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by John Helmer, Moscow 

Grief, anger, recriminations, media moneymaking, and political ambition make a highly  inflammable combination whose smoke and heat —  on both sides of the war against Russia —  distort what caused the Crocus City Hall attack – and what will happen next.

Methodical analysis of cause of death and of culpability in conspiracy to kill doesn’t persuade as quickly and profitably as incendiary propaganda.

This, said the Orthodox Church’s Patriarch Kirill on Wednesday, is aimed “to use internal problems with the migration situation, to aggravate interethnic relations in our country, including with the help of a radical Islamist factor. In particular, we are talking about the enemy’s intention to clash two traditional religions and divide people according to religious principle. Of course, we cannot allow anything like this in Russia.”   

The Church warning, during the celebration of Ramadan until April 9 and ahead of Orthodox Easter on May 3, follows President Vladimir Putin’s remarks to security officials on Monday, and the subsequent clarifications by security chiefs Alexander Bortnikov of the Federal Security Service (FSB) and Nikolai Patrushev of the Security Council. Click for details and context.  

If there is an operational military objective for the March 23 attack on the part of the mercenaries, their command and controllers, and the US and other intelligence services engaged, triggering inter-communal violence in Russia is it. “Sow panic in our society while demonstrating to their own people that not all hope is lost for the Kiev regime,” Putin said on Monday.    “All they need to do is follow the orders of their Western patrons, fight until the last Ukrainian, obey Washington’s commands, endorse the new mobilization law, and form something resembling a new version of the Hitler Youth. To comply with all of this, they will seek new weapons and additional funds, much of which will likely be embezzled and, as is customary in Ukraine today, put into their own pockets.”  

From this warfighting point of view of the Ukrainians and the Biden Administration, however, the Crocus Hall operation has turned out to be a triple failure.

The effectiveness of the Russian security forces in pursuing the getaway car; monitoring in real time the social media and telephone communications of the gunmen in the vehicle, and then capturing them alive minutes after they had proved their destination was the Ukraine is a major  operational success – and a deterrent for follow-up enemy operations in planning.  

The failure of the Ukrainians to provide the gang with either safe haven or execution to hide the command and control is also a deterrent for the planned sequels. It’s also a negative for the case the Zelensky regime has been making to the US Congress and NATO allies for more money, weapons, and men to take their war deep into Russian territory.  

Finally, there has been no intercommunal violence in Moscow, religiously motivated protests, or  pogroms of Tajiks. The Russians have proved they are not the Germans towards Jews, the English towards Irish, the Israelis towards Palestinians, or American Trump voters towards  Mexicans.  

Yet to be acknowledged, though, there has been an operational failure for the Kremlin and the Moscow city and Moscow region governments, but it is neither military nor ideological. This is that the casualty toll is at least twice the number it might have been if not for the maladministration  of the Crocus building construction permits and the failure to enforce fire security and evacuation codes. “The building went up much too fast and we still have no video evidence of fire suppression, let alone a functioning alarm system,” comments a US engineer. “I’ve looked at the walls and ceilings. There were no pull stations, sprinkler heads, smoke or heat detectors visible. When people were being led out, there were no strobe lights, bells, klaxons, or any other emergency signage.”

The majority of Russians are well aware that shoddy engineering and corrupt administration can cause mass loss of life;  for example from methane explosions in the coalmines of the Kemerovo region,  and in the slow poisoning of air and water in the steelmaking cities of the Urals.  But in the most recent public opinion polling across the country, optimism for the future has never been higher.   

This public sentiment isn’t going to be damaged or distracted by the propaganda following the Crocus City Hall attack. The priority in public opinion remains to take the war to the enemy before he exploits another chance; and for that,  Russian confidence in the military has not been higher since 1945.  

In the 30-minute interview on Gorilla Radio, recorded on March 28, Moscow time, Chris Cook leads the discussion. Click to listen.  

The interview begins at Minute 30. Don’t miss listening to the song, “This is genocide” from Min 28:40. Click: https://gradio.substack.com/

For the introduction to this broadcast, access to the 20-year Gorilla Radio archive, and Chris Cook’s blog, click here.  

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