"TG 902: The Gaggle talks to Andrei Martyanov"
Andrei Maryanov and George Szamuely
Reminiscence of the Future (October 15, 2022)

Transcript as time allows]

George Szamuely: [Why didn't Russia do this infrastructure bombing at the start of the Special Military Operation?]

1:33 Andrei Maryanov: Wars are fought for political aims. And Russia's political aims are not just Ukraine. People completely forget and that is what sometimes is difficult to explain. Look at 2008, in Georgia, the first attempt of NATO in openly challenging Russia. And then we have Syria, and Crimea. A geopolitical titanic struggle in its scale with the comined West, and basically declining and imploding Pax Americana, with Globalism. And Ukraine, however important, is but one of the fronts of this war. ... Russia did it to start with. It's just that the attention span of people is so small they do not understand that this tactical minutia which they constantly follow. They took this village. You know, the Russians withdrew from their hamlet. It's a lot of abslotutely nothing. It's local firefights. It involves a lot of bloodshedding and all that but in a strategic and operational sense they are not that significant.

And what was happening for the last, actually, 72 hours today, Russia continues to pummel, including Kiev. But the regime forbade anybody to post anything online. It is as fact that it is not just energy structural power of Ukraine. There are some specific points that are destroyed. And many people point out that, primarily, what has been destroyed was Mr [Rinat] Akhmetov's holdings. Mr Akhmetov is one of the major oligarchs who supports the Kiev regime. And he was one of the ones behind Maidan. And most of what has been destroyed is Ukrainian capability to export electrical energy to the European Union. That was the primary target.

4:05 This will continue for awhile. And, of course, it also is all of it was tied to, basically, midterms [elections in the U.S.] because Russia wants to see how the United States reacts to all this.

George Szamuely: The question is, Why didn't Russia do that in February? I mean, is there a reason?

Andrei Maryanov: There were some very serious strikes too, make no mistake. There were some and they were not only in February. They were also in March. They were in April, even in July. Including strikes on some serious transport infrastructure. At that time Russia was petty much on the offensive and capturing new territories. And this was viewed as sort of an organic part of all that.

4:59 Andrei Maryanov: But then, suddenly, we have these hoaxes, you know, with the fraud, with the Kherson offensive in August and we suddenly have this great success which, of course, was not a success in capturing 2,000 square kilometers of empty fields in Kharcov. And suddenly for a month, the public is like they look at this and they see nothing happening. Oh, my gosh. And then suddenly Russia decides -- for a number of operational, strategic, and political to do that and people say, Oh my god, they could have [already] done it. Russia was doing this. But Russia also does not want to create along its new borders a complete humanitarian catastrophe because in this case you might be actually not winning but losing.

5:51 That is why these attacks, which were, again, very specifically aimed primarily at the energy export basic infrastructure. They created the impression that Russia could have already done it. Russia was doing this, for awhile. So, it's just that after a month or so of the lull, so to speak, there you go.

George Szamuely: [Wouldn't these attacks earlier have forced Ukraine to negotiate?]

7:15 Andrei Maryanov: Do not forget who was representing Russia at that time. The person who couldn't have done any serious negotation was Mr Midinsky who was the culture minister. There were not even any serious diplomats involved. ... Russia was doing the "Forms must be obeyed" part in this respect but everybody knew that behind Zelensky -- he is nobody; he's a puppet -- was London and Washington, D.C.

[8:32] The United States is increasingly trying to stay away and maintain Plausible deniability. But until Washington says so, nothing is going to happen. Nothing. It means nothing. Zelensky is nobody.

George Szamuely: What would make Washington force Zelensky to negotiate?


9:24 Andrei Maryanov: ... The United States is despertely in need of an off ramp. And once Russia resumes this drive, which is coming and is already kind of in progress, but was more about stabilization of the front and exhausting the remaining reserves of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and their Western, NATO -- essentially -- units (NATO formations fighting there, a known fact). That's when it will come to the attention of people in Washington, D.C. That will be the time to start negotating something which still will be humiliating for them.

. . .

10:33 ... the main objective now is the complete destruction of the Ukrainian state. ... 11:53 the Kiev regime will be demolished. ... 12:23 The United States is in no position to accept anything anymore. ... pretty much sidelined. ... 12:41 the issue will decided by military only
. ... 13:20 They need to maintain this narrative that Russia is on the ropes, which of course it is not. But at this stage it doesn't matter. The United States right now, it will be my supposition, is desperately looking for an off ramp. ... I have to quote Scott Ritter here who says this will be Afghanistan 2.0 on Steroids.