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Virdea

Vietnam-style Morale Problems Intensity in Russian Army

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With the tightly controlled press in Russia information about the status of the military has always been difficult.  This has traditionally had the effect of making Russian line units vulnerable to brittleness, as was seen in their use in Chechnya.  

 

The new Russian deployments to the Ukraine though has been hard on the units supplying men.  The men transferred are not acknowledged, they leave suddenly, and more often than not, they come home to be buried without acknowledgement of their service to their country.  Some units like the 76th Guards are suffering Vietnam level attrition rates.  And the soldiers who die are often being denied death benefits and, are increasingly being cremated before they are returned.  Severely injured veterans are being sent to the far east where they are not receiving adequate treatment for their wounds.  Parents of soldiers have in recent months been beaten or harassed for asking after their loved ones and in some cases are receiving official letter stating their children have deserted.  

 

Currently the Ukrainian Army is gaining combat capacity.  Last year, Russia staved off total collapse of the rebel groups in the East only by a major ground effort and some of the weaknesses of Russian unit cohesion was seen, including looting and poor target discrimination.  The press likes to paint Russia like an all conquering boogie man beast, but as cases of alcoholism and petty crime grows around bases that host units whose soldiers are fighting in the Ukraine could we be seeing the start of a hollow army for the Russians?  This hollow army coming at a time when NATO is discussing a 25% growth in its force structure and a realignment toward defense to the East, and when some military forces such as Poland and Romania are making massive strides in readiness.  

 

The main reason this makes me nervous is a strong Russian army keeps the oligarchy's fingers away from nuclear options.  Without the checks and balances of western democracy or the rigid control structure of China, Russian deterrent forces are at their lowest lever of readiness in years.  Putin is not a military man or a diplomat, and he has the economic sense of a teenager.  Can he move to repair the slow rips in the Russian military before you have a tragic result (and here, I mean a base rioting in a way it makes western news media).

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What we need are military hardliners

 

Russia failed us in the 90s when they tried to rightfully take power

 

i would count the actions in Ukraine as too big of a discern

 

The Russian army and its donstesk Allies have killed many, many more Ukrainians than vice versa, and i belive the military can only improve

 

its not like after Putin we will see some type of incompetent pacifist yokel like Goberchauv

 

the Russian military can only go forward at this point 

 

Though, i will say things were better in my time in the Мотострелки

 

Despite all of this, the army cannot get worse with experience, and no country would dare invade us without risking the annihilation of all mankind

 

that will be the price to pay for German boots in Moscow 

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The Ukrainian Army is gaining fuck all. They announced their sixth wave of mobilization by this point, even before the (already over time) fifth wave is not over yet. Conscription standards are a thing of the past, they are already grabbing students and cripples off the street. The fancy equipment that is advertised on state-run channels is either obsolete garbage donated by Western countries that can't be bothered to recycle it or one-off improvisations cobbled together at half-abandoned Soviet era factories. The Americans are training a negligible percentage of the military, yes, but the vast majority are unskilled and uninterested in fighting. 

 

The claim that the only reason the separatists are still around is because of Russian regular forces is nonsense. Poroshenko isn't interested in winning. When you're the richest man in the country and you're pulling all the strings, war is insanely profitable.

 

"Corruption is a bigger threat to #Ukraine than #Russian tanks" @GeoffPyatt at #WGF15 @WGForum @AtlanticCouncil #Russia #ACUkraine

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Every day that their aren't T-72s in Keiv or Swastikas flying over Donsetsk is another good day for both Moscow and Washington

 

The biggest concern for the Putin at this point is running out of ammo

 

and the Ukrainians make Russians look like retarded drunks when it comes to corruption 

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My worries are with Russian military prep.  The Ukraine is not being solved, but is draining a lot of Russian manpower.  I am not so sure that the Ukrainians are as bad as everyone says (although they are certainly ill-armed) but the Russian manpower being diverted from C1 units is having an effect that even publicly available intelligence is seeing signs of unit disorganization.  They used to say you could tell the readiness level of a Russian unit by the level of hooliganism in the area of its main basing, and Pskov has seen a rise of hooliganism by soldiers in the last year.  

 

I do not believe for a second Poland or German will ever attack Russia - that is an impossible thought, but they can make Putin nervous and he can do something stupid.   I like a strong Russian conventional force because it makes the oligarchy secure.  I worry when I hear from friends in the Russian army that their units are becoming difficult to govern.

 

And yes, the Ukraine, both sides, are not models of efficiency. 

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treating your soldiers and veterans like scum is a grand way to end up with a lot of very well armed and very pissed off individuals using your politicians and bureaucrats as pinatas and backstops.

 

If you cannot afford to take care of your soldiers, don't send them off to war.

