Well, mostly as I had been expecting.. Very one sided. And the other side is very misrepresented
First of all a little background/disclaimer: I vastly suffered from the war, as I didn't believe it would happen. One of my main arguments was that there needs to be roughly 1m standing army to swiftly take Ukraine, and Russia had some 150k ready for deployment.
I correctly assessed the rotation of money from Tech(growth) to value, but the top value I've seen - was Russia.. I still possess my stocks, as I'm a Russian resident.. But in October my main account was worth 280m rub(it's 4m USD), now it's worth is 26m rub. Lowest point was 14m. I was leveraged in illiquid already underpriced assets when the market collapsed 50% in national currency in a day. It is unprecedented in Russia, US or wherever.. Not sure if there was a kind of this shit during great depression, but then it was fucking gold standard.
I also have some loans.. Though some cash outside of this as well, bitcoin has truly helped me. Oh well, I'm bombed years back. I really made a fortune after COVID, and it's not likely I'll repeat it any time soon.
And loss of life en masse IS a terrible thing, but certainly I'm more touched by personal material ruin. Especially since my son was born on 24.03(exactly one month after, the day the stock market reopened), and well.. I'm no longer rich.
Now to the point of the war. Only true reason to justify the war, could be certainty of its inevitability, that is - Ukraine attacking, if Russia not doing it. And although we have no way to figure this out, such a claim does sound rather fairly legit to me.
Long story short - there was a coup in Ukraine, the western provinces of Ukraine liked it, the eastern didn't. The coup wasn't without US participation(you can openly read about it on the English wiki), then Russia just grabbed 90% Russian populated Crimea, but didn't dare to do the same with DOnbass where the war is now raging, the separatist Donetsk & Luhansk. Yeah, they became so eager to war not without Russian help, but nevertheless.. They don't wanna be part of Ukraine, and Ukraine doesn't respect the will of the people.
In 2014 or 2015, there was the Minsk agreement, where these two regions were promised autonomy by Ukraine, with participation of France & Germany. The autonomy was never implemented, however the countries who were part of the agreement were openly supporting Ukraine's military buildup. As we can now see - they did so rather effectively.
So instead of following the signed agreement, to which Ukraine, France, Germany & Russia were a part of, Ukraine & the west were openly ignoring it, while arming Ukraine. The west was certain Russia would swallow it. Odds are, at some point in time Ukraine would move on with an attack on Donbass(the separatist regions). Perhaps not this year, most likely after Putin would be gone, during some political turmoil in Russia. In case of success - Crimea would be next. And a nuclear umbrella is only good if there's a leader with the will to hit the button.
And the people of both areas are pretty much Russians. Most were born in the USSR, speak Russian.. And suddenly find themself in a west looking Ukraine banning Russian books.
I tried as hard as I can to be unbiased(although my position is obvious, but it only makes the whole thread neutral), not touching the nazi topic, but then.. A bit I must. Read this. Just the title will do. Example of the depth of bias of western propaganda. So the Azov changes its neo nazi symbol because of evil Russian propaganda. Not a word about the fact they're actually Nazi. Or, how did they get to be using this symbol in the first place?! Nah, evil Russian propaganda. Besides they changed the symbol now, so they're good guys.
It's just an example of how badly the story is biased against Russia. And it has been this way all the way since 2014.. Democracy is representation for all people. So the coup in western Ukraine is legal(although illegal in accordance with the constitution of Ukraine, you can also read on the wiki page why), but it's technical little details, when the change is "pro western" and "anti Russian", but then when the east wants to separate - it's illegal.
Now about the operation itself. It's certain Russia was hoping Ukraine would surrender quickly, they failed to take Kyiv, because Ukraine chose to fight. They'd succeed in 2014, but then western sanctions would crush Russia.. Now there's gonna be a mild recession, and a record USD value of exported goods in 2022 despite the sanctions. Good timing for Russia economically.
