Written by Rokiškis Rabinovičius, kindly translated from Lithuanian by Martynas Klimas
It all started from people rising up against Viktor Yanukovitch rather than any actions undertaken by Russia. Maybe this inverse was what made people miss the old Russian invasion pattern appear in Ukraine. Or was it because we were used to seeing the pattern develop from the other side?
The pattern is old, having undergone first trials about a century ago. As time went by, it was refined, well drilled into everyone’s mind, until it was finally made into a set of standard invasion plans. A whole systemic methodology of invading other countries that, when the time came, only required minor adaptations.
Talks that Vladimir Putin is waging info war like no one has done before are, at best, naïve. He is not creating anything new or revolutionary; Putin is barely taking the well drilled KGB invasion plan and adapting it to current needs. Those methods are a dead ringer to the best hits of USSR invasions.
The entire thing is usually done under the cover of standard bullshit. It all goes through several structural channels: leftist commie cells from around the world, official soviet press and through various press offices in Moscow that publish left and right, trying to pass off their bullshit as something that the locals wrote themselves. In the good old days, newspapers printed in Moscow were presented as supposedly printed somewhere else. Today, the same things goes on the Internet.
We have to pay attention to the real thing: the invasion pattern. A series of events that happen concurrently with a Bolshevik invasion. Then we see, time and time again, a same pattern emerge with only the slightest of adaptations.
The Pattern of Soviet Invasion
The pattern was first spotted in 1918-1920, when Soviet Russia only started building the USSR: that’s when communists first started fabricating supposedly local revolutionary movements out of the members of lumpen-proletariat**. Said movements would put on appearances of a local government, but in reality, it was the Red Army that would invade, put the necessary people in power, shoot the rest, squash dissent and call it a day. The message would be, of course, that it was the work of a local uprising. That’s how the first pseudostates that later joined the USSR – the Soviet Socialist Republics of Transcaucasia (Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia), Ukraine and Belarus – were created.
Similar scenarios (also involving the creation of non-existent soviet governments) were attempted in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, with further plans for Poland. In Lithuania, this was done by creating the litbel (Lithuanian-Belarussian SSR), headed by one Vincas Kapsukas. We all know how little it had to do with reality: it was, in truth, the same scenario where a band of local thugs and commies propped up by the RA try to act like people’s government. It must be noted that if not for the Polish beating back the reds, Lithuania might have been joined with the USSR.
The first successful case of incorporating a country that didn’t use to be a part of the Russian Empire happened in 1921. The Bolsheviks put on show where the local Mongolian government and military fought, well, some other government. While the incursion of the Red Army was obvious, it was shown as actions of local forces that were only helped by the Bolsheviks.
The start of the Spanish Civil war in 1936 let them try the model in a more far off country. While the war started without the influence of the USSR, it was quick to try old tricks in new lands. Companies of communist sympathizers were organized, equipment (hundreds and thousands of planes, tanks and artillery) and military forces were supplied. NKVD advisors went south to lend their expertise to the republican forces. Formally the USSR took part in the weapon embargo and claimed not to have sent any troops. The ones in Spain were supposed to be volunteers organized by the communist parties of various other countries. A fun bit of trivia: allegedly there were only a few thousand of USSR citizens in those brigades, but some say that every other French volunteer spoke Russian.
The model of “export revolution” is much more obvious in the Spanish Civil War: local thugs and politicos, troops from the USSR, communist cells, supply of weapons, all under the guise of a local uprising and constant denials. Today, it looks like a flawed method that lacked in execution, but the effort was there.
The Winter War in Finland was a markedly more mature case and the pattern is much close to the one we would see later on. A ‘local’ government that created the Karelo-Finnish SSR, massive forces of RA that tried to pass as local fighters… Even humanitarian aid for the children of Helsinki! It was dropped by humanitarian planes and in humanitarian bombs, such was the Vyacheslav Molotov’s novel way of bread delivery. The Finnish were so happy that they developed the Molotov cocktail to go with all that ‘aid’. As you see, the pattern grows stronger.
A more prominent and successful case standardized soviet invasion could be seen in the second attempt to apply the pattern to Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. Local bandits and politicos were once again building the soviet government while enjoying the full support of the Red Army. The main difference is that all the bandits were put in places of power by applying political pressure and thus avoiding a long military confrontation. But what if those countries had managed to put up a resistance? Well, in that case, revolutions would have bloomed, their ranks swelling with enthusiastic locals (who don’t speak the language), and arming with ‘miraculously’ appearing weapons.