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My worries are with Russian military prep.  The Ukraine is not being solved, but is draining a lot of Russian manpower.  I am not so sure that the Ukrainians are as bad as everyone says (although they are certainly ill-armed) but the Russian manpower being diverted from C1 units is having an effect that even publicly available intelligence is seeing signs of unit disorganization.  They used to say you could tell the readiness level of a Russian unit by the level of hooliganism in the area of its main basing, and Pskov has seen a rise of hooliganism by soldiers in the last year.  

 

I do not believe for a second Poland or German will ever attack Russia - that is an impossible thought, but they can make Putin nervous and he can do something stupid.   I like a strong Russian conventional force because it makes the oligarchy secure.  I worry when I hear from friends in the Russian army that their units are becoming difficult to govern.

 

And yes, the Ukraine, both sides, are not models of efficiency. 

 

Where are you getting this "draining of a lot of Russian manpower"? You're not seriously accepting Ukrainian claims of 50 500,000 Russian regulars in the East, are you? Also the Russian army has been the picture of disorganization for 24 years. Ooooh rise of hooliganism in Pskov, that's a national crisis right there!

 

 

treating your soldiers and veterans like scum is a grand way to end up with a lot of very well armed and very pissed off individuals using your politicians and bureaucrats as pinatas and backstops.

 

If you cannot afford to take care of your soldiers, don't send them off to war.

 

We had a system that took care of its soldiers, veterans, and citizens, look what happened to it.

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We had a system that took care of its soldiers, veterans, and citizens, look what happened to it.

What you're seeing in Russia I suspect is the future for the U.S.. An ever increasing number of bureaucrats sticking far too many fingers into an ever shrinking soupbowl.

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Where are you getting this "draining of a lot of Russian manpower"? You're not seriously accepting Ukrainian claims of 50 500,000 Russian regulars in the East, are you? Also the Russian army has been the picture of disorganization for 24 years. Ooooh rise of hooliganism in Pskov, that's a national crisis right there!

 

 

 

 

Conventional counting is around 36,000 RGF soldiers in the Ukraine.  Reliable sources show these soldiers are being drawn from the 76th, from the Omsk training center, the 19th Brigade, and from the 13th Tank Regiment.    I doubt Russia could deploy 500,000 soldiers for a parade at the Kremlin, so where-ever that number comes from is a myth.  The last NATO release had RGF and VDV at a little under 400,000 soldiers, with only about half of those soldiers C2 or better.

 

36,000 soldiers is not a big number of the Ukrainian conflict, but it is a significant effort on the part of the Federation.  Considering that there is a brigade occupying Chechnya, a brigade occupying Georgian territory, a mixed bag of units nailing down the Crimea, and a growing need for military police in Dagestan with a slow drain of casualties in what is turning into a slow motion war, Russia's near-order commitment is more like 94,000 soldiers and irregulars.  Although Russia has hired two cossack groups and a motor bike gang, nearly 1/3 of Russia's total forces are in harms way.

 

Hooliganism caused by Army soldiers normally assigned to an elite division is a problem because it is a sign of that division being made progressively weaker by its deployment stance.  The US after Vietnam saw that happen with the 173rd - it had to be broken down and absorbed because leadership had failed so badly over the tears.  Sure, it was a troop reduction, but plans prior to its return to the country were to maintain the unit or give it reserve status.

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36 000 soldiers? You understand that number of Ukrainian soldiers at frontline is about 25-28k? This is just crazy and stupid, Russians outnumber Ukrianians and nobody still was capable of showing a photo of Russian unit there.   :lol:

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Yes.  36,000 is precisely it.  Remember, if you want to count Frontline and compare with all in then you are making an apples and oranges comparison.  36,000 soldiers put 4-6 thousand infantry in the front.  Plus, the rebels are shaky.  Support for separatism is low to very low.  Loyalty to the leadership in these regions is limited.  To keep this thing running takes a considerable effort on the part of Russia.

 

As for no one having photographs of Russian units, this is 100% right.  This was true of Crimea also.  There just happened to be thousand upon thousands of young, military age men, whose photographs matched those serving in the Russian military, who happened to get great deals on new, off the shelf Russian equipment and vehicles with Russian tags on them, who all decided to vacation at the same time in military order.  

 

Look at the evidence.

 

Dozens of Facebook boss of photographs with GPS markings clearly showing soldiers standing on heavy equipment who were inside of the Ukraine.

Multiple news photographs of Russian tagged vehicles moving through clearly Ukrainian territory.

Breedlove, in his own bombastic way, leaking NATO documents on Russian deployments.

Thousands of photographs of young professional soldiers, many matched forensically to soldiers in Russian service.

Grad-K batteries in unit formation identified at Donetsk both by Rebel photography and NATO surveillance.

