Russia’s Soldiers Sabotaging the Russian Army

And getting huge payouts for doing so

B Kean


Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

Russian troops in Ukraine get paid $50,000, in rubles, if they get wounded in the war.

The promise of such a payday is a gaping hole and one that will lead to countless instances of fraud. All it takes is one perfectly placed bullet for minimizing damage, and Private Sergey Ivanov is on his way back home with a big, and guaranteed payout — surely after tons of paperwork and much later — but a payout nonetheless.

It is Russia’s love for chess that will ultimately bring down the Russian army. Few people in the world play the ancient game as well as they do. Having lived there for nearly 30 years, I left when the war started, I had the pleasure to watch and even play a lot of chess.

I recall how an Australian friend of mine, who was a very strong player, sat to play a Russian guy who said he wasn’t very good. Before they started, the Russian kid smoked a hand-rolled cigarette laced with a lot of hash. He could barely keep his eyes open and crushed my Australian friend in 11 moves.

“I never saw such a strategy like that before,” was all he kept saying.

Russians are probably the best in the world at dissecting defenses. They use the positive creative energy of their opponent against them and that gives rise to something called “smekalka,” which I translate as “negative creativity.”

We in the West don’t understand “smekalka” and that is why relations between us and Russia are the way they are.

Promos from hell

The first time I launched a sales promo in St. Petersburg, Russia, was in 1995. I was the CEO of an American-Soviet joint-venture making premium ice cream. I came up with a great promo idea and pushed the team to launch it — I wouldn’t hear their negative-Nelly stuff as they tried to stop me and commanded that they just do it.

The 2000 cups of free ice cream I had earmarked for the promo were supposed to stimulate sales of 20,000 cups. Four hours after the promo started, the free ice cream was gone. Imagine my shock when I found that we had only sold 1764 cups of ice cream!



B Kean

The past holds the answers to today’s problems. “Be curious, not judgmental,” at least until you have all the facts. Think and stop watching cable news.