Russia’s Military Sucking So Badly Because of Corruption Enabled By Lack of Competition and Free Speech

Russia’s Military Sucking So Badly Because of Corruption Enabled By Lack of Competition and Free Speech. Notes by Lawrence Person.

We all thought Russia had the military muscle to be able to take over Ukraine in a matter of days. However, the real way to test a country’s military power is not in a parade but a war. And with the invasion of Ukraine we are seeing something that has become the norm in the Russian economy. Something like an Expectation vs Reality meme. …

After a month of the Ukraine invasion, we can say it clearly: Russian armament falls far behind the expectations and hype they had created. … 60% failure rate for some Russian missiles …

Modernization of the armed forces was supposedly a priority for Putin, with up to 5% of GDP spent on defense. Russia should theoretically have military equipment better than anyone but the U.S. …

The reason they failed was the old alluring but wrong notion that socialists always fall for:

Having one big company eliminates duplication, which is therefore more efficient and produces more.

The big company used to be government owned (Soviet era), but now is private (Putin’s Russia). In any case, history has shown this to be wrong, over and over again. For example, Soviet cars versus western cars.


It is better to have competing companies. Yes, there will waste due to duplicating some functions. But the benefits of striving due to competition more than outweigh the duplication, which in any case makes the industry more resilient. Also, competitive companies are much more responsive to feedback, which comes thick and fast when free speech is allowed.

Russia created a gigantic defense company, Rostec.

By acquiring more and more companies, Rostec has ended up consolidating even more monopolies. For example: fighter jets. The United States works with four major manufacturers: Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon and Airbus (Yes, Airbus is European but it also has contracts with Washington). In the case of Russia, practically all fighter jets are manufactured by the same company: UAC which, of course, is under the umbrella of Rostec. …

And of course, in Putin’s Russia, the companies that mattered were owned or run by Putin’s mates.

Russia hasn’t achieved air supremacy because Russia doesn’t have enough precious munitions for it’s planes to use, which is why they do stupid things like hit hospitals with dumb bombs and fly low enough to be shot down. Russia’s best planes are dropping like flies because they don’t have adequate ammunition.

Are you really saying that the Russians are stupid and have gone to war without ammunition? Well, no: the problem is not that the Russians are stupid. The problem is that a political system with bad incentives generates nothing but failure.

Poor Putin. On paper, before the invasion, he had a large modern army bristling with technical gizmos. Two months later he finds most of it does not work, he was lied to by corrupt spies and industrialists, there was not nearly enough smart ammunition, and he has the same old Russian army of conscripts and dumb artillery barrages.

Let go the socialist idea that so appeals to the lazy. Embrace competition.