The Russian Who Saw It Coming
A retired officer speaking the truth now made an eerily accurate forecast
You have probably seen a recent clip from Russian television in which a grim man carefully lays out the many facts suggesting that, thanks to Vladimir Putin’s spectacularly inept invasion of Ukraine, Russia is screwed.
“Virtually the entire world is against us,” Mikhail Khodaryonok says, “and it’s that situation we need to get out of.”
Khodaryonok even mocks Russia’s threats against Finland for daring to seek protection from Russia by joining NATO. It’s like pointing an AK-47 at someone and demanding he stop being afraid of you. “It actually looks quite amusing,” Khodaryonok says. But he doesn’t smile when he says that. Throughout his analysis, he is stone-faced, even by Russian standards. He looks grim. Determined. Like a man who has decided he must tell the truth to Stalin.
Given how happy the Kremlin must be with Khodaryonok’s candour, that seems appropriate.
Unlike most pundits on Russian TV, Khodaryonok is a retired military officer with extensive experience on the Russian General Staff. Another distinguishing feature is his analytical track record: While Russia’s punditry was overwhelmingly convinced an invasion would lead to a swift and glorious victory, Khodaryonok insisted this was a delusion. It would turn into a quagmire, he said. A disaster.