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Kyiv | Ukraine’s Alamo

Throughout human history leaders, whether saints or despots, have willingly remained with their defenders, military and civilians, against their foes in order to face their destiny.

Russians | Snatching Defeat from the Jaws of Victory

Although Volodymyr Zelensky is the former comedian now president of Ukraine, it appears as if this war is turning into a dark comedy for the Russian army whose progress to seize three critical cities has ground to a halt against a motivated and inspired Ukrainian urban defense.

Like the 1968 cinematic classic The Producers, “director” Vladmir Putin thought it was going to be a sure-thing cakewalk with a politically divided west, weak US/Nato, outmanned and outgunned Ukraine whose non-Nato status legally eliminated direct US/Nato military intervention.

But it seems like the joke is on Putin as the Ukrainian military and citizenry are demonstrating a level of vicious tenacity that Russian military intelligence, and perhaps the US/Nato intelligence, grossly underestimated.

Strong Man Zelensky | No Basement at the Alamo

Nowadays it’s almost unheard of for a leader under siege to remain in situ until the bitter end. The last modern-day dramatic show of defiance may have been in October 1981 when Anwar Sadat of Egypt stood up instead of ducking on the review stand when a radical faction of the military parade opened fire and assassinated him.

Zelensky knows that the cavalry is not coming. He was quoted by a British source, “I need ammunition, not a ride.” His actions match the saying goes, “There’s no basement at the Alamo” all of which appear to be ripped from the scripts of B-movies. Regardless of the pulp fiction quotes, the citizenry is inspired by a leader who will stand front & center to defend the nation instead of fleeing and fighting with verbal judo in exile.

Furthermore, he’s Ukraine’s democratically elected president who is Jewish, a tiny minority of 215,000 in a country of 44 million, according to the Jewish Confederation of Ukraine. In other words, he’s boldly leading and inspiring an overwhelming Christian country in a region where the Jewish community has suffered horribly through the pogroms of fascists and Communists alike.

One might accuse Zelensky of narcissism by flaunting a flair for the dramatic. But this isn’t theater. It’s real-life and the survival of an, albeit imperfect, work in progress democracy whose past non-democratic leaderships is something you can erase overnight.

Weak Man Putin | The Sands Are Shifting Beneath Him

In contrast to Zelensky’s defiant outdoors public posture surrounded by his camouflage outfitted high-level officials, in the face of overwhelming military firepower, Vladimir Putin, located hundreds of miles away far from the hostilities, issues bombastic directives and threats from his underground bunker. It almost seems as if he’s not afraid of the Ukrainian military rather his own citizens who are engaged in defiant anti-war protests. The optics indicate that Putin feels under siege and is a prisoner of his self-created paranoia rather than a democratically-free Zelensky beloved by his countrymen.

The figures in the following chart entitled Where Russian Anti-War Protestors Have Been Detained provided by OVD-Info, a Russian activist group, understate the non-protestor Russian citizenry’s disgust (in private) as to where their country is headed with a disastrous war that has neither a real purpose nor upside.

The present-day protests follow the trend indicated in the following chart entitled Russian Are Increasingly Likely to Protest provided by the Levada Center, a Russian independent research group, that has had their share of Russian governmental pressure.

I believe that Putin’s support is eroding dramatically including his inner circle of sycophants. Anecdotes indicate that Russians, from the military to the citizenry, have adopted the attitude, “I didn’t sign up for this.”

The window is closing rapidly for Putin’s much wished for lightning military victory. Nonetheless such a triumph will merely buy him more time in office as his supporters, even China, take a non-committal stance.

A Pyrrhic victory or military stalemate will grease the skids for his ouster as he assumes a bunker mentality becoming more isolated psychically and psychologically.

Rumors abound that the military from the highest leadership to the grunt were “duped” into fighting a war against their next door neighbor with whom they share cultural and familial bonds. For them it’s an unnecessary de facto civil war for domination, not to defend their homeland.

Operation Valkyrie Russian Style

“Operation Valkyrie” was the name of the plot to assassinate Hitler in July 1944 devised and carried out mostly by the military high command as the German army was retreating on all fronts of WW II.

Russia’s forward progress has embarrassingly stalled and without a fresh supply of personnel and materiel their efforts to capture Kyiv and other key cities will result in a meat-grinder war of attrition. Capturing huge swathes of open land is one thing. Capturing an urban center is the military’s worst nightmare which always results in high casualty rates. The deceleration of the Russian armed forces’ progress might be proportional to the collapse of the Putin mafia state.

Just as the Russian army use the encirclement/pincer attack on Ukraine, the same tactic may be in progress to oust Putin. The conspirators probably include the business elite, military high command and bureaucrats, the latter who have the utmost intimate knowledge of government operations.

Expressed simplistically, defiance to Putin’s orders by the army on the military battlefield and by bureaucrats on the administrative battlefield can contribute to neutralize further military advancement in Ukraine.


As Ukrainian cities defy superior Russian firepower, the optics prove that Zelensky has become the new strongman and Putin a man on the run in this unfolding drama.

For this reason I don’t believe that Putin will be in the presidential palace to run for re-election for the March 2024 national elections. The new (interim) Russian leadership will be pro-Russia but not anti-western and will establish normal diplomatic and commercial engagements while complying to international law.

© Copyright 2022 Cerulean Council LLC

The Cerulean Council is a NYC-based think-tank that provides prescient, beyond-the-horizon, contrarian perspectives and risk assessments on geopolitical dynamics and global urban security.

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