After the “black” February in Syria for Putin and Shoigu “black” March has arrived. On February 3, Su-25 Major Filippov was shot down (apparently by the pro-Turkish insurgents of the Free Syrian Army), after which Putin disappeared from the air, and his spokesman Dmitry Peskov had to bring his condolences in favor of the tsar. On the night of 8 February there was already a “massive” defeat of the “Wagner” PMC, the full picture of which is not clear even after a month. Even the full and exact number of deaths is unknown.
Residents, which are living near the “Wagner” base in Molkino, called the number 87. The names come up literally one by one over the vast expanses of the vast Russian wilderness. But the picture is the same everywhere – in the 18th year of Putin’s rule, Putin did not give peasants in the province a choice other than alcohol, or take Judah sin on the soul in the form of killings for money in the Donbass and Syria in the role of cannon fodder. That what PMC command says in open text to their mercenaries. The RF Ministry of Defense did not provide an air cover and did not give warning about the attack to the column of the offensive cannon fodder from PMC “Wagner”, received from the American liaison officers. The “cook of Putin”, who financed mercenaries, Yevgeny Prigozhin guaranteed 5 million rubles for each killed in the assault groups. But … according to the testimony of the relatives of the killed “Wagner” member Aleksey Rubanov, they did not get any money. Whether for all the “cannon fodder” counted in the hundreds, the “cook” did not have the money, or Shoigu is to blame – he deprived Prigogine of contracts from the Ministry of Defense.
And now, a month later, the same “cargo 200” (human remains) flew not in the form of mercenaries, but already quite official Russian military.
On March 6, an “officer taxi” – An-26 with 39 servicemen on board, including Major General Vladimir Eremeev, deputy chief of the Main Directorate of Control and Supervision of the Russian Defense Ministry, crushed down near the main Russian base of Khmeimim.
Of the 39 dead, the names 8 were not made public because of secrecy. It could have been either the fighters of the same “Wagner” PMC, but most likely the GRU officers. The purpose of this “officer’s voyage” is not completely clear. Either they went home by rotation, like Eremeev, who arrived in Syria in December 2017, or at a meeting with the Chief of the General Staff, General Gerasimov. Russian media rashly blurted out that on March 6 Gerasimov was on the base of Khmeimim.
A briefing with the dead
The purpose of Gerasimov’s visit is clear – boxes with ballots and determine the actions of the contingent for the time of Putin’s election. There are two options – to quiet down, so as not to irritate of the voter by the unpopular war or vice versa – with Putin’s missile cartoons rush to attack and prove that the Russian army can win after the carpet bombing, if not the whole war, then at least an important battle. In this case, it is East Ghouta. Kurds in Afrin they had to be left for Erdogan.
And, instead of the military briefing, Gerasimov had to take a “cargo 200”. By the way, Gerasimov himself also disappeared from the air. There is no information about his current whereabouts – almost a week after the An-26 plane crash. The last time he was seen on TV with sad face during Putin’s message to the Federal Assembly, where they showed a sci-fi cartoon about the unprecedented “military power of Russia”.
And from this place it began complete secrecy on all other issues. A distinctive feature of the incident with the An-26 was the regime of complete silence and secrecy. After the New Year’s attack on the base in Khmeimim, the first rumors about the destruction of 7 combat planes appeared in the official press. After the clumsy contradictions of the Ministry of Defense, the photo of the damaged Su-24s was posted from the base. Then there were photos of the drones, which attacked the maritime base in Tartus in Christmas time.
A similar situation was repeated with the defeat of “Wagner” mercenaries on February 8 – the first thing was the rumors of the deaths of hundreds of people – from 200 to 600. The FSB officer Igor Girkin was an active distributor. State structures had to reluctantly and through the teeth recognize those losses, the names of which had already been announced and confirmed.
Secrets are never long-lived
But after the plane crush there was a completely opposite situation. The fact of the plane’s fall was immediately announced, and then there were data on the number of dead, and at the same time – about the stay of Gerasimov in Khmeimim on the day of the plane’s crush.
And then the regime of complete secrecy began. Attention is drawn to a complete ban on any discussion of this incident – both official in the media and unofficial on the web. The armies of trolls and bots ordered simply to remain silent and not advance any versions.
There were no photos and videos from the site of the crush – neither from the Russian military, nor from local residents. Only on March 10, in the Russian newspaper “Kommersant”, a version was announced about the failure of flaps during the approach to landing. But even this information has not been covered with any other comments – only the same information in the rest of the Russian media.
In fact, the versions of shelling from the ground or the refusal of equipment are equally scandalous, but more on this later.
The regime of complete secrecy was observed even at the funeral of the deceased General and other officers.
