Chess of war
Let us look at the main actors in the war unfolding in Ukraine. Here we can refer to the 'geopolitical chessboard' metaphor introduced by Zbigniew Brzezinski. Obviously, the territory of Ukraine, and to some extent Russia, is a 'chessboard' on which the global geopolitical confrontation is taking place. At the same time, Kiev itself, as everyone has long understood, has no independence or subjectivity: it is simply a tool that the main actors, primarily those playing against Russia, move at their discretion. Like any metaphor, the 'geopolitical chess' scheme we propose certainly has weaknesses and limitations, but if it helps to shed light on what is happening, this alone justifies its existence.
The Chess of the Apocalypse
Any scheme oversimplifies the real picture, but it tries to highlight the underlying trends and the truly decisive power centres. Obviously, Russia is now at war with the collective West and it is these two geopolitical instances that we can take as the two opposing beginnings. That Russia represents the whites and the collective West represents the blacks.
Within the blacks, the contours of several powerful and influential poles are emerging. Since we are talking about geopolitical chess, we can imagine each pole as a kind of piece, which has its own plan, its own logic, its own strategy, its own goals in war. At the same time, each geopolitical piece is limited in its actions by the other pieces, both white and black, its own and the opponent's.
Three main figures are proposed for each side, black and white. But these principal figures generalise a huge number of secondary decision-making centres, analysis and expert groups, networks of influence, etc. These are the macro-figures of the geopolitical chess game of the Ukrainian war, which, in fact, could easily and quickly degenerate into World War III. The current conflict would thus be identified as its precursor or its first phase. Should it not degenerate into World War III, the involvement of global actors and the global scale make every macro-figure responsible for the fate of humanity. Every move of a macro-figure, under the present circumstances, is pregnant with Armageddon. The likelihood of a direct nuclear confrontation between Russia and the NATO bloc with the use of strategic nuclear weapons (SNW) is the backdrop against which the chess game on the chessboard of Ukraine (western Russia) is being played out. We are thus facing the 'chess of the Apocalypse'.
With Black we can distinguish three main macro-figures, which are not symmetrical with each other, but each of them has a sufficient degree of sovereignty to actively influence the course of the entire confrontation. We have named them as follows:
The party of complete and immediate victory over Russia.
The party of delayed victory over Russia.
The party of indifference to Russia.
The first two macro-figures represent the factions of the globalists who now have almost complete control of the Atlanticist elites in the US and EU, both of which are on their way to world government and in this they have no contradictions. They differ only in the speed and radicality of the measures needed to achieve their common goal. Both the Party of Immediate Victory over Russia and the Party of Deferred Victory are firmly committed to a unipolar world, committed to liberal globalist ideology and to maintaining Western hegemony on a global scale at all costs. In essence, they are one and the same force, but their two poles - the party of immediate black victory and the party of deferred black victory - differ significantly in their assessment of the situation, methods and ways to achieve the goal.
The party of total and immediate victory over Russia
The most radical part of the globalists insists on taking advantage of the situation and what they see as Russia's significant weakness demonstrated in the Ukrainian war (many sincerely believe that 'Russia has already lost'), to end the situation, inflict a total and crushing defeat on Russia, force it into unconditional surrender, and then plunge into bloody chaos and ensure the collapse of the Russian Federation along all possible fault lines - social, ethnic and confessional, territorial.
This macro-figure is represented first and foremost by the British secret services, which act in close connection with certain US neo-conservative centres (Kagan, Nuland, Kristol) and with the Pentagon and CIA circles close to them.
From the point of view of these institutions, Russia is extremely weak and hanging by a thread in every respect. The stalemate on the fronts, the indecision or permanent postponement of mobilisation reforms, the high tolerance of political and anti-war opposition within the elites, the confusion within the military command, the confusion of society, the effects of sanctions and the need to seek immediate import substitution, the lack of a coherent ideology, the lack of a clear strategic will to win - these are all signs that Russia is on the brink of an abyss and that, if pushed hard, it will collapse. This is why the first macro-figure of the blacks - the party of complete and immediate victory over Russia - is planning and executing the most drastic steps of this war: this is where terrorist attacks on Russian territories, assassinations, bombings, UAV attacks, attacks on old and new Russian territory, including attacks on civilian targets on Russian border territories, where the operation to blow up the northern streams and blow up the Crimean bridge is planned and executed. This is the black pole that aims to saturate the puppet regime in Kiev to the maximum with all kinds of weapons, to supply depleted uranium bullets, to conduct new large-scale terrorist attacks in Russian capitals and cities, to radicalise the internal Russian opposition and recruit its personnel for armed uprising, the formation of DRGs, etc.
