by John Hawk
Given this and other articles, it’s becoming clear the intra-junta battlelines are being drawn. It’s Kolomoysky—Turchinov—Yarosh—Volunteer battalions, against Poroshenko—Muzhenko—National Guard and UAF. Poroshenko seems like the weaker side, which may be why Novorossia forces do not wish to go over on the offensive, because a serious military setback for the UAF would almost certainly bring down Poroshenko.
Some aspects of YuraSumy’s analysis are arguable. Is Yarosh merely a simpleton following orders? A lot of people thought that way about Hitler, back in the day, which meant he could be controlled because he was too dumb to become an independent political actor. But if it’s Yarosh who has the operational control over the TerrBats (plus his own Right Sector)…then who, exactly, can stop him, if the UAF and the National Guard are somehow neutralized? Nobody. He may be simply biding his time for now, playing the idiot for as long as it is useful, in order to lull his co-conspirators into a sense of complacency.
Even his “loose lips” moment, which YuraSumy interprets as an indication of his stupidity, could have been a coldly calculated move. Yarosh must be perfectly aware that Muzhenko is incompetent and therefore highly unpopular among the junior military commanders. To use military parlance, he’s running this idea of his own GenStaff up the flagpole to see who will salute. He wants to know which line UAF commanders he can count on when the chips are down. As to those he can’t count on, let’s not forget that the embedding of the TerrBats into regular brigades is reminiscent of the way the Camicia Nere (Blackshirt) units were embedded into the regular Italian Army during the Mussolini era. While their combat effectiveness was minimal, they could be counted on keeping the soldiers in line, or to arrest the commanders if need be. This means the TerrBats embedded in the brigades carry out a “decapitating strike” against its own military leadership. When the parallel GenStaff gives the order to do so. Now, it’s entirely possible that Yarosh would not do it on his own, but rather in coordination with other members of the anti-Poroshenko coalition, but that does not mean he will not use his control over the TerrBats against his own erstwhile allies.
It could really be that the most important allies to Poroshenko now are the Novorussian forces.