“Major General Vladimir Eremeev, deputy chief of the Main Directorate of Control and Supervision of the Russian Defense Ministry, was buried on Saturday, March 10, with exceptional security and security measures. The federal military memorial cemetery in Mytishchi, near Moscow, officially did not work that day. Only people from special list were passed to the territory, and all cars were stopped by military police officers. There was a feeling that the combat General was being escorted to the last path secretly, “writes Russian newspaper NG.
It can be assumed that all these precautions were taken to prevent accidental leakage of information from the officers who came to the funeral and could tell about the circumstances of the General’s death in Syria.
“There are too many questions about names of officers who died on March 6. For example, Colonel Sergei Fedun is the commander of a separate Coastal Missile and Artillery Brigade of the Black Sea Fleet. How did he get on board the crashed plane, and what did he do in Aleppo? Aboard the crashed An-26 were other artillerymen, such as Major Dmitry Kukushkin and Captain Constantine Gorban. Of course, it can be assumed that the officers trained and instructed the artillerymen of the Syrian army in Aleppo. But are not there too many instructors, including the brigade commander, gathered in the same city, especially since instructors, as a rule, serve as military advisers? “, the Russian newspaper NG asks.
From the beginning, after the news of the An-26 crash, the Russian military sharply denied any possibility of firing at the plane. This would be the next failure of the thrice “withdrawn winners”, because the whole flight passed over the “resort” zone, the territory controlled by the Assad regime. This is especially true of the vicinity of the base of Khmeimim – there are no detachments of the Syrian opposition, including Alawi, around it for 70 km. There is a sufficient mass of people among the Alawites who oppose the regime of Bashar Assad, and they are waging an armed struggle with him. But they do not operate around the airbase Khmeimim.
Therefore, any attack on the base can be organized only by Assad himself or his other allies, including the New Year’s attacks of drones and mortar shelling of the Russian Embassy, the last of which occurred on March 7, the day after the crush of the An-26.
There were reports that the opposition “Army of Islam” claimed responsibility for the destruction of the aircraft by the anti-aircraft machine gun. But in reality it turned out to be a fake of information resources controlled by Assad and the Iranians in Lebanon.
Assad was already doing tricks with the Russians when an obvious and close tactical victory was shown on the horizon after a dirty bloody carnage. At such moments, Assad removed the Russians immediately away, and appropriated victory himself. For example, during the capture of Aleppo, Assad arranged a show with the capture of Palmyra from ISIS already captured by Russian mercenaries from “Wagner”. Instead of waving the flags of Russia in Aleppo, the Russians had to rush to recapture the city again.
Similar things are happening now. On the horizon, you can see the capture of East Ghouta by Assad and the Iranians. This was made possible solely by brutal Russian bombing, despite the UN Security Council resolution, approved by Russia itself.
But when there is an opportunity to get the laurels of victory, first you have to throw overboard the Russians so that they do not try to sit down on Assad’s head. And Assad always does it. Moreover, “chemical Bashar” is unlikely to forgive the December buffoonery for Putin’s Generals. He, like a man from the East, hardly liked to be a clown of “winners” or “winner” of clowns. So the An-26 crash is just a gift to Assad.
But the version with the technical failure of the An-26 is even more scandalous. Despite the renaming of the Russian Air Force into the Military Space Forces, the sad reality is the rapid reduction of the fleet of Russian transport aviation. This is especially concerns of the Antonov planes.
This is because Shoigu, after capturing the Crimea and the Donbas, was smart enough to cut off the branch on which Russian aircraft fleet sits. The Antonov fleet, and not only the Antonov, and not only planes, but also helicopters, depends on the supply of Ukrainian engines, spare parts and maintenance. After Russian aggression, by the decision of the Ukrainian government, any supply of military and dual-use products is completely banned and other types of military-technical cooperation.
And now it is time for Russia to pay by lives for it. But in the Kremlin they really want to get away from this obvious and direct question: did the breakdown of ties with the Ukrainian An-26 producer become the cause of the catastrophe? In Russia, at least one and a half hundred aircraft of this type are still operated in different departments. And there is nothing to replace them with. Not now, nor in the short term, despite the fact that the last of the Russian An-26 was released in 1986, 32 years ago.
And besides this there are dozens of An-12 and An-124. Putin and Shoigu would not like to answer, what are the prospects for their further exploitation in the absence of Ukrainian spare parts and services? That is why trolls and bots were forbidden to discuss the subject of the An-26 crash and saddle their favorite horse about the uselessness of Ukrainian aircraft, as it was after the An-148 crash in Domodedovo. Because at once there will be oncoming questions, on what honest word is the main plane of the tactical transport aviation of Russia An-26 generally still flying?