No one´s forcing you to buy it. You only get a coin, skins and cases. You can still play the operation missions if you like (you just won´t get any stars/guaranteed drops).
As for me, I´m fine with paying for the operation and it has quite a lot more new content than previous operations - so comparing this one with the price of the older ones also doesn't make a lot of sense. Besides, since you´ll get a lot of drops from doing the missions, selling those cases/skins will probably get some of the money back if you wish.