Where are yesterday’s experts on the Crimea conquest?

As reports of a stalemate in Ukraine emerge, Paweł Lisicki, the editor of the conservative weekly Do Rzeczy, asks where all the experts are who had predicted a swift Ukrainian victory and a Russian retreat

editor: Grzegorz Adamczyk
author: Paweł Lisicki
Ukrainian soldiers fire at Russian positions near Bakhmut, Donetsk region, Ukraine, on Nov. 20, 2022. (AP Photo/LIBKOS, File)

I am reminding everyone, without naming names since I already have many adversaries, of the propaganda that saturated Poland and all media after February 2022. The narrative then seemed convinced that Ukraine would imminently crush a hapless and incompetently managed Russia. The Russians were portrayed as incapable of combat, with widespread desertion, malfunctioning rockets, and crumbling tanks, and their finest weapons humorously were said to originate from modified refrigerators or lawnmowers.

A sense of demoralization was said to pervade their army, and Putin was depicted as perpetually dying. Moreover, a fear of an impending military coup was rumored to haunt him. American and British generals, whose wisdom was parroted by Polish experts, forecasted the swift capture of Crimea, the total encirclement of Russian forces, and a great victory. Poland was promised greatness and a leading role in Eastern affairs.

We were to be America’s hub, a key ally, instantly replacing Germany. Analysts didn’t stop there. The boldest spoke of an emerging grand Polish-Ukrainian alliance, even hinting at a new joint statehood, a confederation that would reverse the historical curse of the 18th century and elevate Poland to superpower status.

Ukraine was to be forgiven for past grievances, having shed enough blood defending us from eastern hordes. Instead, Kyiv was seen as the West’s defender, a bastion of democracy, and its leader, Volodymyr Zelensky, was embraced by Polish leaders, including President Andrzej Duda, as a sage and flawless hero.

Now, it turns out these stories were worth less than nothing.

Despite hundreds of billions of dollars and euros and massive NATO military support, Ukraine’s counteroffensive has failed. Valery Zaluzhny, Ukraine’s top military commander, admitted as much recently. He stated in The Economist magazine that the war with Russia is at a stalemate and breaking it would require a significant technological breakthrough, which is unlikely. Zaluzhny also acknowledged that speculations about retaking Crimea, annexed in 2014, were a mistake.

These sober comments incited Zelensky’s anger, who retorted that without victory, the country wouldn’t exist, while his circle suggested that Zaluzhny’s statements serve only Russia. In mysterious circumstances, the general’s personal aide was recently found dead. Soon after, Zelensky dismissed another general, Viktor Khorenko, from the command of Ukraine’s Special Operations Forces.

All this points to a growing internal conflict, including comments from Zelensky’s former advisor, Oleksiy Arestovych, who speaks openly of the current president as a dictator and criticizes the ongoing war. President Zelensky has announced that due to the war with Russia, the 2024 presidential elections in Ukraine will not take place. It is undeniable that he is undertaking actions that can be seen as violations of fundamental rights and freedoms, such as harassment and now a ban on the activity of the church that recognizes the canonical authority of Moscow.

What’s happening is precisely what could have been assumed by anyone with reason and not swayed by the fanciful propaganda eagerly served by Western lobbyists.

The outbreak of conflict in the Middle East has decisively turned U.S. attention to that region. It’s also clear that Americans are tired of supporting Kyiv, evidenced by the rising support for Donald Trump, the main opponent of Joe Biden’s policies. The Americans have grown weary of Ukraine. The costs of aid are mounting, and the anticipated collapse of Russia has not occurred.

If a coup is to happen, it is likely to be in Kyiv rather than Moscow.

Worse, after an initial period of weakness and chaos, Russia has regained the initiative and is now more dangerous than at the conflict’s start. Back in March and April 2022, a beneficial truce for Ukraine was possible. However, as former Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett indicated, talks were halted by the West. Americans and Britons encouraged Ukraine to continue the war, promising the crushing of Russia. Polish experts, predictably, echoed this. Today, it’s apparent what a grave mistake this was. The immense human costs borne by Ukraine may yield no results, and it now risks not only losing territory but also plunging into chaos.

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