No negotiations with Russia, no ceasefire considered by this pole. Russia is caught in a carefully placed strategic trap and the wounded bear must be dealt with now and immediately, by any means necessary.
This pole advocates a parabolic escalation of hostilities, using the full spectrum of means and in an accelerated manner.
The main argument of this macro-figure is the assumption that under no circumstances will Putin use nuclear weapons (NSNWs), or for that matter strategic nuclear weapons (TNWs), and the likelihood of using tactical nuclear weapons (TNWs) is not fatal from this group's perspective. Any suggestion that Moscow is prepared to respond with nuclear weapons in the extreme case is considered by this black group to be a bluff, because, in their view, the existing regime, in the absence of a brilliant ideology, is simply not organically capable of taking this step.
This same pole actively employs network strategies, oversees the IPSO and moderates social engineering strategies for Russian society, skilfully exploiting any flaw in Russian information and Internet policy. It can be said to orchestrate waves of mind terror using a variety of methods - including many news channels that are supposedly 'neutral' and 'objective' in nature.
This pole will play an important role in the counter-attack planned by Kiev and claims complete leadership of the operation.
The goal - the destruction of Russia - will be achieved quickly and hard, and in the shortest possible time. Mass terrorist attacks with large numbers of civilian casualties and even missile attacks on Moscow will be allowed.
The party of delayed victory over Russia
The second macro-figure is the party of delayed victory over Russia. Here the assessment of the state of affairs is slightly different from that of the first macro-figure. This group believes, like the first one, that Russia has 'already lost' in this war - the attacks on central Ukraine, and even Kharkiv and Odessa, have faltered, the front has stalled even in the Donbass, sanctions have isolated Russia economically from the West, the indecision of patriotic reforms has further weakened Moscow. In this situation, the minimum programme, according to this black pole, has been achieved. The countries of the West have once again united around NATO under the US, globalism has once again strengthened its position. Consequently, the time has come to move the conflict into the long-term phase. The longer the 'status quo' lasts, the more Russia will be weakened. And then, you see, the destructive processes will begin on their own: the effects of the sanctions and the difficulties in organising parallel imports and import substitution will be felt; the growing casualties of the war will undermine confidence in the government; and, if we don't hurry and go too far, Russia itself, like a ripe fruit, will fall at the feet of the globalists. In reality, the war has already been 'won' by the West, and Ukraine was and remains only expendable material in this geopolitical chess game - a pawn has been sacrificed (and not even all the way), and the overall situation is much improved.
General Mark Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the US Armed Forces, is a prime example of this position.
Black's second macro-figure is also geared towards the final defeat of Russia, but only gradual and delayed. The start of peace negotiations, preferably on terms disadvantageous to Russia - shameful - and the prolongation of the war for a long period, and even some connivance with the Russians in local areas, are permissible here.
And above all: the second macro-figure is not sure that in a critical situation - for example, in the event of a decisive and precipitous attack by Kiev troops on Russian territories - Putin will not use nuclear weapons, including NSNW. The assumption is that this may be a bluff, but if not, it may turn out to be too late. So why risk everything, the destruction of the planet, just to get what you want a little faster than you will get it anyway?
