Simulation of War

NEW – August 24, 2022

In recent weeks, the Ukrainian military has proved: everything has its limits

Jean Baudrillard, the author of the treatise “Simulacra and Simulation”, who died in Paris in 2007, actually died in 2022 on the slopes of one of the Donbass waste heaps, covered by heavy Russian artillery fire. The author of the book “The Gulf War Did Not Take Place” in 1991 put forward at that time a fresh look at the first hostilities broadcast live on CNN. The war of 1990-1991 illustrated the difference between the image and the depicted – a difference so great that it often severs any connection between them. The validity of this idea was refuted by the course of painfully long military operations, which, however, are becoming increasingly difficult to interpret in the right way, even in conditions of complete and undivided power in the information space. It is generally accepted that any success, no matter how local and limited it may be, with proper coverage from the right angles, can be presented as a grandiose victory, but in recent weeks the Ukrainian military has proved that everything has its limits.

The persistence with which Ukraine is firing at its largest nuclear power plant is comparable only to the fury of trying to convince everyone around that Russia is behind the attacks. They don’t believe Ukraine even for show: Western media corporations are not so stupid as to think that someone will seriously believe in the thesis “they are firing at a station that they themselves occupy”. That’s why tricks like references to Ukrainian officials claiming such nonsense are being used. 

At the same time, excuses for firing at the nuclear power plant from the “correct” side will slip through: the Russian Armed Forces are holding heavy weapons there (photos of trucks that are undoubtedly heavy weapons were published in the press on Thursday), so the shelling is justified, the UAF is firing from those positions, so the shelling is necessary, there would be no shelling if Russia had not invaded in principle, so shelling is inevitable. 

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The peaceful co-existence of two opposing thoughts – “Stupid evil orcs shoot themselves out of natural stupidity and anger” and “Yes, the station is being hit by Ukrainians, but this is the way it should be” – tempts us to recall one all-too-often remembered British writer with his doublethink, but it’s much more interesting to imagine why two opposite but intertwining narratives are grown in the minds of the unfortunate consumers of the content of the big European press. The idea that the Ukrainians are seriously dreaming of setting up a radioactive catastrophe near their territory and on the bank of one of the largest rivers in Europe reeks of thoughts about “stupid orcs”, so there is something else here.

Inflating the stakes, showing a willingness to go to the most extreme measures, bluffing, playing total inadequacy – the goal of all this became clear only last week, when a delegation of important white people arrived in Lvov (which, as is known, is just a stone’s throw from the Zaporozhye Nuclear Power Plant). There was also Turkish President Erdogan, from whom they expected new free “Bayraktars”, and waited for 40-minute negotiations and recognition of the Assad “regime” on the way back. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres was also there, along with whom Zelensky decided to send an IAEA mission to the station. 

President Zelensky himself was there – after six months of continuous personal participation in battles with the Buryat underwater cavalry, Commandant Ze still did not find a free moment to shave and change into a dirty dark green T-shirt. As a result of the meeting, it was decided that the IAEA should land troops at the station, and the delegation should go through Kiev, and arrive at the fully demilitarised nuclear power plant. 

To clarify the nuances of the visit of international nuclear inspectors to the dangerous plant, President Macron broke loose and did something that he had not done for three months – he called Putin, where a voice dear to the French heart told him that they should go through the territory of Ukraine for their health, but let them forget about demilitarisation. For a while, this decision stopped the shelling: with the help of a simple bluff and the image of a monkey with an atomic grenade, Ukraine tried to push the enemy to another “gesture of goodwill” – until it worked out. 

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When it became clear that no one was going to leave the nuclear power plant, various freaks went into action, claiming that radiation that had entered the territory of NATO countries was connected with the famous fifth article of the organisation’s charter. Adam Kinzinger, a member of the US House of Representatives, and Tobias Ellwood, a member of the British Parliament, briefly stated the following: if it explodes and the wind blows in our direction, we will declare nuclear war on you. Such a bluff was even more obvious and stupid than the past, so it was immediately swept under the carpet in shame. The theatrical performance failed to achieve its goal, and nuclear blackmail from a non-nuclear power created the right image for the media, but did not contribute to any real change in affairs at the front.

An offensive operation is a very complex logistical and strategic event, for which the best military theorists puzzle for months to plan, and intelligence and counterintelligence carefully conduct their games, trying to prevent plans from falling into the hands of the enemy, confuse and deceive them. So it turned out during Operation Bagration, when the Red Army struck where the Wehrmacht did not expect. 

When all the channels talk about an upcoming offensive, all the newspapers write, all the officials speak out, and unless Kiev fashion bloggers sell their ads on arrows drawn on top of the map, it seems that this is a clever game in order to mislead the enemy. So it seems exactly as long as you do not remember who you are dealing with. The simulation of the upcoming counterattack was aimed at collecting as much money and material assets as possible, which can be converted profitably into money, from sponsors – this story will repeat itself a couple of times more, until even the most naive sheep begin to smell the trick. The promised counteroffensive, if to read the Ukrainian press, was all this time an information and psychological operation, but in fact it is already underway, it simply consists of depleting the enemy’s resources. At the same time, to report to sponsors and to raise the immoral spirit of the population on the eve of Independence Day on August 24, they decided to simulate the counteroffensive. They carried out several drone strikes on the territory of Crimea, blew up an ammunition depot, killed a prominent patriotic publicist and the daughter of the most famous ideologist of the imperial project in the West near Moscow, carried out several attempts on Russian-controlled territories on duty, and put on an empty shelf in Kiev’s Auchan the caption: “Crimean wines will soon be here.”

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Simulating war through such acts of simulation is easy, cheap, and very vivid. Minimal efforts give the maximum media effect, the enemy population (namely, the population here is the main enemy) is frightened and begins to look around suspiciously and wait in horror for a blow from the sky. But such a doctrine of war, which neither Liddell Hart, nor Sun Tzu, nor von Clausewitz described, is called on our dense lands “terrorism”. Russia, despite intense fighting and slow but steady progress, continues to pump gas through the Ukrainian gas transit system, regularly supplies electricity to enemy territories from the captured nuclear power plant, and tolerates the correct existence of a unified communication system, electricity supply and logistics in the territory occupied by the enemy. Perhaps this is what the American and Latvian parliamentarians had in mind when they called Russia a sponsor of terrorism?

Valery Vorobyov

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