It's awful, what happened in Bucha - I'm certain Ukraine staged SOME of it, as they're literally getting billions thanks to the show. I'm certain there are war crimes committed by both sides, most likely more by the Russian, as the war is raging on UA soil.
It's disgusting how the west was discussing UA victories, & how much land was liberated: Russian forces failed to take Kyiv, it became evident taking a large city will only be possible if its razed to the ground, which is I HOPE unacceptable, but also there's not enough resources to do so, unless Russia mobilizes for war. & well, it's peace here in Russia. You no longer have Ikea, but iPhones became cheaper because of stronger Ruble. 13 Pro Max was 110k+ RUB before the story, now it's about 80k. Inflation is raging nevertheless, you don't eat iPhones for breakfast. Also air travel is being destroyed, flights are much more expensive now.
Back to UA victories: after Kyiv offensive had failed, it was obvious for me Russia would retreat from there, I was discussing it with a friend perhaps a week before it had happened. Now what I was truly scared for, was Russian forces being surrounded there. It'd be a major victory for Ukraine, and I'm unsure if it was an unrealistic scenario. I was really afraid it might happen, though I was hoping the air force would prevent it from happening, I guess it did. And the lands? Quickly taken, quickly given up.
Who'll "win"? Well, certainly the US. Everyone else loses, including China.. At least economically. They buy Russian stuff at discount, but other energy imports became more expensive.. Well, also countries like Australia, Arabs, and all commodity exporters win. Except for Russia.
Who'll win the war? So far, I'm certain Russia has the advantage. Yet certainly, given the difference in the size of Russian army/economy, and NATO - it's about the will of western powers to provide UA with weapons. I'm certain it's bullshit Russian army outnumbers that of UA: a while back there were numbers UA conscripts(have you guys in Europe seen many young males in exile in Europe? No? Well, they can't leave, unless they bribe someone). And being in total war- I've little doubt the UA can have millions strong standing army, given its supplied by the west.
However: there's no endgame in Russian defeat. I mean before it happens, there's likely a nuclear ultimatum to stop supplying arms to Ukraine. Or rather conventional strikes against Poland, with tactical nukes in case of conventional strikes against Russian soil, and the apocalypse in case of tactical nukes against Russia.
And we're not talking about fair, we're talking about "what's next". And Putin might actually find support for this in Russia, if he makes it he's fighting America, and not Ukraine. And well, he's partially right.
So what we need is peace legalized by the UN. How do we get there? Donbass(all of it), and Crimea- minimum. I'm quite sure Herson too. If western supply effort doesn't increase dramatically - probably more than this. If it does - we get bad risks.
What's the western play here? Well, U.S. can surely war until the last Ukrainian standing. Russians killing Russians is fun. It's almost as if U.S. was warring Canada during the cold war. Now the legitimate thesis is to levy such a cost on Russia it doesn't dare do it again. It worked in 2014 - Russian involvement was minimal, but it let the current war happen, in 2014 it'd be almost bloodless compared to this shit. But sanctions would be destroying Russian econ, and causing unrest.
What do these costs bring Russia to? They make it develop stuff like this and make every Russian live worse, blaming the U.S. for it. I mean, if it wasn't for the U.S, Russia would do what it wants almost without blood, and there would be peace. It wouldn't be fair in the eyes of an average Ukrainian(unless he was brainwashed with propaganda at least), but the standard of living of ALL parties involved would be higher.
Now my line of thoughts jumps. What will we have unless the west doesn't DRAMATICALLY increase weapon supplies? Russia wins. Might take a year, or two. Yup. But the logistics and artillery advantage will do its job. What happens if the west actually gives Ukraine what it takes to win, ignoring Russia? We get risks you don't price in the stock market. And given it's direct risks to lives of the western decision makers - I see little chance for this to happen. So the play for the west is to make it expensive for Russia, but letting Putin save his face. While saving their own.