ISW Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, July 3 – TTG

Russian forces have likely secured the Luhansk Oblast border, although pockets of Ukrainian resistance may remain in and around Lysychansk. Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu announced that Russian forces have captured Luhansk Oblast on July 3, after seizing Lysychansk and settlements on the Luhansk Oblast administrative border. The Ukrainian General Staff also announced that Ukrainian forces withdrew from Lysychansk to avoid personnel losses. Russian forces have likely not fully cleared Lysychansk and Luhansk Oblast as of July 3, despite Shoigu’s announcement. The Russian Defense Ministry stated that Russian forces are still fighting within Lysychansk to defeat remaining encircled Ukrainian forces, but the Ukrainian withdrawal means that Russian forces will almost certainly complete their clearing operations relatively quickly.

Russian forces will likely next advance on Siversk, though they could launch more significant attacks on Bakhmut or Slovyansk instead or at the same time. Ukrainian forces will likely continue their fighting withdrawal toward the E40 highway that runs from Slovyansk through Bakhmut toward Debaltseve. It is unclear whether they will choose to defend around Siversk at this time.

Two very senior Russian commanders are reportedly responsible for the tactical activities around Lysychansk. Commander of the Central Military District Colonel General Aleksandr Lapin and Commander of the Russian Aerospace Forces Army General Sergey Suvorikin (who also commands Russia’s “southern” group of troops in Ukraine) have been responsible for securing Lysychansk and the area to the west of it respectively. The involvement of two such senior officers in the same undertaking in a small part of the front is remarkable and likely indicates the significance that Russian President Vladimir Putin has attributed to securing Lysychansk and the Luhansk Oblast border as well as his lack of confidence in more junior officers to do the job.

Ukrainian forces likely used US-provided HIMARS rocket artillery systems to strike a Russian ammunition depot at the Melitopol airfield on July 3. Melitopol Mayor Ivan Fedorov reported that Ukrainian forces launched two strikes on one of the four Russian depots in Melitopol. Russian Telegram channel Rybar released footage of a large cloud of smoke over the city, and Russian-appointed Melitopol Governor Yevhen Balytskyi falsely claimed that Ukrainian forces aimed to strike residential buildings, but instead hit areas around the airfield.

The Kremlin likely seeks to expand Russian state control over private Russian companies that support elements of Russia’s military industrial base. The Ukrainian Military Intelligence Directorate (GUR) reported on July 3 that the Russian government’s inability to pay Russian firms supporting Russia’s war in Ukraine is degrading Russia’s ability to repair damaged vehicles. The GUR reported that the directors of Russian military vehicle repair centers are not accepting new Russian equipment for repair because the Russian military has not paid these centers for previous work. Recently proposed Russian legislation suggests that Kremlin leadership shares GUR’s assessment. Russian legislators in the Russian State Duma submitted a bill on June 30 that would empower the Kremlin to introduce “special measures in the economic sphere” enabling the Russian government to force private Russian companies to provide supplies for Russian military operations. The bill prohibits Russian businesses from refusing to fulfill Russian government procurement orders connected to Russian military operations.

Comment: The Russian MOD announced the seizure of Lysychansk on 2 July although the Ukrainian MOD said their forces were still fighting there. In actuality, the Ukrainians were most likely withdrawing in earnest on 2 July with only a DLIC still in the city. Even World Central Kitchen announced today they made their last food distribution in Lysychansk several days ago.

The Ukrainians withdrew because the the Russians were about to finally create a Donbas cauldron around Lysychansk. The Russians should have been concentrating on that maneuver instead of wasting weeks beating their heads against Severodonetsk. The flanking of Lysychansk would have accomplished the taking of Severodonetsk without the heavy losses incurred with the continuous frontal assaults on that city. It wouldn’t have been the grand cauldron that was supposed to net the bulk of the Ukrainian Army that so many were crowing about months ago, but it would have been far better than what they suffered in those months of orc-like frontal attacks. As one Ukrainian soldier said back in March, “We’re very lucky they’re so f*cking stupid.” 