After the World War II, the pattern appeared all over the place. Wherever the Red Army went, bands of local thugs and politicos were soon to follow, all building independent and locally supported revolutions (that were all carried by the Red Army) that brought communists into power. This way, they managed to occupy Poland, Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, Czechoslovakia and East Germany. The same nearly came to pass in Austria, but it was saved by the timely intervention of US and UK forces.
While some occupied European nations tried to throw off the soviet yoke, all such resistance movements were mercilessly snuffed. This also happened according to the same, albeit simplified, pattern: the local communists would ask the USSR for help, Moscow would happily oblige and send the Red Army to clean everything out, and eventually it would be presented as locals crushing a counter-revolution all by themselves. Happened in East Germany in 1953, in Hungary in 1956 and Czechoslovakia in 1968.
The same typical scenario gave fruit in China. Again, local thugs and lumpens – this time trained and armed in the USSR – go on to fight and beat the Chinese government, all with the help of Red Army. Now this was big, with armies millions in size, but presented in the same way: a local revolution that emerged victorious – without any help from the USSR!
It was followed by events in Korea. USSR-trained and armed revolutionaries – again, thugs and politicos – start a revolution that is in fact carried out by the Red Army. Korea – at the very least, half of it – managed to hold back only because the US didn’t shy away to use its own forces to stop a soviet invasion.
The export of revolution didn’t stop there and neither did it deviate from the pattern. Local thugs and politicos received volunteers, instructors and arms from the USSR and similar places, and then used it to start national revolutions. Formally, there was no involvement from Warsaw Pact, but the truth was still blindingly obvious.
USSR was most active in certain regions: Latin America, Africa, Indochina and the Middle East. Dozens of countries were subjected to the same method, but with varying degrees of success.
Vietnam appeared to be greatest example of success in the Indochina region. Once again, the pattern is the same: some sort of fighters and politicos (with a pinch of thugs) appear, stumble upon a ton of weapons, start receiving volunteers and instructors and eventually the Red Army gets involved. The long, hard Vietnam war culminated in victory for the USSR and the expulsion of the Americans. A similar thing was attempted by China (yet on the guidelines learned from the USSR) in Cambodia.
Now, Africa was the place where they went full speed. Local movements didn’t need much in troops nor armament. Most resistance was squashed by targeting the weak spot of Western democracy: a flood of commie propaganda, as well as liberal use of words of power like ‘colonialism’, all of which made the West pack up and leave. This would set the stage for the well practiced play: a people’s government of thugs and politicos, followed by arms, instructors and even troops from USSR, Cuba or some other brotherly socialist state. However, at that time USSR found an enemy in People’s Republic of China, and PRC started to expand in Africa while using largely the same methods. Zimbabwe was the site of two largely identical groups that were supported, respectively, by USSR and China, but PRC won that round.
Yet Mozambique, Angola, Somalia and some other states were taken over, at least for some time. The thing is that Africa is large, and with great many people come great many thugs, so the regimes were hard to control. And coups would go on, especially if the thugs tried to do their own thing.
The period of thirty years between 1960s and 1990s saw about a hundred revolutions happen in Africa. That is an obscene number for half a hundred states that could be found in the region, and it mostly has to do with the influence of USSR. Them and their patterns: people’s governments and soviet military supposedly providing no aid.
There was plenty of activity in the Middle East, too. But the Arab countries, with their tribal allegiances and Islamic values were too alien, thus resulting in a variety of results. For example, USSR managed to nab Egypt, yet lost it due to the fatal fight against Israel. Without their influence, Egypt evolved into a more or less normal state. However, their efforts bore fruit in Syria and they stayed there for long – the country still hosts a Russian naval base.
USSR tried, aggressively so, to get into Latin America, but only really succeeded in Cuba. The revolution was supposedly headed by Fidel Castro and Ernesto Che Guevara, yet ‘somehow’ soviet arms, soviet troops and other soviet aid made appearance. Similar operations were started in other places in the region: Salvador, Nicaragua, Chile, Dominique, etc.
The Latin American revolutions were stopped by radical means that, drastic as they were, snuffed out those movements in their infancy: the offending politicos were captured and jailed or simply shot, thus ending the invasion before it begun. If the countries failed to react in time, like it happened in Nicaragua, strange incursions with supposed local rebels happened.
