Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky says he is Easier to catch A city like Severodonetsk instead of get it back Once Kyiv launched its “summer counterattack”. The phrase seems so obvious in its simplicity that no one has raised the problem: but the Russians, once they have occupied a land, how do they do it? Keep it? In fact, it is one thing to occupy space, and it is quite another to be able to impose the primary task of the state, i.e. Undisputed monopoly of power.
The truth is thatworks It has a cost in terms of means, personnel, and ultimately money very expensive. In short, it is not that entire areas are occupied and besieged just because they have put flags here and there. In May 1945, at the time of the surrender of Germany, the US Army had more than 16 million men Within the confines of the defeated enemy: he would have liked to withdraw them but overnight had to turn them into occupying forces because he certainly could not rearm the Germans a few weeks after the fall of Hitler. In other words, they had to spread over the entire German territory to the Americans and take control of every road, bridge, checkpoint, government building, factory, and bank, even of what seemed to be of little importance. occupying force approx 400,000 soldiers – Doubles per year in two or three years due to the need to take rest breaks – in the American region of The first 18 months, which equates to one US soldier for every 40 German residents. The same ratio, that is, from 1 to 40, was applied in 1999 at the time of the occupation of Kosovo by NATO forces. In the years of the second Gulf War, an American company was responsible for a study conducted by a military analyst James Quinlivanwho concluded that the minimum relationship necessary to maintain the integrity of the occupied territories, without an active insurrection, is 1 to 50. Precisely in the war – and above all in the subsequent occupation – in Iraq the historical and operational norms that required a large occupying force were not respected: Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and his deputy, Paul WolfowitzThe names that still give us nightmares today, the then Chief of Staff of the Army was upset Eric Shinseki He told Congress that an initial force of several hundred thousand would be required in postwar Iraq. And we all know how it ended…
What does this mean when applied to the Ukrainian situation? To understand this, let’s start fromoblast Kherson, a region where the Russian occupation was early but from where nearly half of the population has fled since the beginning of the Russian Civil Military Administration. last March 2. Almost before the war 650,000 people They live in urban areas, nearly 400,000 in the countryside. Well, just count 300,000 residents Currently located in the five centers with a pre-war population of more than 50,000 inhabitants (their population at that time was only 330,000, Kherson itself, the rest consisted of cities with a population less than Lugano), to ensure the occupation, Moscow would have to spread among 12,000 and 15,000 soldiers, counting two (very long) six-month shifts and not considering the campaign. but theOblast Kherson is the sixth least populous of Ukraine. Take that in Kharkiv, where Putin gave up his fist a month ago in the face of a small counterattack by Ukrainian reservists: just assuming that A third of 2.7 million Of the existing population in 2021 that remained in place after the Russian occupation, we can reasonably say that to retain from 36,000 to 45,000 soldiers a year.
Let us try to broaden the discourse to include all the Ukrainian territories currently occupied and those that Putin wishes to wrest from Kyiv: in short, the current situation and the ideal in the mind of the Kremlin. In the first case, we are talking about the Kherson region, two-thirds of the province ZaporizhiaRoughly integers oblast From Luhansk and Donetsk. In the second case, we must add the capital of the Zaporizhia region, the oblasts Mykolaiv and Odessa in the south, Dnipropetrovsk Oblast in the center and Kharkiv in the east. In general, we are talking about an area larger than Italy … Let’s start with the quite realistic hypothesis, that half of the population of 2021 is under Russian occupation. Well, the numbers are as follows: in the first scenario, the current scenario, to keep nearly four million people safe, Moscow would have to deploy Between 160,000 and 200,000 soldiers annuallywhich – to accommodate more than 7.5 million residents – will be reduced from the minimum 300,000 to 375,000 max per year. To understand each other, let’s talk – in the two scenarios – about the exact amount and approximately, respectively Twice the force deployed by all of Moscow during the war. If you prefer to count in terms of the number of enlisted soldiers, then Russia in two “batches”, one in the spring and the other in the fall, managed to collect a maximum of 260-280,000 young men.
Hence, it is easy to conclude that – beyond the Donbass and Crimea – the effort in terms of Personal to occupy Ukrainian territory It is not sustainable For the Russian Federation, not even in the improbable hypothesis that Ukrainians do not devote themselves To partisan strife and guerrilla warfare. Quite simply, to fulfill Putin’s dreams, Russia will no longer have to have an army and will have to accept it. Material costshumanly and financially unsustainable for a country comparable to Spain’s economy in terms of GDP.
The situation is different if the Kremlin decides to completely exterminate the Ukrainian people with a single execution mass deportation From the occupied territories according to the old Tsarist school and then the Soviet school. CircassianChechens, Tatars, Greeks, Ugro-FinnsKoreans, Ukrainians, Hungarians, Italians of Crimea And the The Volga Germans These are just some of the ethnic groups that were “forcibly moved” from one part of Russia (and the Soviet Union) to another in the past two centuries. It must be remembered that the Eurasian giant has an approximate area 13 million km With a population density less than Three inhabitants per kilometer (Or, if you prefer, thirteenth in the Aosta Valley, our most mountainous and least populous region,) A visitor (read: curious journalists, certainly not tourists…) at the entrance. Millions of Ukrainian citizensAnd depriving them of documents, sustenance and a mobile phone, they can easily be so loaded on trains From the Emergencies Ministry, a kind of civil protection in Russian sauce, based on a law that Putin approved just five months ago. But how do you get rid of them?
The “justifications” will be many: the area in which they live now is heavily polluted by the war, harsh winters are approaching and at risk of contracting COVID, it takes time to rebuild, etc. Once “moved” to the rails, it can be easy Distributed in small groups In a myriad of centers Eastern Ural Mountains, employing – so to speak – men in socially useful jobs and making women and children live thanks to the help of the state and the charities of the Orthodox Church, separated as far as possible from their former friends, co-workers and neighbours, in which you can better manage it. Do you know when Shanghai is scattered and then can no longer be brought back to normal? This is the fate of the exiles. By doing so, instead of Eight million UkrainiansMoscow could place the “settlers” taken from the most depressed regions of eastern Russia, the same ones that they have already completed Raids and violence For the past three months who have appreciated the climate and territory, certainly more hospitable than Siberia. The physical and financial cost of such an operation would be more sustainable: the human cost would be catastrophic. for Ukraine. So, in conclusion, it seems clear that a possible reconquest will not be impossible as President Zelensky claimed, but that it must be accomplished before the onset of the cold season which gives the Russians a pretext to start “humanitarian transfers” of the occupied areas, which would only be a form of ethnic cleansing. and replacement.