Now we’ll see what the Russians have left to throw at the Slovyansk-Kramatorsk-Bakhmut line. Given the string of hits, mostly by HIMARS, on Russian ammunition supply points, the Ukrainian defenders may see a drop in the intensity of shelling. Or maybe the Russians will decide to strengthen their defenses on the Kherson front. That front is far more important to the Russian cause than the Donbas.


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41 Responses to ISW Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, July 3 – TTG

  1. Christian J. Chuba says:

    “The flanking of Lysychansk would have accomplished the taking of Severodonetsk without the heavy losses incurred with the continuous frontal assaults on that city.”
    – The source, ISW or Zelensky tweets?

    It would not be unusual to maintain a force in the center to pin enemy forces while then moving on the flanks. Zhukov did this at Khalkhin Gol, this tactic goes back to Alexander the Great.

    No matter how hard we try to spin this, the Russians undoubtedly have the initiative. They will choose the next battle and the one after that on their own terms. There will be no Ukrainian conquest of Crimea or Ukrainian offensives out of Kharkiv.

    • Mark Logan says:


      I can see no spin that Russia doesn’t currently have the initiative in the report. They clearly do at the moment. The question is for how long.

      A recent analysis from Strelkov points to the Russian’s extensive usage of their best BTGs in the Luhansk pocket. They’ve been at it for several months straight and need a break. It is possible the Russians will have to stall for a bit, the question is if the Ukrainians are ready to take advantage of that.

      Interesting if true, as they say…

      • TTG says:

        Mark Logan,

        The Russians have the initiative only on that one front. They’re not doing well at Kherson or Kharkiv.

        • Christian J. Chuba says:

          ‘Initiative’ only means that Russia is able to choose when and where to engage Ukraine without having to respond to Ukrainian attacks. It does not require Russia to be advancing everywhere.

          June has been a quiet month for Ukrainian initiated attacks

        • borko says:


          they have shortened the front line considerably after capturing the rest of Luhansk province, so they may now have some extra forces to reinforce Kherson.

          • TTG says:


            True, but the front line has been shortened for both sides. Perhaps the Ukrainians may also be able to reinforce the Kherson front. The shortening of the front in the Donbas does allow the Ukrainians to better support their troops with the M777s, leaving the HIMARS for other fronts, most notably Zaporizhzhia and Kherson.

          • borko says:


            Ukrainians would most likely use the extra troops to reinforce their defenses in Donbas.
            They need to break the Russian momentum, such as it is.
            Better to do that than reinforce an offensive in Kherson that has low probability of success.

  2. Barbara Ann says:


    Re the Slovyansk-Kramatorsk-Bakhmut line – where exactly do you expect this to be? I’ve seen speculation that the next strongly defensible line is the ridge/watershed to the west of the Bakhmutka river valley (in which Siversk and Bakhmut lie). It rises to just over 800ft. It’s easy to make out without a topo map, as the administrative boundary for the Bakhmut district that runs along it is shown on most maps. Is that the line you are talking about, or do you think the Ukies will make a stand in Siversk and Bakhmut, or both? Thanks.

    • TTG says:

      Barbara Ann,

      I’ve seen maps showing a defensive line from Siversk to Bakhmut and have read about the high ground west of the highway linking the two. I think they’ll at least delay along that line. It all depends what the Russians can throw at them. If the Russians pause, the Ukrainians will stay at Siversk.

  3. leith says:

    Some 4th of July Fireworks at an RU/DPR ammo dump in Snizhne east of Donetsk – also known as Sneshnoye:
    Viva HIMARS!

    And on the 2nd an RU train was reportedly derailed near Melitopol. Unconfirmed, but if true then viva les Partizans!


    I make NO comments on various websites. The past few months has seen SST completely derail. I am prompted to comment since this experience has ‘opened my eyes’ in an important perspective.

    For this opportunity to express I chose the handle DEVENS SHARECROPPER.

