Why has the Russian military performed worse than expected?
The Hundred #6: April 26, 2022
In The Hundred #6, three world-class analysts of the Russian military explain why it performed worse than expected in Ukraine. Between them, they have decades of experience in research and policy-making.
“5 primary reasons: the Russian military has greater weaknesses than I expected, the political objectives of this war were unrealistic and difficult to attain through military force, Russia adopted a very poor war plan that worsened its military’s weaknesses and didn’t play into its strengths, Ukraine is a large country with a very capable military, and Russia’s leadership decided to not inform its soldiers ahead of time they were going to war, which exacerbated nearly every problem the Russian military is facing in Ukraine. Russia’s military was set up for failure.”
“Looking specifically at Russia, four factors are most responsible for poor performance. First, launching the war as a regime change operation, assuming quick victory and Ukrainian surrender, rather than planning and organizing for a large war. Second, disclosing orders to troops at the last minute, leaving them materially and psychologically unprepared, and outright misleading them about the nature of the conflict. Third, employing a military not designed to sustain this kind of war at peace-time manning levels, without mobilization. Lastly, the post-Soviet Russian military has not attempted something of this scope, and in most ways couldn’t execute at this scale.”
“This operation is struggling because those who planned it are stuck at the intersection of Russian imperial hubris and soviet-style secrecy. The Russians underestimated their opponents’ will and capability to resist, just as they underestimated the Ukrainians’ ability to assimilate western support. The Russian military seems to have planned this war in a small secretive group and appears not to have informed many of its soldiers until the last moment. Nor did it use the time in the months before the war to adequately train them for their upcoming tasks.”
That’s it for The Hundred #6. Please share this post with friends and colleagues if you found it interesting. If you want to learn more about this topic, here’s a list of further reading.