War in Ukraine: what is the state of the Russian army after eight months of fighting?
09:54, 23 Sep 2022
300,000. That figure was announced Wednesday by Vladimir Putin, who plans to recruit additional soldiers into the Russian army to help his troops defeat Ukraine’s ground forces. Since that announcement, 10,000 reservists have volunteered for the Army within 24 hours. Multiple media outlets ensure that many of them were in fact forcibly recruited without a subpoena.
A poorly prepared army
In any case, the Russian army welcomes this help from soldiers. But overall, this army feels like a kind of whole that doesn’t work at all. We are dealing with a few professionals who are very good in their field, surrounded by thousands of poorly educated men, with problematic Soviet-era leadership.
For example, in the Russian army there are very few non-commissioned officers, which means that in Ukraine the officers are on the front line. They are killed there and the resulting loss of ability is dramatic over the length. The Russian organization is based on tactical battalions combining artillery, infantry and anti-aircraft, which requires highly competent leaders.
A weakness revealed by the length of the fighting in Ukraine. This hasty compilation of military units actually looks DIY. In the Russian army, the practice of dedovshchina – a very violent form of harassment – is particularly widespread. This practice drives out the best mobilizable soldiers.
Obsolete military equipment
Materially, too, Russia is not in the best shape, and that is one of the revelations of this conflict. The Russian army has remained very Soviet, despite the massive investments that have been touted in recent years. The newest tank, for example the T-14, was only produced in about twenty copies. The factories that are supposed to produce them are at a standstill because of a lack of electronic components.
The same applies to modern missiles. There are so few of them that the Russians released the declassified devices fifteen years ago. The Russian army therefore deploys tanks, troop carriers, cannons by the thousands, but this ancient equipment is very vulnerable and, above all, corresponds to a time when generals could sacrifice machines and men without counting, which is no longer possible today.
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