More constructive (though perhaps better-worded and thought-out) critiques of the special operation from patriotic members of Russian society will inevitably follow Dugin's alleged one due to the campaign's dynamics shifting from offensive to defensive for Moscow. It's thus natural that public figures will feel compelled to share their well-intended suggestions for most effectively defending their beloved country, which the Mainstream Media will subsequently spin for their own ends.
Russian philosopher, political scientist, and professor Alexander Dugin published a statement on Sunday in response to recent confusion about his alleged position towards President Putin. The US-led Western Mainstream Media (MSM) reported that one of his allegedly deleted Telegram messages included what they interpreted as a subtle death threat against the Russian leader while lamenting last week's partial pullback from the newly reunified region of Kherson.
This intellectual figure, who's been misportrayed by the MSM for years as "Putin's Brain" despite having never the President once, denied the claims made against him and reaffirmed his principled support for the Commander-in-Chief. In his words, "No one has turned their back on Putin, I and all Russian patriots support him unconditionally. Grief over the loss of Kherson is one thing; attitude towards the Commander-in-Chief is another. We are loyal to Putin and support the SMO and Russia to the end."
Dugin then proceeded to briefly explain that his primary concerns stem from his prediction that Russia will resort to tactical and then strategic nuclear weapons in defense of its territorial integrity per existing doctrine exactly as President Putin previously hinted could happen as an absolute last resort. His proposal for preempting that worst-case scenario is to "mobilize society spiritually and ideologically", which he believes will result in Russia emerging victorious without having to employ such weapons.
The last part of Dugin's statement adds further clarity to his constructive critiques of the special operation: "If we have any complaints to make, it is against the ruling elite, who are already running around and betraying the Supreme Leader, one by one. Only we - the Russian patriots and the Russian people - are loyal to [Putin and the People]." His concluding sentences very strongly suggest that there's a lot more intrigue among the upper echelons of society than most Russia supporters suspected.
Leaving that speculation aside since there's no way for an outside observer to know whether that's true solely from relying on OSINT, though adding that whatever could in the most dramatic case be going on behind the scenes almost certainly poses no threat to President Putin or the special operation, it's important to dwell on Dugin's primary point regarding patriotic critiques since they're expected to increase across the future if Russia engages in more partial pullbacks in newly reunified Novorossiya.
That can't be discounted either since it's unclear whether it can maintain the entire ~1000-kilometer-long Line of Control (LOC) or if other tactical tweaks are required in order to strengthen its overall position. Army General Surovikin only recently assumed command of the entire special operation and arguably inherited a very difficult situation that compelled him to make the tough decision to commence last week's partial pullback from Kherson Region in order to save civilians' and soldiers' lives.
The partial mobilization of experienced reservists has been completed, but they'll take time to retrain and deploy to the front, though the coming winter might provide a reprieve of sorts for Russian forces if it results in a lull in fighting along the LOC (or at least the most potentially vulnerable parts). Even in the event that a stalemate emerges, which is actually a scenario wherein Russia could still strategically win as explained in the preceding hyperlink, this outcome will probably prompt constructive critiques too.
The reason for this prediction is that the disconnect between official/unofficial messaging about the special operation's progress and the undeniable ground realities of the past two months since the partial pullbacks from Kharkov and Kherson Regions might understandably trigger such a reaction. That's not to suggest that folks were being deliberately misled, but just to point out that there clearly appear to have been some communication breakdowns and a serious lack of coordination.
Part of this is due to the constructive critique that can be made regarding how the diplomatic discretion that accompanied Russia's failed security guarantee negotiations with the West resulted in the special operation coming as such a surprise for all. Russia's messaging thus inadvertently didn't get off to a good start, which per complexity/chaos theory's precept related to initial conditions disproportionately influencing the outcome of complex processes, created a chain reaction of challenges ever since then.
In hindsight, Russia not only struggled to educate its audience at home and abroad about the reason why conventional military means were resorted to in Ukraine (which were to defend its national security red lines there after NATO clandestinely crossed them), but to update them all along the way too. The consequent communication breakdowns, serious lack of coordination, and wishful thinking among both authorities and influencers unintentionally combined to produce an inaccurate picture of the operation.
Reality hit Russia's supporters super hard in early September upon the partial pullback from Kharkov and then knocked them over the head once more last week when a similar but much more organized process played out in part of Kherson. The predictable reaction among those who sincerely love this newly restored world power and stand in full solidarity with its de facto leadership of the Global Revolutionary Movement was confusion, disappointment, and indignation.
Absent any on-the-ground reversals in the near future, which appear unlikely due to the difficulty in fortifying the lengthy LOC in order to prevent similar such setbacks from reoccurring with potentially much more strategically devastating consequences, more constructive critiques are expected. Dugin's alleged one was amplified and dramatized the most by the MSM, but that (if he even wrote what was claimed) and his clarifying statement will certainly be far from the last such constructive critiques.
With this in mind, it makes sense why the MSM would seek to manipulate this trend from the get-go in order to disproportionately influence its trajectory per the preciously cited precept of complexity/chaos theory. In simple terms, they have a self-interested stake in spinning constructive critiques as synonymous with supposed hopelessness over the special operation's future prospects and misportraying those who share such well-intended sentiments as treasonous threats to Russia.
The intended outcome is three-fold: 1) pressure influential figures against sharing related views out of fear that they'll be weaponized by their New Cold War foes; 2) thereby preventing domestic coverage of the Ukrainian Conflict from being corrected (not to mention constructive proposals being publicly shared for improving the campaign) and thus exacerbating cognitive dissonance for the purpose of destabilizing society; 3) or failing that, provoke an overreaction from the security services.
About the last-mentioned outcome, framing well-intended (though perhaps poorly worded and ill-thought-out in the chance that Dugin really did post what was alleged) constructive critiques as treasonous threats to Russia could prompt some security officials to pressure those making them. Equally well-intended members of the security services might prematurely take informal action due to the influence that artificially manufactured perceptions could have on their decision-making.
To be absolutely clear, it's extremely unlikely that any of the highly disciplined members of Russia's world-class security services would unilaterally take any informal action regardless of how convinced they might be of the need to do so, but that doesn't mean that the West still won't try to tempt some of them. The common denominator connected to their media proxies' hoped-for outcomes is that they all represent an escalation of the information warfare dimension of the West's Hybrid War on Russia.
In conclusion, more constructive (though perhaps better-worded and thought-out) critiques of the special operation from patriotic members of Russian society will inevitably follow Dugin's alleged one due to the campaign's dynamics shifting from offensive to defensive for Moscow. It's thus natural that public figures will feel compelled to share their well-intended suggestions for most effectively defending their beloved country, which the MSM will subsequently spin for their own ends.