This is the position of Biden himself and most of his administration (except the extreme neoconservatives). And this is why some publications in the White House-controlled US press deny responsibility for the terrorist attacks in Russia, the Nord Stream explosion, and escalation in general. The fact that responsibility is being shifted to Kiev should be seen as a euphemism, a figure of speech. Of course, the meaning is another: the moderates are pointing - through Kiev - to the first macro-figure of the blacks, i.e. the party of total and immediate victory over Russia
What is the relationship between these macro-figures? It is not easy to establish with certainty. In some ways they are in solidarity - in their desire to defeat Russia, to disrupt multipolarity and to preserve the hegemony of the globalist West. In other ways they differ. But in any case they are two different characters. They have two different visions and two different agendas. There is no clear hierarchy between them: each follows his own path, according to his own assessments, methods and possibilities. It might seem that the balance between the first and second piece shifts periodically in one direction or the other.
Again, the image of chess helps us here. Each of the pieces moves according to its own algorithm. One is geared towards escalation, accelerated timing and disregard for the rules. The other acts more cautiously, trying to keep the escalation under control and ready to prolong the process, secure in the results already achieved and the likelihood of getting what it wants (the collapse of Russia as a sovereign power) in the natural course of events, which, of course, the West should actively facilitate.
The indifference’s party
There is also a third macro-figure among the blacks. It is far less influential than the first two, and is largely unrelated to directly influencing the course of events. But it is there, and it cannot be ignored. We are talking about the position of those American political forces that do not identify US interests with globalism, do not rely on the rules of Atlanticist geopolitics (where the main goal of the Anglo-Saxon civilisation of the sea is an overwhelming victory over the Eurasian civilisation of the land, i.e. sovereign Russia), and are therefore indifferent to Russia, which, on a soberly pragmatic analysis, does not threaten US national interests - neither in the military nor in the economic field - in general. If we abandon the equation 'US=globalism, world hegemony and liberalism', which the first two black macro-figures share and which the third group rejects, the attitude towards the war in Ukraine immediately changes. The summary of this attitude is as follows: the US is not interested in this war at all, and the obsession with Russophobia is linked to the private interests of globalist elites who use the US and European NATO countries for their own corporate interests.
This is exactly the position expressed by former US President Donald Trump. His claims that if he becomes US President again, the conflict in Ukraine will immediately cease are not boastfulness, but pure realism. Once the collective West abandons the fierce chess game against Russia, the whole drama becomes insignificant and the US moves on to other - more acute - problems, such as the economic rivalry with China, the financial and emigration crisis in the US itself, etc.
Among the black figures, this is now the weakest position. Its influence is very limited. But with the US presidential elections of 2024 approaching, its influence could increase. Also for pragmatic reasons, it is likely that the Republicans, in their opposition to Biden's Ukrainian policy, will fall back on this kind of realist logic. There is not the slightest sympathy for Russia behind such a position, but objectively it would drastically reduce tensions and lead to de-escalation.
Among Republicans themselves, Trump's logic is not the only one, and some neocons will support the Atlanticist scenario. But already for the intra-corporate interests of American politics, the Ukrainian card is so firmly associated with the Democrats and Biden that it has no chance of being taken up by the Republicans in the pre-election controversy.
It can therefore be cautiously predicted that by the autumn of 2023, and especially if Russia manages the upcoming offensive, the role of the third black macro-figure will gradually increase.
Obviously, such a course of American foreign policy, based on realism and the national interest of the United States as a power, will completely change the strategy of the chess game to the black side, although the influence of the other macro-figures will remain. It will already be a completely different game, and it is no coincidence that the regime in Kiev detests everything related to Trump. The strength of the third party - the party of indifference to Russia - will mean the end of modern Ukraine.
White's macro figures: the party of immediate defeat
Let us now turn to Whites and their macro-figures. Here too, three symmetrical 'parties' can be distinguished. They partly correspond to the macro figures of the blacks, but differ from them in some respects. They can be conventionally named as follows:
The party of the immediate defeat of Russia.
The party of Russia's delayed defeat.
The Party of Victory.
The Party of Immediate Defeat comprises the radical liberal opposition - Navalny's structures that have turned into outright terror (Darya Trepova), the old political émigrés (Khodorkovsky, Kasparov, etc.), representatives of the new political émigré (Chubais), economic émigrés (Darya Trepova), etc. ), representatives of the new political (Chubais), economic (Fridman, Aven), artistic (Pugacheva, Galkin) émigré, victims of the enemy's social engineering, hypnotised by the slogan 'no to war', and, finally, direct agents of the West in various governmental and social structures, increasingly active in direct sabotage, organising DRGs, providing the enemy with valuable information, etc.