SA22 batteries moving into battery formation geolocated to the Ukraine

Russian radio chatter quoted by NATO and Swiss sources.

Russian engineers building a bridge near Luhansk who forgot to sterilize their uniforms.

Russian soldiers identified by name at checkpoints.  Several admitted their nationality and were new to the area.

A surge of burials of soldiers "killed" or "killed while deserting" and the establishment of a cremation facility for Russian soldiers accidentally killed "near the Ukraine".

 

I understand someone in Russia can't run around yelling at the tree-tops anything but the party line - a close friend of mine from my earlier life recently left Russia for Sweden and even there is won't to post on social media, and I do not blame growling at me or ill temper over this post, but my concerns are for the health of the Russian military, which I see as essential for maintaining peace.  I am not calling Russia names for what it is doing in the Ukraine - I literally do not understand why once they took the Crimea they need that slice of land, but I am worried that the Russian Army is being asked to do more than it can do in the region.

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Do you understand that you are talking to someone who know separatist fighters personally? Do you understand that many of those young mans don't have connection with army for many years? In my case it was father's old friend, who is from Azerbaijan and served in army like 10-12 years ago. I know about Russian forces in Eastern Ukraine, and i can say that "36k Russian soldiers in Ukraine" is just madness. Even some NATO generals (i forgot who it was) talked about 9k at most.

 

If you count Russian soldiers In Russian regions near Ukraine-Russia border, than yes, it is likely true.  

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Good post, Vir, but remember the forum's motto: Link, or die.

 

Please excuse me for not linking to the for-pay sites, but there is enough in popular media.

 

http://www.military.com/daily-news/2015/05/01/breedlove-russian-buildup-ukraine-could-signal-rebel-offensive.html - Breedlove testimony before congress.  Breedlove, in a setting where he could be jailed (for contempt of congress) clearly stated Russian Forces are fighting in Ukraine.  This guy is dramatic, but he is not spouting lies to his own bosses.  Anyone who knows how congressional relations with the military work know that getting McCain ticked at you if death to your career and your desires.

 

http://www.dw.de/disowned-and-forgotten-russian-soldiers-in-ukraine/a-17888902  Discussion of what will happen to captured Russian soldiers in Ukraine and interviews with Pskov area politicians.  Pskov is where the 76th is based.

 

Originally a less reliable source, they have recently gotten very good at showing their evidence.  http://conflictreport.info/2015/01/23/hard-evidence-the-regular-russian-army-invades-ukraine/

 

Foreign Policy, hardly a Rebel Rag, confirms 76th : http://foreignpolicy.com/2014/09/01/is-vladimir-putin-covering-up-the-deaths-of-russian-soldiers-in-ukraine/

 

Reuters - a very strong source.  If Russian soldiers are not present, why would they quit because of being present?  http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/05/10/us-ukraine-crisis-soldiers-specialreport-idUSKBN0NV06Q20150510

 

Take the political invective out of this and read it as a research paper.  

http://www.putin-itogi.ru/putin-voina/

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To summarize: there is nothing in Virdea's links that corroborates Vietnam style morale drain or 36,000 soldiers. 

 

The photos of the Grad I obviously cannot confirm at from the Ukraine, but those do appear to be Grads.

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To summarize: there is nothing in Virdea's links that corroborates Vietnam style morale drain or 36,000 soldiers. 

 

Please provide refutation with citation.  

 

6-12,000 trigger pullers do not, even in the Russian army, scavenge from the land.  3-4 to 1 support troops is normal, unless support organizations spring from nothing in the Ukraine.  Air defense and Grad batteries along operated by Russian forces would require a deep effort to move supplies into the region.  

 

Desertion seems the start of Vietnam style morale loss for Russian units.  Russian parents of soldiers, politicians, prisoners of war, all point to a refutation of this.  Alcoholism and hooliganism by soldiers in Pskov.  Russian is not a comic opera military filled with drunken keystone cops and thieves, it is a professional military.  A single desertion a year is big news in NATO during the WOT.  200 bodies is a lot to secretly stick into the ground even for a force of 36.000.  

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The number 36,000 doesn't appear anywhere in those links. You took the largest estimate and multiplied it by three for a reason that is unknown to me. 

 

Also alcoholism and hooliganism have always been a problem in the Russian army. It's not, in fact, a professional military, it is a conscript military. There are professionals, but there are also a ton of people that don't want to be there and whose goal is to slack off for 1-3 years of their conscription term and then get back to their meaningful lives. Pointing out the Pskov VDV division (which by the way got its Order of Suvorov for actions in Crimea, which your article conveniently ignores) has discipline problems doesn't mean anything, especially when some of your links claim that all sorts of other units from Europe to Siberia are in the Ukraine too. How come no one brought their discipline problems to light?

