Putin Will Increase Size of Russian Military – Following reports that Russian forces were preparing a series of new military assaults on Ukraine as the country celebrates its 31st anniversary of independence from the Soviet Union, Russian President Vladimir Putin this week announced that he plans to increase the size of his military. The announcement follows six months of brutal losses for the Russian military, which the Pentagon says has lost 80,000 troops to death or injury so far.
The Russian president signed a decreet this week promising to add an additional 137,000 new troops to the Russian military, bringing the total number of soldiers from Russia to 1.15 million and the total military personnel size to 2,039,758.
Putin’s decree is expected to come into effect on January 1, 2023.
Russia’s Military Expansion: Where Will the Troops Come From?
No word was given on where the new troops will come from.
Putin did not promise to draft new conscripts, nor did he state that the military would increase the number of volunteers that it is willing to accept. Both options, however, seem to be realistic avenues for Russia to increase its personnel size.
At present, Russian males aged between 18 and 27 are required to serve at least one year in the military, but many young men can escape that responsibility for health reasons or to pursue an academic career at university. Those rules could realistically be changed to very quickly increase the number of troops available to the military.
Whatever avenue Putin pursues, it will help his military rely less on private military contractors like Wagner, which drew global attention this summer when it was revealed that prisoners were being drafted by the private mercenary network to fight in Ukraine without proper training.
What Does It Mean? Analysis of Putin’s Military Expansion Move
First of all, it could suggest that Russia expects the war to continue well into the new year. Estimations from analysts and world leaders about how long the conflict will last at this stage range from anywhere between another year and a decade. Additional troops will help Russia protect its gains in Luhansk Oblast and other areas of southern and eastern Ukraine and help achieve the goals of controlling Ukraine’s southern coast and expanding Russian occupation westward.
At the same time, though, Russia will need to support those new troops – should they be deployed to Ukraine – with sufficient military equipment and supplies. Russian troops have complained about a short supply of food and other supplies since the early days of the invasion, and unless that can be resolved, morale is likely to remain low as Ukraine continues to push back Russian forces using Western-supplied HIMARS and other advanced weapons.
It could also suggest that Russia is preparing for a post-war era, preventing incursions into Russian territory, including occupied parts of Ukraine that the country where the Russian military hopes to maintain control.
Jack Buckby is a British author, counter-extremism researcher, and journalist based in New York. Reporting on the U.K., Europe, and the U.S., he works to analyze and understand left-wing and right-wing radicalization, and reports on Western governments’ approaches to the pressing issues of today. His books and research papers explore these themes and propose pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.