Why is Russian army so weak? That's by design.
When Russia invaded, experts thought it would win in 24-72 hours. How come? On paper Russian superiority's overwhelming. Although Russia projects warlike image, its military is really weak and doesn't know how to fight wars.
Notwithstanding with its warlike image, boosted by massive PR campaign, Russian military have nearly zero experience of fighting conventional wars against other regular armies. They were quite successful in suppressing civilian riots ofc, in Hungary 1956, Czechoslovakia 1968, etc
Russians were less successful in suppressing guerrilla movements in Afghanistan and Chechnya. Guerillas didn't much heavy weaponry, didn't have proper air defence. And yet, Russians suffered high casualties and lost the First Chechen War, despite overwhelming material superiority
Since WWII Russia never fought a conventional war against a regular army. The only exception was Georgia 2008. Russia invaded to support separatist movements in Abkhazia and South Ossetia and defeated tiny Georgian army. That was the closest Russia had to a real war in last 70 years.
Individual Russian military specialists fought in Korea, Vietnam, Angola etc. But army as a whole did not. Russian military machine, from recruitment to logistics, hasn't been checked in a war against a large regular army since 1945. That's the first experiment we're having now.
Since 1945 Russian army fought against enemies neither of which had a regular army of its own. Enemies of Russia had no structure, little training, tiny firepower. To compensate this, Russia heavily invests in propaganda glorifying its military. But what do they really look like?
December 2021. Thieves-in-law imposed tribute on a Russian military base, making NCOs & officers to pay them cash. They specifically target veterans of Syria who earned cash there. They harass, threaten, beat them. Leader of the gang was arrested but released in several months.
That's not an exception. That's a rule. Russian military is constantly harassed by thieves and forced to pay money. Just four random headlines on how thieves force literally any military including the ones managing the nuclear rockets to pay them tribute. Russian army is a prey.
Let's introduce some sociological context. Russian thieves traditionally portray themselves as the counterculture, the rebels. We don't care about the official law (Law of Cops), we follow only the Law of Thieves. We constitute a parallel state much superior to the official one.
Thieves dominate in prisons. Their propaganda is working so well, that many naive prisoners really view thieves as rebels. But then they start doubting the narrative. They wonder, what if thieves play rebels but in reality are actively collaborating with prison administration?
If prisoners refuse to work and try to sabotage the production, thieves will plead, persuade, threaten and then physically force them to resume their work. Thieves may develop very long and complicated argumentation, but with only one imperative - production goals must be met.
That's well reflected in culture. Consider, Беспредел - a great movie on how Russian institutional culture (shaped by prison culture) works in reality (Youtube: "А мы не работаем! хф Беспредел, 1989, фрагмент
"). A prisoner refuses to work and tells administration. They inform the thieves and that's what happens.
And only much later prisoners realise: thieves are not a parallel state. They're just another branch of the same state machine. They're controlled opposition which actively cooperates with authorities, do whatever state commands and never ever cross the line, or they're doomed.
Thieves racketeering the military, including Syria veterans, nuke personnel is not an "accident". It's a deliberate government policy to keep professional military low in dominance hierarchy. Russian state purposefully keeps its military in this position. It's all part of a plan.
If you want, you can dig further into how harassed, how abused and how low in hierarchy the Russian military are. Of course the lowest position ever is taken by conscripts. There are many publications on how conscripts were forced into gay prostitution to earn cash for higher ups.
Ok, that's all part of a plan. But why would they develop such a plan? Well, higher-ups are afraid of the army. Russian thieves play rebels, being a part of state apparatus. The same way Russia plays a military regime being in fact a state security regime.
That's Putin celebrating the Day of State Security Worker. Indeed, the domination of State Security \"the new nobility\" over all other institutions is a particular feature of Putin's regime. Which hadn't been the case in USSR. State security rule is the major innovation of Putin.
State security are *not* the military. That's another institution which has very uneasy relations with soldiers. That's understandable. State security will easily suppress any civilian revolt and any guerilla. Thus the only inner force that could overthrow them would be the army.