Now this macro-figure is politically designated as something unacceptable, but its deep rootedness in society and the state over the last 30 years of our country's direct orientation towards the West is so extensive that opposition to it so far only concerns the tip of the iceberg. Liberal networks of agents of influence permeate Russia and the Blacks count on this white figure in their geopolitical game as one of the main factors in their strategy. This figure is 'white' only formally, in that they are Russians, half-Russians or former Russians. In reality, in terms of geopolitical orientation, the liberals and Westerners, both those who have already left and those who have yet to leave, serve the interests of the blacks. This is how corrupt jockeys deliberately lose races and corrupt boxers lose fights. White's first macro-figure, the Immediate Defeat Party, essentially plays into Black's hands in everything. And not just Black in general, but specifically Black's Immediate Victory Party, the first Black macro-figure. In fact, this 'white' figure is controlled by a black piece.
This was explicitly alluded to by the late Atlanticist geopolitician Brzezinski, when to my question about geopolitical chess he replied that 'chess is a game for one, not for two'. Brzezinski was used to playing for the black and moving the white pieces. This is exactly the state of the Russian elite before the SMO. It was ruled by the West. But after the SMO, this model became more unacceptable and the liberal elites that seemed 'white' finally emerged as black-ruled figures.
Hence the appearance of direct representatives of MI6 like Hristo Groziev together with his subordinates (Navalny and his entourage) on the eve of SMO. The Liberals threw off their mask and revealed themselves to be direct agents of the enemy in a deadly conflict.
One may wonder, however, whether the representatives of the party of Russia's immediate defeat are fully known, identified and labelled accordingly. Obviously not all of them. But this is a question that should be put to the relevant structures. And to address it thoroughly, it would be necessary to reconstitute the SMERSH or something similar.
It is important to note that the ruling elite in the 1990s were predominantly Western radical liberals, and although some of them may have sincerely changed their minds during Putin's sovereign course, the experience cannot have been in vain.
White's party of deferred defeat
White's second macro-figure is the party of deferred defeat. This is that part of the Russian elite that professes dual allegiance: on the one hand, this group is loyal to Putin and recognises the legitimacy of his orientation towards sovereignty and multipolarism, which means it supports the Special Military Operation and formally aims for victory. But on the other hand, the main orientation of this group is still the modern liberal West, its culture, codes, technologies, practices and tendencies. Therefore, this macro-figure sees the break with the West as a catastrophe and foresees the end of the conflict as soon as possible and the initiation of processes to re-establish the broken ties. This second macro-figure of White is not ready for direct sabotage, espionage and terrorist activity against the authorities. Moreover, it understands that sovereignty is a value and its complete loss would also mean its own demise as a loyalist elite. But the party of deferred defeat does not see Russia as a civilisation, is unwilling to sacrifice everything for the front and does not see a future for the country outside the West.
The SMO has been a disaster for this macro-figure, but unlike the white party of immediate defeat, its representatives are forced to remain loyal to Putin and the country.
It is a very serious and influential grouping within the Russian government. It is partly symmetrical to the party of delayed victory for blacks. Its representatives would accept the most unpalatable proposals from the West in the name of peace. But since the party of immediate victory for blacks leaves them no chance, they are forced to work for war and support the Operation. Recently published private conversations by some of the elite clearly describe the state of mind of this group: they do not believe in victory, they curse the SMO, they tearfully regret the old pre-war days, and they are ready to accept almost any conditions to end the conflict. At the same time, they are forced to take an officially 'patriotic' stance, as this has become the norm of political correctness in Russia itself.
The party of delayed victory in the US and the West in general relies heavily on the party of delayed defeat in Russia, as it is actively blocking full public mobilisation and decisive patriotic reforms long overdue, including the proclamation of a coherent and cohesive ideology. However, this macro-figure, unlike the first one, which is in fact not white at all, remains on Russia's side, and in a direct and tough confrontation, and especially in the face of another macro-figure of the enemy (the party of immediate black victory), it too will be forced to act according to the logic of the war being waged against it.