    I served in the late 1960s at Devens as ASA. For the uninitiated that’s Army Security Agency. I had foregone a commission and chose to enlist in the E ranks to serve as my father had in the Army Air Corp and the Recon for Normandy and beyond.

    There was ‘back channel’ doings that directed me to my assignment and MOS–Electronic Warfare its official title (er, I repeat–1960s). USA forces were experiencing severe equipment and personnel losses in Nam and our (ASA) particular assignment had been to collect data on Soviet technology that was responsible for the severe losses (especially aircraft–fixed wing and rotary).

    All of this was, of course, TOP SECRET with CRYPTO included. There was nothing I or my unit did that was known by us to be of great significance. BUT in training and group sessions with others with similar clearances MUCH WAS LEARNED. Two of the ‘talked about’ items during my time at Devens were the Gulf of Tonkin “incident” and the USS LIBERTY. (Another had been the USS PUEBLO.)

    My MOS was under the heading of SIGNAL INTELLIGENCE/SIGINT.

    I developed a number of contacts among Army intel folks and kept up with many as we expanded our knowledge about the Soviet Union and, later, Russia and the CIS. I maintained and expanded my knowledge and depth of knowledge to the extent that I considered moving to the Ukraine to spend a year there and alternating back to the states. I visited Ukraine and stayed in Kyiv and Luhansk two different times as I put together ‘facts on the ground’.

    I came to have a pretty deep understanding about Ukraine and Russia. I had been dismayed during the Yeltsin period and my visit there was about three years after Putin became President.

    Excuse this elongated intro for what will likely be a single post.

    BUT, the ‘big thing’ that has ‘been revealed to me’ at this SST site is the answer to the problem of WHY WE WIN NO WARS.

    I stated above that I was ENLISTED. However, one of the factors that led me to follow SST was Colonel Lang and his position that was counter to the NEOCON war, war, more war. I related to the colonel since we each had attended Senior Military Colleges in Virginia–he in Lexington and I in Blacksburg.

    The Colonel and The Twisted one had been at odds with one another UNTIL RUSSIA/UKRAINE.

    I understood the Twisted position because it fit the ‘personality’ that had been exhibited. But the Colonel?

    OK; here it comes–WHY WE CANNOT WIN WARS since WWII.

    The reason: C2


    When I was at Devens and we talked about the INTEL going to ‘the brass’ in Nam, we could not figure out how and why the decisions that were made were made.

    The answer that has come to me from the SST experience is EXCEPTIONALISM. Yep, ‘the brass’ of COMMAND and CONTROL think the “competition” is INFERIOR and INCOMPETENT.

    I knew from my DIRECT experience with SOVIET intelligence we gathered that SOVIETS were superior to us back in the 1960s. As I said above I continued over these DECADES learning all I could about the Russian Federation in all categories.

    A part of my ‘Russia evaluation’ was my civilian experience employed with a Wall Street Primary Dealer and knowledge of some of the principals of Long Term Capital Management and its Russian bond holdings.

    That’s too many words; but, sometimes, if not regularly, the “method” to establish ‘exceptionalism’ is to assume ‘the other’ is INFERIOR. Surprise!! The Colonel should have enough experience NOT be holding the Russians to be INFERIOR. Why the grudge?


    • TTG says:


      Both Colonel Lang and myself did time at Fort Devens. The Colonel was born there. I was in 10th SFG(A). I studied the intel, planned and trained to take on the Soviet Army deep behind their lines. They may have been impressive and dangerous, but they were not ten feet tall as many believed. I also spent many years, over 20 actually, working against the Soviets and then the Russians as a HUMINT case officer. They are a formidable foeman, but not as impressive as you seem to consider them to be.

      Before they tripped over themselves in this invasion, the Russian military machine appeared far more formidable than than they are proving to be. Their hype outstripped the reality. Their performance in Syria was and still is remarkable, but they are certainly not even approaching the ten feet tall level.

