ISSN 2330-717X

Disobedience In Russian Army Likely To Increase If War In Ukraine Continues – OpEd


There have already been reports that individuals and units in the Russian military Vladimir Putin has sent into Ukraine are beginning to engage in disobedience, historian Boris Sokolov says. The longer the war goes on, the more likely they are to increase and become a threat to the Russian state.


According to Sokolov, “serious anti-war actions are characteristic of mass armies complected by a military draft. They occur when soldiers are uncertain about war goals or do not support those goals at all. Such actions also become more likely with military failures, more time in the field and poor military preparation of soldiers” (

Moreover, he points out, it is not uncommon that “under conditions of a military defeat, army protests will grow over into revolution and this will lead to a change in the political regime in their country” as happened in numerous countries, including Russia, during and at the end of World War I.

The Russian military Putin has sent to fight in Ukraine clearly has the potential to follow in the footsteps of its ancestors, Sokolov continues, “especially if the war drags on. And the Belarusian army may also be threatened with massive anti-war protests if Lukashenka dares to send it to fight the Ukrainians” alongside the Russians.

At present, protest in the ranks and especially in the officer corps in Russian forces in Ukraine is minimal and controllable. But the Kremlin has to be aware that if it does not end the war soon either with a victory or with a withdrawal, it may face a serious challenge to its power and authority at home, just as Nicholas II and then the Provisional Government did in 1917.


Paul Goble

Paul Goble is a longtime specialist on ethnic and religious questions in Eurasia. Most recently, he was director of research and publications at the Azerbaijan Diplomatic Academy. Earlier, he served as vice dean for the social sciences and humanities at Audentes University in Tallinn and a senior research associate at the EuroCollege of the University of Tartu in Estonia. He has served in various capacities in the U.S. State Department, the Central Intelligence Agency and the International Broadcasting Bureau as well as at the Voice of America and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Mr. Goble maintains the Window on Eurasia blog and can be contacted directly at [email protected] .

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