The mobilization ordered by Russia’s President Vladimir Putin will not affect the course of the war in Ukraine this year and will not drastically increase Russia’s ability to sustain the invasion next year, says the US Institute for War Studies (ISW).
In a special edition of the report, devoted to mobilization in Russia, the think tank expresses the view that Putin is unlikely to overcome the fundamental structural problems related to the generation of military power. Ordered September 21 “partial mobilization “will create an additional army, but in an ineffective way and will be burdened with high social and political costs.
“Russia will mobilize the reservists for this conflict. The process will be ugly, the quality of the reservists low, and their motivation to fight even worse. But the systems exist enough to allow military commissioners and other Russian officials to find people and send them to training units.” and then to war “- assesses the Institute of Internal Affairs.
According to experts, the low quality of units created so far from the “volunteer” conscription and “volunteer battalions” makes it possible to assess what increase in the combat strength Russia can expect from forced mobilization. “Mobilization will not affect the course of the conflict in 2022 and may not have too dramatic effect on Russia’s ability to sustain the effort at its current level in 2023, the report said.
“The problems undermining Putin’s effort to mobilize society are finally so deep and fundamental that he cannot fix them in the coming months, and perhaps for years. Putin is likely facing severe restrictions on Russia’s ability to wage a large-scale war“- evaluates the Institute of Contemporary Art.
Analysts point out that the Russian armed forces have not created the conditions for effective large-scale mobilization since at least 2008, and have not built a reserve force needed for sudden recruitment and immediate effect on the battlefield. “There are no quick solutions to these problems” – underlined.
In recent decades, Russia has shifted from the conscript-based model to a mixed model of conscripted and contracted soldiers. This was accompanied by a reduction in the period of compulsory basic service from two years to one year in 2007-2008, which means that the current reservists under the age of 30 have much less training behind them.
Over the past year, Putin has, meanwhile, made at least four mobilization attempts that exhausted the pool of available, capable and ready-to-fight reservists. The latest “partial mobilization” will therefore concern Russians who did not want to fight and have not volunteered to join the army, nor have they been forced to do so yet.
On the other hand, the protests and resistance to mobilization reflect Putin’s failure to prepare Russian society for a major war. Kremlin officials and propagandists ridiculed the possibility of the attack until the very end before the invasion, and even some Russian soldiers seemed surprised when they were sent into battle because they thought they were participating in an exercise. Authorities continued to refer to the war as a “special military operation.”
“Putin’s informational failures in this matter are particularly important, as there are no Ukrainian or NATO soldiers on Russian soil, nor any threat to the center of Russia. This is not 1812, 1914 or 1941. The factors that drove widespread mobilization in Russia’s previous wars are simply absent from this aggressive war by choice, however Putin presents it to the public, “emphasizes the ISW.