      • Bill Roche says:

        Doing AIT at Gordon in early ’69 I bumped into a lot of ASA guys, most on their way to Nam. A good friend, now gone, was ASA in Japan in the mid sixties. It was a respected outfit. Like many other quality outfits it has been terminated. I did my work as a TTY Radio operator and reviewed intel on Sov. Forces every single night. Never did I get the impression that the Russians or their proxies stood ten feet tall. Did we respect them, their abilities, and their technology? You bet your ass. But bigger than life; no.

    • leith says:

      Devens sharecropper-

      I don’t believe the Russian Armed Forces are incompetent. Russian troops are definitely not inferior. The problem as I see it is Putin and his gang of oligarchs that have been looting Russia for the past 20 years. When you have that much corruption at the top, it is bound to infect the middle and lower. ‘A fish begins to rot at the head not the tail’ is an old Russian proverb.

      The Soviets were smarter than Putin. Which is why their military was a damned fine one. If the Russian people and Russian troops today did not have this current syndicate of thieves running their country then they would again have a superior military.

      • d74 says:

        “[USSR] military was a damned fine one”
        Very surprising.

        I don’t believe a word of it.
        The mass, yes with the waste that goes with it.
        The imbecile bureaucracy by rigid old fogies, yes.
        Corruption and embezzlement, yes.
        Good hardware -and has remained so- , probably.
        Smart, never.

        The Soviet and then Russian forces have come a long way. The changes forced by Putin and the command have succeeded in a tour de force. This was visible already during the second Chechen war.

        • leith says:

          D74 –

          The waste that goes along with mass – Yes.

          Corruption and embezzlement – now under Putin for sure, I don’t believe there was much of that during my time in the 60s and 70s. I’d be happy to be proved incorrect.

          Rigid old fogies at the highest levels of the government and the Party – Yes. Not necessarily so in the Armed Forces. Zhukov was 48 when he became CinC of the Soviet Army after the war; later CinC average age was 55.

          Good hardware – Yes but it has gone downhill badly under Putin and his den of kleptocrats.

          Smart – their political system was dumb. But there were some smart cookies in the Soviet Armed Forces. Admiral Gorshkov (BTW he was from Ukraine) instituted a world class reform in the Soviet Navy. General Govorov oversaw the modernization of the Soviet Air Defense Forces. It was his foresight that produced the AAA and SAMs and their tactics that shot down close to 10,000 US aircraft in Viet-Nam.

          The changes by Putin that you describe as a tour-de-force were a disaster. They might have corrected some of the problems of the Yeltsin years. But under Putin was when major corruption and embezzlement within the military surged. Although possibly low level corruption started in the late Soviet era when dedovschina or hazing became rife.

  5. TTG says:

    So you’ve memory holed all that talk about the great cauldron? All those big red arrows on the maps from Kharkiv and Izyum swooping down far behind the Ukrainian Army in the Donbas? It’s either selective memory or the memory of a flea.

  6. Jovan P says:

    Isn’t it logic that the Russians deliberately didn’t want to form a cauldron? They let the Ukrainians retreat through forests and villages, the Ukrainian soldiers had to leave their equipment and, instead in ruins, Lysichansk was taken in a relatively nice shape? Weren’t all these cities heavily fortified and none the less fell relatively fast to the Russians?

  7. JK/AR says:

    ‘Scuttlebutt’ readily admitted but I’m given to understand ‘high-flying MQs’ are “soon to appear” owing to, the Russkie EW appears to’ve got “something correctly diagnosed”?

    We’ve had here, somewhat frequently, discussions I’ve been reading but not participating in owing to my ignorance on the subject of ‘indirect fire’ – but it appears to this amateur some new [unexpected?] variable has got its way into the equations.

    Any additional ‘Explainer’ will be mightily appreciated.

    • joe90 says:

      MQ´s are big and slow, AD fodder. That is why they are no longer used, waste of time and money to use them.

