I’m becoming more and more convinced that that has happened was something like this:
- Putin are being told by MoD’s Shoigu (who is a bureaucrat out of his depth) that the professional portion of the Russian Army is enough for achieving the goals of SMO.
- In fact, there was a grave miscalculation in how much the West will push Ukraine to fight, as well as how combat-effective are Russian troops rally are.
- The “whirlwind of furious attacks” had an initial success in quickly covering very large territories of Ukraine. It has also resulted in (relatively) large casualties and Russian soldiers taken prisoners of war by Ukraine.
- The moral of the soldiers has crashed down as a result of commanders’ incompetence, death of comrades and the ISIS/Nazi-like treatment of the Russian prisoners by Ukrainians.
- The professional, i.e. contract soldiers started to exit the military after their contracts have expired or even before that. The National Guard had a similar situation.
- Since Putin was adamant to have as little popular resistance to this war, he decided not to declare war, or emergency situation. Which means there isn’t much the government could do to stop the flight of the contract soldiers from the service.
- This problem was attempted to be solved by voluntary mobilization, as well as heavy use of militias and the Wagner Group.
- But since the offensive has not only stopped but large portion of territories there abandoned at the end of the “first phase”, Ukrainian side was given enough time and space to mobilize, and the West — to supply the newly created units. Which only aggravated the number disparity of the sides.
- The effort was made by Russia to raise new territorial units all over the country, to prepare a new force which will allow for retaking the initiative on the battleground. Better payments and benefits, raising of the age limits, all efforts to fill the ranks. Meanwhile, Ukrainians managed to frow new forces into the war.
- At some point, the MoD and the Kremlin realized the situation is getting out of control. Their initial plans have failed spectacularly, but not being able to confess it to the public, they continued with “everything is going according to the plan” lie.
- Having no other choice, the decision was made to abandon the Kharkov region, in order to hold the defences on other fronts. The holes on Kherson front were plugged by paratroopers, who are holding the positional defence for many weeks now — the best sign of military planning going all wrong. This resulted in a spectacular debacle. There was a try so spin it as “successful regrouping”, but people (like me), who until then were oblivious to the fact that Russia has hardly any front-line troops left, have seen the light. The abandonment of the Kharkov population had even worse effect — now even the legislators are pushing for the change in legal status of the SMO to prevent Kremlin from abandoning this war and its previously stated goals.
- In order to show “leadership” and “determination”, Kremlin couldn’t accept the legislators’ proposals and upgrading the legal status of the SMO (e.g. declaring a state of emergency), which would allow to mobilize the contract soldiers who left the military during or shortly before the war have started.
- Instead, the announced partial mobilization had many people in Russia panic. After Putin broke his promise to make do without mobilization, and the constant “everything is going according to the plan”, they now fear their teenage sons and daughters would end up in Ukraine. A totally irrational thinking based on parental emotions. But the point stands — people are losing whatever trust they had in Putin and SMO, and starting to panic, leading to irrational decisions and actions.
The Government doesn’t trust the people with the truth, so it lies and spins and make excuses. That causes the people to lose faith in the government. And the spiral continues.
This is the sorry state of affairs right now, and the reasons for it. Regarding the actual effects on the war, the mobilization would surely help the Russian military efforts. It would take some time, probably some months, before it will materialize effectively on the battlefields.
Meanwhile, some changes for the good are seen here and there. I have previously mentioned the rumors about the changes in Russian military command personnel. Now we have news about top managers of Russian MIC being arrested for fraud (i.e. usual corruption in high places), which, probably happened only because the war itself. Even if Putin would continue to ignore the corruption in his government, the war will expose failures which otherwise could have been covered up. Eventually, Russian military will adapt and dispose of some of the most corrupt and incompetent commanders and officials. Same true for the Russian military industrial complex. It will provide a strong push for modernization of the armed forces, especially the ground troops. I only hope it would happen sooner than later, so this war could finally end.
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