and where they know they’re going to have to be particularly brutal. So Wagner was used extensively in Syria, as well as a number of conflicts throughout the Middle East, and especially in Africa. They do very well in places where central control is thin and reporters are hard to find. As a result they’ve been implicated in any number of war crimes.
And so far Wagner has been involved in the Ukraine conflict already, and there it looks like they’re gonna be concentrated in moving forward in places like Mariupol specifically so that the Russians can kill as many people as possible, especially civilians while also saying that these folks are not part of the Russian government.
I’m not quite sure why the window dressing is continuing, but I guess it helps with propaganda at home.
The bigger point from my, from the angle that I’m seeing, however, is every time that the Russians pull forces like Wagner from other theaters to throw into Ukraine, it means that there’s fewer Russian theaters, that I’m sorry, there’s fewer theaters that have enough Russian troops to achieve Russian goals. So at first, the Russians were pulling troops from the Far East because they didn’t believe that they needed to guard against the Chinese, so Far East pretty much open right now.
But we also know that the Russians have pulled forces from the former Soviet Republic of Georgia, which is a country that they threw troops into in a 2004 war. And those Russian troops have been largely responsible for keeping a couple of semi-independent enclaves under the Russian thumb.
By pulling Wagner, it’s going to be much more difficult for the Russians to control or even contribute to any sort of Russian goals, throughout the overall spaces where Wagner normally works, especially Sub-Saharan Africa.
So as the war continues to grind on, and as Russia’s expeditionary capabilities focus more and more and more on Ukraine, Russia’s ability to intervene decisively or even marginally in large parts of the world is going to zero.
So a few months from now, I can see it being very feasible for countries who are on the other side of the Russians everywhere to be able to move and roll up any Russian games.
So this war is still big. This war is still hot. This war is still ongoing.
This war is going to last months, but every decision that the Russians make is now coming at a cost and the strategic implications of that are gonna vary region by region, decade by decade.
But it does mean the large scale melon-scooping of Russian power out of large portions of the world, this general expansion of Russian reach that we have seen under Vladimir Putin is now in screaming retreat.
Okay. That’s it for now. Until next time.
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