IT is with utmost interest that I read the article by a Sovietologist, Hermenegildo C. Cruz, titled "Putin's Potemkin military," in the Manila Times dated July 16, 2022. Nevertheless, I feel obliged to comment on some of the points raised by the author.

Relying on the statements of persons questionable in the eyes of Russian society and drawing by the ears separately taken facts that are in no way connected with each other, the author draws far-reaching conclusions about the combat capability of the Russian army and makes gloomy forecasts for Russia at the backdrop of the Ukrainian crisis. His analysis of the Russian military is based, as it's indicated in the article, on his observation of the Soviet military organization. However, it's a little bit strange taking into account that Russia and its armed forces have undergone drastic changes since the collapse of the Soviet Union. In all these reflections, bias prevails as well as a clear unwillingness to recognize the harsh reality of the changing configuration of the world order, which is based on the erosion of American unipolarity and the growth of polycentricity in the international system.

Mr. Cruz begins the article with a quote by the former foreign minister of Russia Andrey Kozyrev, who in his Twitter account on March 7, 2022 described the Russian army as "Potemkin," i.e., "putting up a facade of military strength." The author, referring to Kozyrev, writes that the Russian armed forces allegedly suffer great losses in Ukraine, experience a lack of funding, food and production capacity. Russia, according to the author, does not have a broad economic base, lives solely on the export of energy resources, raw materials and weapons, being unable to produce consumer goods. Based on such dubious facts, Mr. Cruz prophesies Russia the fate of Nazi Germany, which found itself isolated in Europe by the end of the World War 2.

However, I would like to draw attention to the following things.

Let's start with the fact that Mr. H. Cruz is quoting a man whose name is considered a household name among Russian diplomats and is associated with the complete surrender of all positions. A small touch to the portrait — while holding the post of Minister of Foreign Affairs of Russia in 1992, Mr. A. Kozyrev stated that Russia had no national interests and asked former US President R. Nixon for recommendations on building the country's foreign policy. Under him, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs became a branch of the US State Department. Yevgeny Primakov (Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation in 1996-1998) with great difficulty, with the help of a team of professionals, managed to keep the ministry from complete collapse.

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The myth about General "Winter" that the author also mentioned, actively exploited by Western countries to justify their defeats by the Russians, looks ridiculous. The same Napoleon spent most of the military campaign against Russia in the summer and autumn time (the war was over by the middle of December, and the real frosts in Russia begin in January). Hitler suffered military setbacks in Russia not only in winter, but also in summer. Russian soldiers also had to overcome mudslides in autumn and severe frosts in winter, which as a rule did not spare anyone, neither Russian nor foreign invaders. However, the fighting spirit of a Russian man was much stronger because he understood what he was fighting for and defended his land. Now the West is again creating myths to cover up its failures. Now the main assistants of Russia, according to Western logic, are General Grain and General Oil.

'Civilizational confrontation'

For an objective analysis of the current situation, first of all, one must understand that a special operation is not a war with Ukraine, but a civilizational confrontation between Russia and the West on the Ukrainian foothold. The countries of the NATO bloc are openly pumping weapons into Ukraine, sending their instructors to fight Russia "to the last Ukrainian," turning a blind eye on the rampant ultra-right nationalist battalions that keep the entire Russian-speaking population of the country in fear.

The special operation to liberate Donbass is indeed being implemented at a rather restrained pace. This is done primarily in order to minimize losses both among civilians and among military personnel. However, it is noteworthy that the prolongation of the conflict, intentional or not, demonstrated that Russia was ready for such a scenario, in contrast to the Western countries, that, as Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said on July 15, "shot themselves in the lungs" by imposing sanctions against Russia, and now they are "suffocating." The confrontation between Russia and the West began to move into another phase and was determined not so much by the military situation in the Ukrainian theater of operations as by the balance of power in the global economic theater of operations.

'Sanctions have failed'

It is obvious that the West failed to quickly break down Russia by imposing the most severe economic blockade and ousting Russia from the energy market, disconnecting it from the global trade and financial system and insurance structures for trade and transport operations, as well as banning the export of high-tech products. Russia turned out to be one of the few countries that are the core of the global industrial chain, and attempts to cut ties with Russia have led to a complete disorganization of the global economy. In Europe and the United States, the crisis has sharply intensified, curtailment of production has begun as well as unprecedented inflation, and rising prices for energy resources, fuel and food. Biden had to defend himself for raising prices in the United States by saying that "Putin did all this." Crisis phenomena are growing in European governments that couldn't manage the situation that they had created themselves: over the past month, the governments of several Western states — Great Britain, Bulgaria and Estonia — have resigned. On July 14, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi also decided to leave his post. It is also restless in Germany: new scandals are unfolding around the chancellor's party.

In the seventh package of sanctions approved by the EU Council against Russia on July 15, a number of financial and technical restrictions against the Russian Federation were softened, including on trade with Russia in agricultural products and the supply of goods for the aviation industry to the country. Removed from sanctions are fertilizers. On July 22 Russia and Ukraine signed an agreement with the UN and Turkey on lifting restrictions on the export of Russian products and on facilitating the export of Ukrainian grain. Within the framework of the agreement, it is planned to promptly create a joint coordination center in Istanbul, which will include Russia, Ukraine and Turkey. The new body will be largely staffed by the military; it will monitor the exit of ships with grain from Ukraine along the agreed corridor and resolve possible incidents. All this indicates that Europe is beginning to realize that it has driven itself into a corner, so it is gradually starting to win back.

'Russia has many friends'

Separately, I would like to touch on Cruz's thesis that since NATO supports Ukraine, Russia will face the same difficulties as Hitler at the end of World War 2, who, after the overthrow of Mussolini in 1943, had no allies left in Europe. First of all, the very attempt to put modern Russia and Nazi Germany on the same scale is indignant. Hitler tried to establish dominance over the world by enslaving and exterminating entire peoples. As a result, he was turned away not only in Europe, but also in other parts of the world. Russia, on the other hand, defends its national interests and defends its security, the guarantees of which were denied to it by its Western "partners."

Russia cannot be isolated. Russia has friends in Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Latin America. There is also no unity in Europe. Hungary and Serbia are declaring their interests louder and louder. The Russian special military operation in Ukraine increases the demand for a multipolar world. Most of the non-Western world "craves strategic autonomy."

Russia has been working on the development of Eurasian integration for a long time, within the framework of the so-called Greater Eurasian Partnership. Greater Eurasia is a big civilizational project. Its main idea is to create a common space for equitable cooperation for regional organizations. And what is more important. regional organizations also show their interest in our Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU)-Brics, SCO, Asean.

I hope my humble letter will be published in the Manila Times to allow the readers to have a more broadened vision on the current situation. The Embassy of the Russian Federation is open to contacts and partnership with you and will be ready to assist in any matters with regard to objective and truthful coverage of the Russian foreign policy.

Nina Prakapovich,

Press Attaché

Embassy of the Russian Federation

1245 Acacia Road, Dasmariñas Village,

Makati, 1220 Metro Manila, Philippines

Tel. 893-0190, 817-5406

Fax. 810-9614