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I need to provide a citation for the number "36,000" not appearing in the links you provided? Did you just take the only estimate I saw and multiply by 3? That doesn't match up with "3-4:1 support troops", then you'd need to multiply by four or five.

 

Also alcoholism and hooliganism has always been a problem in the Russian army. It's not, in fact, a professional military, it is a conscript military. There are professionals, but there are also a ton of people that don't want to be there and whose goal is to slack off for 1-3 years of their conscription term and then get back to their meaningful lives. Pointing out the Pskov VDV division (which by the way got its Order of Suvorov for actions in Crimea, which your article conveniently ignores) has discipline problems doesn't mean anything, especially when some of your links claim that all sorts of other units from Europe to Siberia are in the Ukraine too. How come no one brought their discipline problems to light?

 

Refutation of your statement.  My own sources show 36,000 soldiers in support of operations (pulling triggers or handing the trigger pullers ammo).  Sources for the conflict say there are between 6,000 and 12,000 trigger pullers.  3 to 1 is 12,000x3.  4 to 1 is 9,000x4.  There is a lot of heavy equipment in the field with Russian crews - we know all about the missile batteries, but the Grad batteries are also widely known.  if 12,000 trigger pullers - not a outrageous number considering the number are coming back dead, then 3-1 is actually a small tail.  So my math is accurate.

 

My own take based on other intel is about 6000 soldiers who have suffered some pretty hefty casualties, plus another 6-8000 manning check points and keeping the population in line, plus a pretty large mixed bag of artillery which does move across the border and back depending on how the fighting goes, and obviously can shoot on Ukrainian positions from either side of the border. Obviously the truck lift needed to keep all this going is running constantly - gone are the days when 400 trucks delivered "humanitarian aide" and dropped off war supplies to beleaguered garrisons.

 

Pskov is not the only problem area where soldiers are getting out of hand, just the easiest to document quickly for you and since it is a C1 unit it should be at the top of readiness.  Discipline problems are happening in many units and being documented.  Some of these problems are in known hotspots other than the Ukraine - Dagestan and Chechnya for example, but some are not.  And I am ignoring the Ukrainian claims of Siberian troops because there is no second and third source for that plus all the other documents I have do not say anything about the Far East, except one reference to that being the destination for the casualties.

 

But your biggest problem here is existential.  Putin claims zero troops.  12,000 troops is not zero even if I am wrong and those trigger pullers are being supported by motor bike gangs (not even a joke, the Russian army contracted with motor bike gangs to terrorize civilians in Crimea during that invasion - they are essentially auxiliary troops).  200 dead tallied by name in two months is not an insignificant sum.  The second existential problem you have is that asserting that the Russian Army was crap and cannot get worse by comparison ignores the fact it might.  Soldiers rioting and refusing orders in unit sized groups, taking bases and shooting their officers, is not an impossible situation.  

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The photos of the Grad I obviously cannot confirm at from the Ukraine, but those do appear to be Grads.

 

AND - usually when photos appear of dubious value they can be tracked down.  No one refutes the media watching sites that present these pictures.  They just claim they are inaccurate.  

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They don't say there are 6-12 thousand trigger pullers they say there are 6-12 thousand soldiers. Yes, there is lots of equipment. Rebels aren't stupid, they can operate equipment too. The great thing about the Ukrainian army inheriting from the Soviet army is that every conscript is still familiar with the gear. 

 

Keeping the population in line? Man, you're not giving the local militias any credit. What are they good for if they can't even patrol the roads? What are they good for if they can't drive trucks? Are you just assuming that literally every person fighting for the rebels is a Russian regular?

 

If it's not, then give me sources for others. Your claim is "Ukrainian invasion->poor morale", and giving just one example as proof is pretty terrible. As for Siberian troops, the last (Russian) document you linked claims this. Are you dismissing your own sources now?

 

My point is, assuming that your sources (very questionable sources at that) are correct, the jump to 36,000 men and Vietnam style morale issues is not supported by the evidence you presented. 

 

PS: that list of dead men? Some of them aren't as dead as you think.

 

 

AND - usually when photos appear of dubious value they can be tracked down.  No one refutes the media watching sites that present these pictures.  They just claim they are inaccurate.  

 

 

This is a blurry photo of something that's very likely a Grad, but the article insists that it's a very specific kind of Grad, which there is no way to establish from just looking at such a low quality image. 

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Regarding the central point - it sort of sounds like you're both saying the same thing. Basically, Virdea's saying the Russian Army is suffering from a Vietnam-style morale problem, and Ensign is saying "yes, duh, it's a conscription army".

I think both sides of that seem valid, and the merit of each is perspective-dependent.

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