Russia: Cornered And Coerced

Russia: Cornered And Coerced. By Jim Dunnigan.

Russia claims its economy is doing well. Foreign economists studying the matter come to a different conclusion. It is believed that Russian GDP will shrink more than fifteen percent in 2022.

It’s worse in Ukraine, where deliberate Russian attacks on economic targets are causing long-term economic damage. In Russian-occupied Ukraine there is no effort to repair economic damage and useful economic assets are shipped back to Russia. This is the ancient strategy of “creating a desert and calling it peace”.

Russian attempts to mobilize its economy for wartime production continue despite senior government economic officials pointing out that Western sanctions emphasize crippling weapons production. Putin insists Russia will find a solution, as it did during World War II. This assessment ignores how Russia lost the Cold War when its empire literally fell apart because of economic mismanagement while its World War II victory was due in large part to essential Western economic and military aid. …

Tactics and preparation:

The Ukrainians [are] winning because they [have] superior planning, tactics, equipment, morale, information war capabilities, intel and logistics. …

Since 2014 Ukraine has had support from NATO countries, including military observers, advisers and technical specialists. Between Donbas and Syria, much was learned about what Russian equipment could and could not do in a combat situation. …

As the fighting continued the Ukrainian adapted to change far more quickly than the Russians, who had suffered very heavy losses, not just from being on the attack against a superior defender, but because of desertion, refusal to fight and acute shortage of replacements and new recruits.

Equipment:

After 2014 Ukraine kept its military equipment in better shape than the Russians. … Much of its military equipment was similar to what the Russians had. The difference was that Ukraine maintained the equipment and kept track of its status accurately. …

Since 2014 Ukraine received more and more Western weapons and equipment and deliveries accelerated in the months before the Russians invaded …

The disparity in equipment quality and quantity widened as the war went on. This is a major embarrassment for Russia, which has not fired senior officials responsible, like the Minister of Defense, because that would draw attention to the poor pre-war preparations. Unlike Ukraine, Russia has few foreign sources of new equipment. One exception is Iran, which has provided UAVs in a trade deal that involved Iranian access to modern Russian warplanes. …

Morale:

Russian political and military leaders seem surprised at the extent to which Russian soldiers are refusing to fight in Ukraine. …

While Russian leaders earlier made much of reforming the military and upgrading its equipment, they ignored fundamentals like willingness to fight. In modern war the infantry is a minority (10 to 25 percent of troops) but takes over 80 percent of the casualties and are essential in any war or battle. …

After more than a century of lies, deceit, poor leadership and heavy losses, the young Russian men headed for the infantry, as well as their families, are refusing to be killed in another unnecessary war in Ukraine. Defending Russia is another matter, but Putin’s attempt to call the invasion an internal problem with a wayward region, did not work. …

Desperate measures were required and the Russian government has employed most of them. They lowered the standards for conscripts and volunteers, encouraging unfit Russians to join. That did not work out well. Russia loosened the qualifications for volunteers, allowing men up to 60 years old to join. …

Manpower shortages remain a major problem for the Russians. Their many improvisations have not solved the problem while contributing to continued high casualties because Russia has been sending anyone willing to serve in Ukraine, even if such volunteers are too old, unstable or inexperienced to be of any use. For experienced Russian troops, low-quality replacements like this are worse than no replacements at all. So far, nothing Russia has tried has generated enough additional troops to increase their troop numbers inside Ukraine.

Currently Ukraine has about twice as many troops available but cannot fully use that advantage because most of them have little formal training. NATO nations help with this by establishing training centers in NATO countries bordering Ukraine. This is in addition to training programs inside Ukraine. Despite these efforts, it will be six months or more before most of the recent volunteers get their basic military training.

Recent polls show most Ukrainians expect to throw the Russians completely out of their territory — including Crimea.

This war has been a disaster for Russia. This sort of aggressive military behavior is just not acceptable anymore, and in our new world of missile dominance the rest of the world can do something about it without getting directly involved.

1,000 stings from a bee:

Most wars are like tides. First, most of the attacking and momentum is with one side, then the tide shifts and the other side comes to dominate. WWII obviously followed that pattern, for instance, with early 1942 being the turning point.

Russians have now mostly exhausted their attacking capability, and are going over to the defensive. Ukraine is now going to try to throw the Russians out.