Putin has finally announced a mobilisation, a partial mobilisation—and yet even the way he did it reveals that Russia is behind in this war. Russia has fallen into the classic dynamic—seen in the English Civil War and the US Civil War—where the more masculine and aristocratic side (cavalier-graycoat) starts out well, only to be pushed back by the more modern, democratic, and technological side. The way Putin announced the mobilisation was patchy: he issued a rare communication—yet his press conference was cancelled, then the message went out later. Very Cold War, very closed. Zelensky, meanwhile, remains on social media 24/7 like a teenage girl—liking posts and being liked in return.
In other words, Zelensky understands the modern military environment—just as Cromwell built a New Model Army. Warfare is mostly psychological, Zelensky knows how to use the latest tools to key into the world’s psychology—as a comedian he is skilled in this activity. You might object that he is soft, “gay”, and unmanly—the same was said as regards the Union army with its mechanised mass men and very average raw recruits. Yet they understood the modern battle dynamic, whereas their opponents fought the last war (or a war from the 1600s). Hence Zelensky beats Putin, he is a social media phenomenon whereas Putin holds himself aloof as if we still lived in old-fashioned TV days. That’s not to say the right can’t use social media, Trump obviously did—it’s just Putin hasn’t learned this lesson.
A further comparison to the US Civil War emerges: the South staked everything on cotton—on European intervention to secure cotton supply. It never happened. Similarly, Putin has staked everything on oil and gas—he thinks Europe will buckle when winter hits. This is actually a big gamble—just like the South’s cotton he counts on his “ace in the hole”, but what if oil and gas can be sourced elsewhere? What if it’s a mistake to put “everything on red”?