    • TTG says:


      I’ve heard that scuttlebutt about selling MQ-1 Grey Eagle drones to Ukraine. I’m pretty sure those high flying, easily seen by radar drones would soon fall prey to Russian A2/AD. They would be better off with more howitzers and HIMARS along with lots of ammo. If drones are losing their effectiveness, more counter-battery radars and continued real-time intel from our airborne and satellite surveillance will fill the bill. Those HIMARS are being used to hit Russian ammo dumps to great effect. It’s a very smart targeting strategy. The targeting for that is coming either from SOF observation or our intel assets. Either way, it appears to be working. Burning ammo dumps make for some spectacular video.

      Russian EW was supposed to stop the Ukrainian drones and aircraft cold beginning on day one. It didn’t. It does appear they’ve either figured something out or concentrated enough systems on the Donbas front to now make some difference. However, it’s not doing squat around Kherson. The same thing happened with Russia’s active defense systems for their armored vehicles. It had no effect on NLAWs, Javelins and Stugna-Ps. Odd because those defense systems seemed to work in Syria.

    • leith says:

      JK –

      I’ve seen those reports also. Might be true? Or it might be wishful thinking on the part of General Atomics who makes those beasts? But why would they need an armed version? They already have a deep strike capability. Perhaps there is something in the mill to give them an intel version. But we are already giving them hi-level intel. Maybe an EW version? But why would we risk a chance of losing that technology to Putin if one was shot down over occupied territory?

    • JK/AR says:

      Thanks Fellows.

  8. Rick says:

    During my time (1980-1983) on ODA 2 (later ODA 112), Co. A, 1/10 SFGA, Bad Tölz, FRG (Federal Republic of Germany), where I was the light weapons sergeant and later the intel sergeant, I don’t think anybody there was running agents in HUMINT operations. Detachment A (Det A) in Berlin had that as part of its mission and the training for it. The battalion’s mission did change from a stay-behind mission (to melt into the Bavarian Alps in the face of a Soviet invasion) to a strategic reconnaissance mission in Poland to observe and report the advance of Soviet forces from the western military districts of the USSR.

    • TTG says:


      We were contemporaries in the 10th. I arrived at Devens in 1981 taking command of ODA 334. Our mission then was to start with direct action, taking on the HQ of the Norther Group of Forces and the SAM installations in SW Poland, in my team’s case, followed by UW… if we survived. The team dabbled in GOUT (guerrilla operations in urbanized terrain), but no real HUMINT outside of what the intel cell was training for. I do remember Colonel Potter’s move to the SICTA mission… dig a hole and watch. I’m sure it would have been a lot more survivable that our original mission. My HUMINT career came later.

      • cobo says:

        I don’t mean to be a bother, but you guys in the 10th SF might know about this. I was stationed with an Improved Hawk unit, D Battery 2/62 out of Spangdahlem, 32nd AADCOM during 77-79 on a hilltop near Baumholder. There were two times that I thought the balloon was going up. I was part of our RSOP team Reconnaissance Selection Occupation of Position. We jumped a hilltop ahead, so each time a battery did shoot they could scoot. One time, we armed our missiles onsite. WTF – it turned out two East German fighters had crossed into NATO space (they were having a big war game), and every AD unit in USAEUR had them guys on scope or locked. Another time, we got put on high alert, issued real nerve filters and given real ammo, because as we later found out, while doing their usual plinking, a 10th SF guy on the border had “got one,” oops. I think it would have been in ’78. Would there have been any truth to that scuttlebutt that you might have heard about -?

        • TTG says:


          I never heard anything like this and have no idea whether it’s true or not. I was in Hawaii at the time and was more concerned about Korea. Det A in Berlin was involved in various “highjinks” from time to time, but I don’t think it ever got to the point of “getting one.” You do point out just how serious things were during the Cold War.

          • cobo says:

            Thank you. Yes, we were told three out of 100 were expected to survive an all out WARSAW Pact assault. When I heard that, I looked up and down the line to figure out who the other two guys would be. Me and my buddy from Ft Stewart, who was stationed at Baumholder, had a stash by an abondoned mill up on the hill above where we lived in Hoppstädten-Weiersbach. I figured we’d live off the stash and the land and kill Russians until our forces came back in strong. It was an easy step to become a survivalist back home during the 80s.

