What the Russians left in Bucha and why the crimes won’t help Putin win the war

Tanya Nedashkivs'ka, 57, mourns the death of her husband, killed in Bucha by Putin's invading troops (AP Photo / Rodrigo Abd)
Tanya Nedashkivs’ka, 57, mourns the death of her husband, killed in Bucha by Putin’s invading troops (AP Photo / Rodrigo Abd)

The killings of civilians in Bucha by Putin’s forces cast further doubts on the nature of Russian military modernization, revealing “a leadership failure at all levels” And it will backfire on Vladimir Putin’s plansthe magazine assured this Monday The Economist in an extensive chronicle of the massacre.

A mass grave found in Bucha on Sunday, April 3, 2022, outside Kiev, Ukraine.  (Photo AP / Rodrigo Abd)
A mass grave found in Bucha on Sunday, April 3, 2022, outside Kiev, Ukraine. (Photo AP / Rodrigo Abd)

“For weeks of fighting, Russian troops in the territory around Kiev were hit by Ukrainian forces. When they withdrew from farms and emerging suburbs like Bucha and Irpin, they left behind the remains of tanks and armored vehicles, as well as loot they couldn’t take with them. But the Russians also left evidence of summary executions and random killings, war crimes on a terrible scale. “wrote the influential British publication.

Second The Economist, the massacre, which at least according to the Ukrainian Attorney General has left 410 civilians killed, proves the backwardness of the Kremlin troopscontradicting the Russian narrative about an alleged modernization of the army.

A woman kisses a man as they cook over a fire outside an apartment building with no electricity, water and gas since the beginning of the Russian invasion in Bucha, Ukraine on Sunday, April 3, 2022. (AP Photo / Vadim Ghirda)
A woman kisses a man as they cook over a fire outside an apartment building with no electricity, water and gas since the beginning of the Russian invasion in Bucha, Ukraine on Sunday, April 3, 2022. (AP Photo / Vadim Ghirda)

“In the 1990s, the country’s armed forces were a post-Soviet mess, starved of resources, besieged by corruption and infected with intimidation. The recruits were still deprived of dignity and mistreated. This should have changed after years of reforms after the Russo-Georgian war of 2008. The size of the army was reduced and contained more professional soldiers, ”wrote the influential British publication. “None of that alleged progress was seen on April 3 in Bucha, on the north-western outskirts of Kyiv.”

A man's lifeless body lies on a dirt road in Bucha, Ukraine on Monday, April 4, 2022. (AP / Vadim Ghirda)
A man’s lifeless body lies on a dirt road in Bucha, Ukraine on Monday, April 4, 2022. (AP / Vadim Ghirda)

The Economist also could check the reports summary executions e denied the Russian version which blamed Ukraine for what happened.

“Nine bodies lay on the side of a construction site and two more on the road between Bucha and Irpin. All had puncture wounds to the head, chest, or both. At least two of the bodies had their hands tied behind their backs. From the smell of decaying bodies, they had been there for some time, disproving Russian claims that Ukraine, which freed Bucha on April 1, would carry out the killings. “, read in the news.

The massacre also revealed a lack of leadership in the Kremlin military, second The Economist.

The magazine quotes General Sir Riccardo Barronwho was in command of the British joint forces until 2016, according to which the evidence of civilian abuses by Russian forces “reveals a failure of leadership at all levels, a collapse of morale, a failure to train in the fundamental rules of war and, probably, above all, a failure of collective self-discipline of front of strenuous resistance “.

The result, he said, will be militarily and diplomatically counterproductive for the Kremlin: it will double Ukrainian resistance, increase Western military support for sanctions and military aid, and significantly reduce the space for dialogue.

A man's lifeless body is seen lying on the stairs of a building in Bucha, Ukraine on Sunday, April 3, 2022. (AP Photo / Vadim Ghirda)
A man’s lifeless body is seen lying on the stairs of a building in Bucha, Ukraine on Sunday, April 3, 2022. (AP Photo / Vadim Ghirda)

The Economist also stressed LDisturbing similarities between the Bucha massacre and Russia’s wars in Chechnya in the 1990s and early 2000s, with Putin already president of the country.

What happened to Bucha, in particular, recalls the case of Novye Aldia suburb of the Chechen capital Grozny. There, Russian troops went from house to house to execute civiliansaccording to eyewitnesses collected by the NGO Human Rights Watch. “Brutal sweeps like these became known as zachistka or ‘cleaning’ operations “remember the magazine.

The bodies of two civilians killed in Bucha (AP / Vadim Ghirda)
The bodies of two civilians killed in Bucha (AP / Vadim Ghirda)

Indeed, the Chechens themselves could be involved in the massacre, however, in all likelihood, premeditated, second The Economist: “The Conflict intelligence teamone research team says it is likely that the Russian units involved in Bucha were from Eastern Russian military districtor one of the other formations involved in that axis: the airborne forces VDVthe Rosgvardia (the national guard of the Russian army) or troops loyal to Ramzan Kadyrov “the Chechen leader accused of murders and all kinds of human rights violations.

Magazine also mentions Jack Watlinga military expert of Royal United Services Institutea British think tank, which was in Ukraine in the weeks before the war.

“Anyone who says that Bucha is the result of brutality or dishonest behavior is wrong”Watling said. “This was the plan. It was premeditated. He is consistent with Russian methods in Chechnya. And if the Russian army had been more successful, there would be many more villages like this. “

The lifeless body of a man with his hands tied behind his back lies on the ground in Bucha, Ukraine on Sunday, April 3, 2022. (AP Photo / Vadim Ghirda)
The lifeless body of a man with his hands tied behind his back lies on the ground in Bucha, Ukraine on Sunday, April 3, 2022. (AP Photo / Vadim Ghirda)

To this must be added thatsince Vladimir Putin took power in 1999, the Kremlin promoted a cult of aggression whose goal it was legitimize senseless military campaigns “, explained Elena Rachevasocial anthropologist at the University of Oxford.

Encouraged by state television, the soldiers look to a father or grandfather who fought in the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945 as a model. This explains videos such as the one released by the Russian Defense Ministry on April 1, in which it appears Aleksei Shabulincommander of a battalion who performed a zachistka in the direction of “Hostomel-Gucha … Bucha-Lozero”.

“My great-grandfather went through the entire Second World War and until 1953 he chased the fascist devil named Bandera through the Ukrainian forests,” he said. “I am now a glorious successor to this tradition. Now my time has come and I will not dishonor my great grandfather and go to the end. “

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