By: Joaquin Flores
Russia's large-scale drill and psychological operation yesterday was targeted at the western media, and was mostly successful. It may have saved the world. Also, "Prigozhin" does not exist.
Move on from the counteroffensive without escalation: It has given the western information war a much needed distraction, and allowed Russia to conduct additional internal political and military movement operations while giving the western media something to cheer about.
The desirable distraction was from the Ukrainian 'counteroffensive' which the press needed to cover intensely once it was announced, but then had no way of walking back.
A general 'drying up' of relevant op-eds and columns on the counteroffensive was observed, and the shift to talks of 'provocations' and 'sanctions' after about June 18th.
The temperature in the west was rising, as the news cycle was itself becoming a highly caustic catalyst towards more commitments to some kind of dangerous kinetic action from the west - ZPP, dirty bombs, additional sanctions, sending in jets or longer range missiles, and more.
Russia's operation of June 23rd-24th can be considered a relatively successful display of planned and coordinated activity also in the realm of opinion, narrative, and even reality shaping over a series of hours and relating the most sensitive of possible subjects - insurrections and coups.
Yesterday's drill and psy-op was not an 'attack' on the Russian population itself - this is always a possibility to consider and one that is measured against both the objective interests of the public and the outcomes of the operation.
Thus the policy of creating confusion over the nature of the events was both a functional test of the capacity of the Russian state to do so, and even more so a bi-product of several other objectives which did not involve the perceptions of the Russian public at large.
There were other objectives to the operation, but the information aspect in the western narrative is a major consideration.
Regardless of how supportable various official narratives about the events of those days wind up being over time - often official claims do not age well when there are deceptions involved - the old adage that news only has to be true on the day that it publishes still rings.
Retractions are always possible, maybe a reframing, or maybe people just forget.
There were other objectives which are evident, and much more could be written about those perhaps of equal or greater importance on the whole.
But the effect on the western media's information war, it gave them a graceful exit which appeared as a victory.
Keep in mind that within the various unrealistic fantasy scenarios for defeating Russia, even though militarily Russia is too solid, if the combination of battlefield uncertainties, stresses economically and financially, resentment and plotting among or between the oligarchy, the intelligence services, the military; this could lead to a 'coup', a split in the military, even degradation into warlordism.
So in truth there was some part of the Ukrainian 'plan' after Crimea is being successfully retaken by Ukraine, that Putin faces his own Ides of March.
The concept, simulacra, and spectacle of 'Prigozhin' - a person who you know nothing about but are convinced is 'emotional' - fit the practical realization of these fantasies in every way. But Prigozhin, besides the man that really lives and bears this name, is nothing more than a series of narratives built upon myths built upon assumptions and projections. There is no Prigozhin.
Western media needed this story, what an off-ramp from the failed counteroffensive which otherwise requires a massive escalation or provocation with horrifying potential outcomes, and in that small way, Russia just saved the world with this operation.