The victory’s party
The third macro-figure of the White is the Victory Party. It has a fairly large presence in Russian society; on the other hand, it has been in the absolute minority in the ruling elite until very recently. We are talking about staunch patriots and supporters of Russia as an original civilisation, bearers of traditional values sympathetic to Russia's mission and historical identity - its religion, its people, its sovereignty.
The SMO brought the Victory Party to the fore and it is its assessments, perceptions and decipherments of the radical conflict with the collective West that have become, in fact, the official version of what is happening. The representatives of the second white macro-figure are forced to repeat this version, sometimes forcefully.
The Victory Party focuses on frontal opposition to the West, to take SMO to its logical conclusion and firmly cement the strategic conditions of a multipolar world in which Western hegemony has no place. It is this macro-figure that sees the military conflict with the West as a decisive moment in the battle for the next world order and as the fulfilment of Russia's historical mission. The Victory Party sees the conflict not as a situational confrontation or a regional dispute, but as a war of civilisations. For Victory, therefore, Russia, the state and society, must take all necessary measures and pay any price. The outbreak of the SMO, regardless of the reasons, was the final battle for Russia's sovereignty and historical existence. Therefore, immediate patriotic reforms and full mobilisation of the government and society are needed. And from this party's point of view, the use of nuclear weapons, given the seriousness of the threat to Russia, and especially in the event of a negative hostilities scenario, is metaphysically justified and by no means a bluff.
The White Pole is not yet currently the dominant elite pole, and the Party of Deferred Defeat surpasses it in several administrative respects. That said, the weight of the Party of Victory is steadily increasing and, at the level of official discourse in Russia, it is its programme, strategy and assessment of the situation that are considered normative.
In any case, this macro-figure of the geopolitical chess is present, contrasted and distinguishable.
Let us now reduce our proposed classification of actors to a general scheme.
Each macro-figure has before it a fairly clear picture of what is happening, with which all other figures agree in principle. That is, they all act according to certain algorithms, which are inscribed in the objective structure of the confrontation, about which they have no illusions. Everyone understands who is fighting with whom and for what objectives.
Ukraine is just a territory, a chessboard - with its own characteristics, topography and topology, but it is a pure background. It is neither a figure nor a subject. Everything is decided outside of it and regardless of it.
Military, political, economic, social, diplomatic, information and technological processes are closely interconnected and form a rather orderly system, despite the spontaneity of war. All 6 macro-figures can be taken to understand how these systems are configured and how their different parts are interconnected.
But this general agreement with the objective geopolitical framework goes no further. Each subject in the decision-making process moves according to its own logic and the very fact of this movement is capable of changing the whole picture under certain circumstances. For example, the decision on partial mobilisation in Russia, its timing and even its details, affects the entire system. Obviously, the party of delayed defeat in Russia resonated best with the collective West, but once it happened, events began to unfold at a different pace. The same applies to the other major decisions of this war: offensives, retreats, defences, attacks, terrorist attacks, bombing of military and civilian targets on the enemy's territory, and so on. The irregularity of the situation is that the territory of the real enemy in this war - the collective West - remains perfectly safe for now, while on Russia's territory the enemy is striking, right down to the recent UAV attack on the Kremlin.
In this diagram, we can further analyse the relationship of the three black poles to each other, and this will give us a clearer picture of the overall vector, taking into account the political moment in the US and the more secondary processes in the NATO countries - Europe and Turkey. We can also look at the relationship and balance of the three white macro-figures. Again, there is a definite dynamic linked to the same political moment, but already within Russia. Finally, it is possible to analyse how the attitudes, decisions and actions initiated by each pole of one side (the black side) relate to the similar attitudes, decisions and actions of the other (the white side). But this requires another, more detailed analysis. For now, it is sufficient to highlight and briefly describe the main macro-figures of this chess war, which could become humanity's last war. Everything depends on these figures, their interaction, their correlation, their filling of subjects and objects, their will, determination, resources and inner conviction of their rightness.
Translation by Lorenzo Maria Pacini