Until the recent setbacks in Ukraine and particularly the fall of Lyman, the dominant tone of Russia's information policy was set by Vladimir Putin, who assured his countrymen that everything was going according to plan. The following analysis by military expert Vsyevolod Melnikov concedes things didn't go according to plan literally from day one. Melnikov warns Russian society to steel itself for further setbacks and difficult scenes of Russian surrenders and Ukrainian breakthroughs.
Society must be patient until the various factors that will turn the tide in Russia's favor manifest themselves. Furthermore, Russian society cannot leave everything to the government and expect results. Instead, they should take a cue from Ukraine, where society is fully mobilized and even school children are involved in sewing nets for Ukrainian armor.
Melnikov's exhortation to Russian society follows below:
Ukrainian armor prepared for final assault on Lyman (Source: Eadaily.com)
The [Russo-Ukrainian] war is very challenging. It's the most difficult war for modern Russia. There has never been a war of such a magnitude.
Things didn't go according to plan literally from day one. Expecting the ZSU to lay down their arms, our troops busted into Kharkiv in columns. There we lost many... We couldn't take the enemy in one swoop, we had to regroup. This was the first serious blow to Russian society – the first but not the last.
There were spiritually uplifting moments when the 'Azovstal' plant fell [in Mariopul], when we took the cities of Lysychansk and Severodonetsk. But the [counter] punches didn't keep us waiting long either.
The retreat from Krasniy Lyman came as a final blow. It hit us the hardest, even the so-called 'turbo-patriots' lost heart. Many lost faith in our army. They stopped believing in victory. People became convinced that the Ukrainian Armed Forces [hereafter – the ZSU] would reach as far as Luhansk.
Things are very bad in Russian society, and the enemy takes advantage of this, making the situation worse.
What 's Going On?
With each month, the offensive's pace was getting slower and slower .And it stopped almost completely after the troops reached the cities of Bakhmut and Seversk.
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Under 'almost' I mean an incredibly slow Wagner PMC offensive at Bakhmut direction and attempts to do something about the settlement of Avdeevka. There were no other offensives anywhere else.
It would seem, perhaps, that this signified a rotation and preparation for defense. But there were no preparations for defense, for instance at the Kharkiv direction the troops seemingly just disappeared. As far as we know, the engineering equipment designed to erect fortifications was noticed at the front only after the Liman experience.
Clearly, there is a concrete name and a surname behind every guilt, [in this case it's] more than one. Obviously, the troops for some reason lacked the strength to go somewhat further. There are loads of problems, and, I'm sure, people are trying to solve them.
All this is frustrating to Russian society. Also, the mobilization is not going according to plan. Many are very disappointed, but I implore you to wait.
We Have To Wait Patiently
We'll have to endure further [bad] news. The ZSU won't stop, they will break through somewhere.
Prepare yourselves morally for the surrender of Ukrainian settlements, including cities, for new videos with Russian POWs, for horrible news. Get ready, and most importantly, don't fall into apathy.
The enemy wants us to definitively lose heart, so that we have no reason to rejoice. Endure these blows, endure and don't roll over. You'll have to put up with all this for another month or even two.
But, besides patience, there is also expectation. Expectation for things to change in our direction. And Everything will change, for sure. Let me explain my optimism.
First of all, the new territories have officially become part of Russia. And I'm convinced that our main General Staff will do everything to liberate them. This will be done absolutely, at any cost.
Second, videos with echelons of equipment, some even transporting modern equipment, suddenly emerged. All of these echelons were heading towards Ukraine, which gives cause for optimism.
Third, mobilization. True, it didn't go as well, as it should've: the Supreme Commander-in-Chief [i.e., Putin] even had to intervene. In the end there is a stream of constant news that the wrongly conscripted people have been returned home, while some regions have almost finished mobilization, which also inspires optimism.
Fourth, an increase in the Wagner PMC numbers. [Conscripted] Prisoners are, certainly, not the best addition to servicemen, I can turn a blind eye to the prisoners, provided the Wagner PMC is as effective, as it was.
Fifth, there is a clear loss of interest in the Russo-Ukrainian conflict on part of the West. Yes, they will continue to supply money and arms, but the interest is fading. The Western world is tired; Ukraine is like a weight pressing on their chest that doesn't allow them to breathe. This will soon have an effect.
Sixth, winter is coming. Well, everything is clear here, 'General Frost' [i.e., the coming winter] and the cold asses of Europeans will come into play. On top of that, in Ukraine most likely there will be no heating.
Seventh, we finally began attacking infrastructure targets. And there is a likelihood that this won't stop, but will become a regular occurrence. If Ukraine is deprived of electricity, that will already constitute half a victory.
Thus, I urge you not to give up, and help the front with money and deeds.
Gather funds to buy winter clothes, thermal visors, quadcopters. Look for ways to help, and most importantly, don't give up and don't be discouraged.
We have difficult days ahead of us, the fate of the country is in our hands, don't let things drift, don't believe the thoughts, the government will sort it out itself.. We together are the rear, and we must do everything we can.
Did you know that children in Ukrainian schools sew netting for armored vehicles? They literally help the entire country with money and deeds, why can't we do the same? Stop being embarrassed to demonstrate your stance; stop being embarrassed to openly proclaim that you're helping the front.
Let's do our best, withstand the blows, wait a little longer and rejoice in victory together.
 Topwar.ru, October 6, 2022.