By the way, communist Cuba became very adept at exporting revolution: in the eyes of foreign observers black Cubans could blend in in Africa, while the white ones didn’t seem out of place in Latin America.
One of the last applications of such patterns was the invasion in Afghanistan, even if it did deviate from the path. True, there’s was a ‘local’ government, but it was put up after the invasion and with no prior armed movements to mask the truth. It was one of the reasons why it failed in the end: USSR didn’t manage to dupe neither the Afghani people, nor the West.
Maybe that’s why the USSR didn’t repeat such mistakes later on. After the state started to disintegrate, a pack of pseudostates were created by local thugs and politicos with guns and men, which allowed them to put on the appearance of a true local government. That’s how we ended up with South Ossetia, Abkhazia and Transnistria.
However, there is a history of failed attempts, likely because the people saw through the maskirovka: the supposed autonomy of the Vilnius region, Gagauzia in Moldova, Adjara in Georgia. One example, where second time was the charm, is Crimea: they might have failed in 1992, but they succeeded in 2014.
Even the Second War in Chechnya ended in a way that saw use of similar methods immediately following the occupation: a government run by Ramzan Khadyrov was installed, and all attempts were made to make the conflict look like it was Chechen vs. Chechen. Vladimir Putin must have decided that the old method needed a refresher course.
The republics of Donetsk and Luhansk are the newest example of the pattern in motion. Some thugs and politicos appear out of thin air, start fighting what they claim to be a fascist junta***. And again, this is a ‘local’ movement for ‘independence’, with no soviet help, only local fighters and maybe some wayward volunteers, Meanwhile, the USS-er, Russia is all for peace and is about to send humanitarian aid.
Old pattern means old methods
In short, I think the pattern is obvious:
- Local politicos who keep screaming about the rights of the people and some mean government that is oppressing them, which leads to protests
- The same politicos band together with the local lumpen-proletariat, declare a revolution and start fighting someone
- Guns start appearing in ever increasing quantities and revolution evolves into an armed attempt to overthrow the government – a war or a coup
- Members of the soviet military also start appearing in ever increasing numbers, coordinating and preparing rebels – and all the while pretending that they’re not there.
- USSR declares that it’s all for peace and against armed conflict that is blamed on the West, and gets ready to send humanitarian aid.
- Meanwhile, the independent, unsupported revolutionary movement overthrows the government and starts exterminating dissenters
- In the end USSR declares that it has nothing to do with it. Coincidentally, the new government has warm feelings towards Moscow and invites soviet peace keepers.
It is not difficult to understand, why such pattern is in place: it is possible, for a very long time (up until overt intrusion) to pretend that no invasion is happening, fool the locals and use someone else for the dirty deeds. It also gives time shoot down the involvement of the West, since you can mess with their heads, claiming that it is all their fault, that they shouldn’t get involved into a purely local matter. In every other aspect, it’s a straight up invasion, with soviet troops entering the country and taking over the government.
As you see, the linchpin of the whole operation is the mock government put up by local thugs and politicos. The full military invasion is always preceded by the appearance of these ‘local’ governments. The question of weather the might of the Soviet military will make appearance hangs on whether the local thugs and politicos will be enough to establish these governments.
If this band of criminal and corrupt elements manage to take root, the soviets would escalate by causing a war and sending their own arms and personnel, something that could only be stopped by other sizeable forces (like in Austria and Korea). However, if there was no such band of scum (or they were intercepted pretty early), the soviet invasion wouldn’t happen.
In short, the only way to protect oneself against such an invasion is sad and unpleasant, but it exists – and it worked for Latin America. It’s important to note that Russia already tried to transfer evolve the first stage into the second in the Baltic states: Latvia and Lithuania in 2009 while Estonia experienced it in 2007. Luckily, those attempts were somewhat restrained, and there was a measure of preparation to counter them.
* Pattern – a repeated sequence of actions or events that help identify the processes behind them and, at the same time, the people initiating them. And that lets you know what is happening and what will likely happen next. As such, a repeating pattern is a mark of a repeated scenario.
** Vladimir Lenin believed that lumpen-proletariat or lumpen were the driving force behind the revolution. Lumpen are made up of criminals, whores and other marginal scum. By the way, the Minister of Education in Luhansk is, for all intents and purposes, a simple whore. Many other ‘activists’ have either served time in Russia or still wanted for criminal activity.
*** Fascist junta is an old term coined by the USSR to call any sort of government the communist revolutionaries were fighting, without exception.