You can read a more detailed account of relations between the Russian state and its army here. But for now I wanna stress, they're very concerned about the potential rivalry from the army and took every effort to prevent it. Thus they castrated the army.
One precaution is to do a cleansing after each military conflict. In peacetime, power of military generals is low. They're bounded by instructions, protocols, guidelines, are overwatched by state security and military prosecutors. But during the war this control nearly disappears.
The longer the war lasts, the less procedural and more personal military power becomes. Soon nobody cares about procedures. Everything is done by personal oral orders. Troops get used to unquestioning obedience to a general's word. So you have to do a cleaning up after each war.
State security fears potential rivalry from the army. So they introduced several mechanisms of control. One is to do a cleaning up after each war killing generals who got too influential among the troops. And leaving the less influential ones. That's a negative selection mechanism.
Kremlin actively promotes state security to the army positions. A typical monologue of a Russian professional military:
- [Long patriotic speech]
- Complaints on how he'll never get promoted, cuz all the positions are given to young state security with no military experience.
Third layer is extreme, unbelievable anti-illectualism among the military officers promoted by the state. If Prussian army was the most intellectual army in Europe, modern Russian is the least. Again, it's not an accident. It's a deliberate policy to minimise this internal threat.
Let's sum up. Kremlin is not maxing efficiency, it's minimising the threat. Recruit as low IQ officers as possible, give them very narrow training. If some officers are capable and rising quickly, kill them. Appoint as many state security to the army to make it more controllable.
To minimise the threat from the army, the ruling state security attacks the army mythos. Why would mafia even dare to racketeer military officers? Because they know in case of conflict the state will back the mafia. These guys stand much higher in Russian hierarchy than soldiers.
This explains all these strange phenomena such as thieves harassing the military bases, soldiers being forced into gay prostitution, etc. I don't think Putin personally ordered that (though he might). But he purposefully destroys the army mythos, to eliminate a rival for power.
Words cannot describe how low in dominance hierarchy the Russian army is. To get some idea, watch this video from a Russian official TV channel. An officer asks for a minute of silence for "our special operation boys dying there" and see what happens. Army has no respect at all.
If regime trained capable high morale infantry with intelligent officers, it'd constitute a mortal political threat. So it will maintain low morale incapable infantry with the dumbest officers possible and kill brighter ones. Artillery is way to fight *somehow* with these troops.
Russian regime pretends to be military. But it's not . Its thinking, language, methods are very state security. On Feb 24 Putin started a Special Operation in Ukraine and on Feb 27 congratulated Russian forces there with the annniversary of the "Day of Special Operation Forces".
Why Feb 27? What happened that day? On Feb 26, 2015 Putin ordered to establish a new holiday, the Day of Special Operation Forces. The first one will be tomorrow, Feb 27, 2015 - and then every year. Next day, Feb 27, 2015 oppositional leader Nemtsov was killed in view of Kremlin.
That's their mode of thinking. Killing Nemtsov is a special operation. Invasion of Ukraine is a special operation. Sounds dumb isn't it? Actually it makes sense. Russian regime is regime of cosplayers: state security agents who pretend to be soldiers and desire the military glory.
State security playing soldiers launched a Special Operation and accidentally got into a real war. They're scared. You see Shoygu is reporting to Putin "everything's going according to the plan". Watch Putin's body language. He knows it isn't. He doesn't trust the plan himself.
Initial Putin's assumptions were wrong. He launched invasion expecting no resistance. 5th Department of FSB which worked on Ukraine reported to Putin that Ukraine is just a cosplay and everyone switches to us the moment we come. Why? They told Putin whatever he wanted to hear.
At this point director of 5th department Sergey Beseda and his deputy are under house arrest. They are charged with embezzlement and "low quality intelligence data" he provided. Beseda hugely exaggerated pro-Russian sentiments and lied to Putin regarding the prospects of invasion.
Russian Federation is over. It's not gonna survive the war in Ukraine and certainly not gonna survive the defeat. However the political landscape of North Eurasia will look like after the war, new order will be built on completely different principles.
This post is based on a much longer original
by Kamil Galeev.