  9. Rick says:


    My career in SF was rather brief: 1979 to 1983. I went through SFQC in 1979. Upon graduation, I was assigned as a patrolling instructor at Camp Mackall. My previous assignment had been as a squad leader in 1st Ranger Battalion, and SF believed that experience was better used at Camp Mackall training SF aspirants in basic patrolling than on a team. Through a phone call to DA, I wrangled an assignment to Bad Tölz. I left SF in 1983 because the new 18 series MOS and the warrant officer position led to a downgrade of the intel sergeant position from E-7 (I was on the E-7 list) to E-6, and upon DROS, I was to be an instructor at the Operations and Intelligence School at Ft. Bragg. One tour at IMA had been enough. So wriggled out of that assignment and returned to the 1st Ranger Battalion.

    1/10 took the change of mission seriously. Each team was to spend 1 week each quarter in mission planning, in isolation. The battalion ensured we had adequate 1:50,000 map coverage, and we got RFIs answered. The battalion also endeavored to equip us with Warsaw Pact-type equipment, such as AK-47s and magazines. The battalion also set up rudimentary Polish language training so that we could at least read signs and markings on military boxes such as ammo crates. I was mildly impressed. Perhaps I should have extended.

    • TTG says:


      We went into an intense mission planning isolation in early 1982. Part of the intel support we got was a visit from our DATTs from Warsaw. After our talks, they provided us a pile of hand held photography of our proposed routes and targets. We trained almost exclusively with Warsaw Pact weaponry. We qualified with the Romanian AKMS and saved the Polish ones for when we really needed them.

      That was after 12 weeks of language training. The goal of that training was to give everyone on the team a 1/1 rating. I managed to get a 3/3 out of it. I kept up the study and continued training in Germany to the point where Germans noted I spoke German with a Polish accent and, on two occasions, Polish sources were worried I might be SB when they first met me. Had to prearrange a signal from the consulate in Berlin to prove to one that I was indeed an American.

  10. Babeltuap says:

    I do appreciate the historical accounts of service. I truly do but times change. I retired in 2014 and no way would most of those tactics work today but at the time they worked great..meh.

    What we are doing is absolutely the worse course of action. Let them sell the oil and gas. Who cares. Add to it however FLOODING the market with oil and gas. Increase production to the tilt to the point they are making pennies or nothing. Not enough to fuel a war that’s for damn sure. Only enough to survive.

    The current situation they are getting STRONGER and we are getting WEAKER. They are absolutely using fuel as a weapon. Until somebody has the balls to tell everyone they were wrong we will continue down this path.

    • JK/AR says:

      I’ve a longtime friend who’s a partner in an ‘oilfields services company’ [US HQ’d but international clientele] anyway she emailed me oh, maybe a month back about a “long-planned/scheduled” maintenance shutdown of a certain pipeline service. Her gist [then] being ‘When that occurs look out’

      (*Disclosure : For some period of time I “liaised” [interfaced] between some *specific types* of private … oh, interests I suppose and, oh again, “public servants” I guess might be okay to type.)

      It “appears” our exports to the UK/EU are in the process of ramping up, to what end I haven’t a clue. For a good source on this type of ‘news that fits’ this is my most frequent go-to:

  11. mcohen says:

    Kherson and khariv still imporrtant

    • TTG says:


      Holding Kherson and the Dnieper Canal is far more important to the Russians than holding any of the DNR and LNR.

  12. Al says:

    Wagner Group recruiting cannon fodder:

    More than 130 days into Vladimir Putin’s “special military operation” against Ukraine, Russia’s Defense Ministry is apparently counting on prison inmates and shipyard workers to serve as fresh cannon fodder.

    The desperate new recruiting drive has been reported in St. Petersburg, where the families of inmates at two prisons say the Wagner Group—a private Russian military force that has been tied to the Kremlin—is offering prisoners money and a get-out-of-jail-free card to go “search for Nazis” in Ukraine, according to the independent Russian news outlet iStories.

