In the fall of 1632, on the battlefields of the then publicly dismembered Holy Roman Empire; one Gustavus Adolphus II, or the great as heâ€™s now known, was cut down, in the heat of what was surely not expected to be his last battle, at Lutzen. His death, which was publicly mourned in Sweden, and parts of Germany; capped off one of the most brilliant military campaigns to have ever been conceived of in all of Europe. Clausewitz; who gives a masterful summation of his exploits in his landmark treatise On War, marvels at the intestinal fortitude, daring, and sheer genius of the tiny nation of Sweden, and the amount of military power it was able to muster, considering the resources available at its disposal. He, Clausewitz, pays particular attention to the Swedish noble classes ability to produce quality military leaders and advisers, this in a country which ranks amongst the poorest per capita, and smallest by population in all of Europe. Why do I bring up the exploits of a Swedish folk hero, and the disastrous policies of the Holy Roman Emperor? An order to give you a better understanding of Russian military doctrine in the modern day, particularly under Vladimir Putin.
Today, the consequences of a war in Europe, would be enormous especially considering the fact that a major war has not occurred in Europe since World War II. To this end Putin desires to be in the most advantageous position possible if one does finally break out. What Putin desires is a coup d’grace in Eastern Europe, and the Occidental which will irrevocably change the Hyper Power status of the United States, and usher the newly formed Russian Czarist federation into a new era of Realpolitiks. And with it firmly taking the stage once again; as a respected and feared Greatpower. This may all sound complicated, and yet still plausible— let me explain.
The Occidental of Eastern Europe is the gateway into all of Central Europe. And though yes, there are highways and bi-ways which were used by the Germans in World War II, and for centuries prior, mainly on the continental shelf. The real super highway into Central Europe, is through the Nordic States. In his campaigns, Gustavus Adolphus, first solidifies his place in Sweden, while pacifying threats which emanate from Finland, and Norway, but originate in Poland, and Lithuania. He then concentrates on defeating Poland, and Lithuania by using those very same highways which were mentioned earlier. After this Russia is able to come up “over the top” of Northeastern Germany, cutting a swath(with the help of his lieutenants and vassals) through the Rhine land of Germany, completely eviscerating the German Empire in Central and Eastern Europe. His plans called for at least the partial dismantlement of the entire German rikstag, cum magna. It is said though that his genius lied not in swift and punctuated maneuvers. But in his ability to simply out supply, out train, and eventually outlast the enemy.
Here is where Putin miscalculates. His persona nomina thus far, on the Eastern battlefields, as well as his incursions into the Middle East have relied on, and this is the genius of this term; Hybrid Warfare. He relies not on swift movement and punctuated periods of intense conflict alone, but on cunning, and resource building, and where necessary, resource acquisition(more on this later). HIs real miscalculation though is in the idea that American, and indeed Supreme Allied planning is not expecting him to simply orchestrate some pretext and then once the World is led to believe that we have invaded Russia, he simply feints one way while instead going another. This is seen in his use of artillery, and Intermediate Nuclear Forces in his Occidental holding of Kaliningrad, and elsewhere. He hopes to bait the United States and its allies in Europe into thinking that a hasty resolution to one matter, in this case Ukraine, or some other provocation is not expected. By thinking so, he then intends to perform some sort of breakout maneuver, coupled with low intensity conflict in Poland, and Lithuania. And then a period of mis-judgement or asymmetric warfare, which then turns into a general assault through Poland, and Lithuania. This in turns lead Russia to invade “over the top” into Finland, Sweden, and Norway. Which is exactly what Russia wanted all along, since they are then able to further legitimize and strengthen their hold on Kaliningrad, and provide an indefensible avenue into Germany and the rest of Central Europe.
The motive is clear: Putin seeks to unite Slavic tongues under one dominion, how long or why he desires the Slavonic Crown, is due to a strain of strident nationalism, with anti-semitic undertones to it recently developing in Russian Politics. The idea that Putin has thought about these things— the military stratagem; is unique only to me, that is to say, I have no evidence supporting it. But, by looking at the trials and travails in Sweden, immediately before Gustavus Adolphus II ascends to the Swedish throne, and his remarkable and ruthless disembowelment of the Polish, and Lithuanian Regency. As well as his undeniable, and irrevocable changes to the landscape of German politics. This lesson— Gustavus The Great; is one which Putin, and his General Staff undoubtedly heeds, and one which may merit further investigation by the United States and it’s Allies when thinking about Russian intentions in the region.