By Paul Goble
Not only has Putin’s mobilization campaign failed to restore let alone increase the size of the Russian army, Pavel Luzin says, but it has failed to provide those taken in with the skills they need to be effective as soldiers and further degraded the quality of the Russian army’s command and control.
Nonetheless and despite Moscow’s claim that the current mobilization campaign has been successfully completed, the independent military analyst continues, it is nearly certain that if the war in Ukraine continues, there will be more mobilizations especially given that “no one has cancelled” Putin’s original decree (ridl.io/ru/besslavnaya-mobilizatsiya/).
Consequently, after the fall draft which this year will take place in November and is not expected to go smoothly, the Russian government will repeat the current mobilization effort with the result being that the Russian army will be increasingly filled by men who don’t know how to fight and officers who don’t know how to maintain discipline effectively.
Such a continuing “dispatch of poorly trained, poorly supplied and poorly motivated mobilized citizens to the front” while “partially solving the problem of ‘plugging holes,’ is a bleak prospect,” Luzin says, one that recalls the ineffective approach of Chiang Kai-Shek during World War II.
Despite the ultimate failure of the Chinese project, “Russia seems to be implementing something similar in its war against Ukraine,” the analyst argues, but “of course, the consequences of such an approach for the mobilized themselves and for the morale and psychological state of Russian society will probably be fatal.”
Given existing shortages of weapons and the lack of a professional army, Luzin suggests, “the mobilized are likely to become a bargaining chip. With their help, the Kremlin can attempt an offensive from the territory of Belarus in late autumn or winter with the sol purpose of forcing Kyiv into negotiations to get a respite from the war.”
And if that fails as it is likely to, Luzin says, “the Russian army runs the risk of becoming an irregular force that will exist from one mobilization wave to the next and which, on the battlefield, will not differ much from mercenaries, Russian Guard troops, Chechen detachments” or other such formations.”
“If the war does not end in the coming months or if its intensity does not decrease significantly, then more waves of mobilization are inevitable – but each new on will be worse and smaller than the one before” and thus have a more negative impact unless or until the entire Russian military system is changed.