    “They told my relative, ‘It’s very hard to find the Nazis there, and they are very well-prepared. You will be at the forefront in helping to detect Nazis, so not everyone will return.’ At first they said about 20 percent would come back. Then that ‘almost nobody will return.’ Those who survive are promised 200,000 rubles and amnesty. And if someone dies, they promise to pay their family 5 million rubles. This is all only in words, nothing is fixed on paper,” an unnamed relative of one of the inmates told the outlet.

    Workers at two St. Petersburg shipyards managed by the state-owned United Shipbuilding Corporation and sanctioned oligarch Alisher Usmanov’s Metalloinvest have also reportedly been targeted as part of a recruiting drive by Russia’s Defense Ministry.

    The Moscow Times’ Russian service reported Tuesday that workers at the Admiralty and the Baltic shipyards were offered contracts with monthly salaries of 300,000 rubles ($5,300) to go fight in Ukraine.

    “They offered it to those with good experience, age has nothing to do with it. For example, they gave a call-up notice to one older employee who went through the Second Chechen War,” one of the employees told the Times.

    Workers at Lebedinsky mining and processing works in Belgorod, owned by Usmanov’s Metalloinvest, described similar efforts, though the company has denied that.

    • Barbara Ann says:

      “Independent Russian news outlet” is something of an oxymoron. Anyhow, I see this one is based in Latvia (wiki). It seems to be run by a couple of exiles from Novaya Gazeta. I guess they didn’t want to share the fate of Anna Politkovskaya.

      • Al says:

        Seven Novaya Gazeta journalists, including Yuri Shchekochikhin, Anna Politkovskaya and Anastasia Baburova, have been murdered since 2000, in connection with their investigations.[4]

        In October 2021, Novaya Gazeta’s editor-in-chief Dmitry Muratov was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, alongside Maria Ressa, for their safeguarding of freedom of expression in their homelands.[5]

        On 28 March 2022, due to the ongoing 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine, the newspaper suspended its print activities after receiving a second warning from Roskomnadzor.[6] However, on 6 April 2022 few days later, a foreign version of the paper (Novaya Gazeta Europa) was launched from Riga in order to avoid censorship.[7]

        • Steve says:

          Those are good wages for a Russian manual laborer. Blackwater did/does the same but requiring Christian Fundamentalist crews last time I saw.

          And as I recall wasn’t the US military turning a blind eye to gang membership during the Iraq war? This lads were never going to follow the straight and narrow when they returned but were far better equipped to to take on rivals…

          It’s largely unknown who killed the journalists in Russia – though of course Putin the omnipotent was always blamed for the murders when it was more likely to be “businessmen” who didn’t like people poking around in their affairs. Apart from that the journalists worked more to the benefit of Putin in that they were throwbacks to the degradation and national humiliation of the country and its people. The choir they sang to was the urban professional middle class (who actually benefited the most from 2001 onward, mostly because of reforms to the tax system that Yeltsin had been afraid to take on).

          Meanwhile the other Vladimir is forming himself a nice wee one party authoritarian state up there in Kyiv. So far since the declaration of martial law in February he’s closed and seized the assets of pretty much any dissenting voice, and whacked quite a few along the way. As reported by the Ukrainian press, no less.

          It’s always worth have something close to an absolute against which to measure probable reliability when it comes to gathering information.

          • leith says:

            Steve –

            The shipyard workers are reportedly getting contracts from the MinDef.

            But the prison inmates are only getting verbal promises from the Wagner Group. Will they ever get paid?

          • Steve says:


            Thanks for letting me know. It’s not unusual to give prisoners such a choice. Ukraine did that in February, though specifically for those with prior military experience.

  13. walrus says:

    To borrow an observation from elsewhere, if ISW had been around in WWII, they would have declared Stalingrad a German victory because Russia lost more troops and the city was wrecked. Similarly they would have labelled Kursk a “German tactical success”.

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