Russia has long lost the war politically, and is now lost on the battlefield. This awareness reached Putin and his entourage, says the Russian military analyst Paweł Łuzin. He compares mobilization to a razor grasped by a sinking Kremlin. In his opinion, it is carried out in its present form “does not make military sense” and will not change the situation on the front.
– The Kremlin is in a situation of a lost war. He had lost it politically a long time ago, and now he has lost it militarily. They lost their army, and this awareness reached Putin and his entourage. Mobilization is an attempt to react to this situation, but it will not bring the desired results – says Paweł Łuzin, a Russian military analyst, researcher at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy of the Tufts University in Massachusetts in an interview with PAP.
– However, just as a drowning man grasps a razor, the Kremlin is now seizing mobilization, hoping that it will be possible to replace the seriously depleted forces at the front with the newly mobilized forces – adds the analyst.
“Mass” escape from Russia
According to the sources of “Nowa Gazeta. Jewropa” in the Federal Security Service, within the first five days of the announcement in Russia over 260,000 men left the country, which is almost as many as the Kremlin – at least officially – intends to mobilize for the war against Ukraine.
“Russia is probably the first and only country whose citizens are fleeing not because someone attacked their country, but because their country attacked another country” – wrote on Twitter, the former oligarch and opponent residing in forced exile Vladimir Putin Mikhail Khodorkovsky.
– It can be said that the phenomenon of fleeing mobilization is of a mass nature. It seems that there are not many people willing to go to war voluntarily. There are those who may not want to fight, but try to convince themselves that “the state is calling, we must go”. They don’t want to fight, but they don’t want to protest either, and they have to somehow settle their cognitive dissonance. At the same time, they reach for the Kremlin mythology that “it is not a fight with Ukraine, but a fight against FOR THIS and so on – evaluates the analyst.
“Just because someone has a rifle doesn’t mean they can fight.”
The main “victims” of mobilization are, according to her estimates, the “weakest groups”, i.e. those who come from poor regions, factory workers who receive summons at the workplace and do not have enough knowledge and knowledge of their rights to argue with the state, people who have loans and other types of burdens.
He reminds that “the Kremlin has already tried various ways to regenerate its military forces” – the Russian authorities have been recruiting the so-called volunteers and this plan was not implemented. The planned conscription campaign failed. Instead of more than 134,000, 89 was successfully appointed. The mobilization of prisoners from prisons was also an expression of desperation. All this, according to the expert, proves that “neither those who verbally supported the war, nor those who pretended not to see it and tried to live as before”, are eager to pick up a gun.
– This weapon is enough rifles for everyone. But just because someone has a rifle or even knows how to fire it doesn’t mean they can fight and are a soldier. The army is not only about rifles, but also armored equipment, artillery, aviation, communications, logistics, and most of all – the ability to work together in a unit. Who is to train the mobilized, if the officers are at the front, have already died there or are wounded? – Luzin wonders.
The first information has already appeared in social networks and in the media that some mobilized are being sent to the front without training. – Honestly, it does not surprise me at all. I would be surprised if this was an organized process and the enlisted men were sent to training grounds for proper training. Therefore, this recruitment will not significantly change the situation on the front, but will only increase the chaos – assesses Łuzin.
– Imagine a motorized rifle brigade that lost half of its composition, that is, for example, two thousand people. After all, they were not only soldiers, but also officers. Two thousand mobilized from the round-up arrive. Who will command them, what will they fight, and who will teach them how? On paper, the condition will be correct, but this brigade will not be completed and renewed. Added to this is the moral factor – those people who left the battlefield will tell the “new” what awaits them there – he adds.
“An attempt to control chaos”
– Chaos is a word for what is happening now. Some numbers and orders come in advance, and the supplementation commands are supposed to carry them out. But the commanders do not know where these people are, so they catch everyone fast. They don’t work in an organized way: we need so many people with this experience, this category, this specialty. They are supposed to fulfill the task and deliver a specific number. A Russian official usually assumes that he will not be punished for being over-zealous. It is worse if he thinks too much and therefore does not fulfill the plan – says Łuzin.
Creating lists prohibiting departure from individual airports, introducing a requirement to have the consent of supplementary commands to leave the place of residence – this, in his opinion, is “an attempt to read management’s expectations and understand how to act”. The analyst does not rule out that the authorities may ban men of recruiting age from leaving the country.
– What we see so far is an attempt to control the chaos. This also applies to the decision that in North Ossetia on the border with Georgia create a mobilization point. There is no systemic action in it – he argues.
According to Luzin, “the mobilization plan will not be implemented as the Kremlin would like”, and carried out in its present form “has no military sense” and will not significantly change the situation on the front. – If Russia has lost an army that has been prepared for a long time, how can this human mass, untrained and ill-armed, significantly change the situation? – Luzin wonders. – Not only that, mobilization will destabilize the internal and economic situation – he estimates.
The protests in Russia are so far assessed by the expert as “moderate” and it is difficult to say whether they will escalate. – However, it may be that this mobilization and everything related to it will transform, as Lenin said, from an imperialist war into a civil war – concludes the analyst.
Main photo source: PAP / EPA / YURI KOCHETKOV